The prevalence of gun-related criminal activities in the United States of America is inevitably subject to scrutiny in regard to the relationship with legal gun ownership as provided in the Second Amendment of the United States of America constitution. The main aim of legal gun ownership by the American people is to enhance public safety by giving citizens an avenue to defend themselves against criminal advances. Also, legal gun ownership by American citizens is a deterrence move against criminals. Illegal gun ownership is attributed to the theft of guns, secondary market, and straw purchase sale of guns in the United States of America. The legal gun ownership by American citizens is seen as unrelated to criminal activities while, on the contrary, it is a move to protect innocent citizens from crime. However, suicide cases from the use of legally owned guns are an issue of concern. Also, issues related to identity that has created a loophole for illegal gun ownership and the secondary market seems to taint the greater good that should result from legal gun ownership.
The Correlation between Gun Crimes and Gun Control
Crime is an inevitable element in any functional society. However, the prevalence of crime coupled with the operational characteristics of the criminal justice system of the given society affects the detection and apprehension of crime, administration of justice, and the reduction of crime. The criminal justice system is a model controlled largely by the police, the judiciary, and the correctional department. A great challenge is being faced by the criminal justice system of any democracy in meeting its given mandate. The mandates of the criminal justice system are to ensure public safety by apprehending criminals and reducing crime and ensuring that the apprehension of criminals and reduction of crime is done in a manner that enhances protection of personal freedom from breach by the public, government agents, or the law enforcement officers. The United States of America constitution has put in place measures to ensure public safety. As part of ensuring public safety, the second amendment in the United States of America constitution allows American citizens to own guns for personal security. Gun control is a controversial issue in the justice system, as well as the politics of America. While some arguments point to the high prevalence of crime involving the use of firearms to the provisions of the Second Amendment of the constitution, most criminals do not obtain firearms in a legal fashion, and criminals are more likely deterred from committing a crime against a citizen who is armed.
Criminals do not obtain the guns they use for their criminal endeavors in a legal fashion. In a case law of Haynes Versus the United States of America, the court upheld that do not need to register or acquire a license for their weapons as this would amount to self-incrimination in the face of the law upon the committal of crime. Statistics indicate that five cases out of six cases of felonies involving gun possession by the felons did not acquire the guns legally. The statistics show that five out of six cases of gun possession having been acquired through theft or purchased the gun in a secondary market. The acquisition of guns through the black market or theft by criminals allows criminals to commit a crime without being detected or without self-incriminating themselves. Gun retail stores across the United States of America allow criminals to conveniently acquire guns without undergoing the necessary licensing process as enshrined in the Second Amendment of the United States of America Constitution (Kleck, 2017). Guns acquired illegally do not contain a registration number of the current owner or the details of the wielder of the gun. Unlike in the case of legal gun ownership where the owner’s registration number is available and the registration of the wielder, illegal guns allow people to commit a crime without the fear of being tracked by the law enforcers in the criminal justice system leading to the high prevalence of gun-related crimes (DeBrabander, 2015).
Straw purchase of guns in the United States of America disconnects the legal firearm possession from the high gun-related crimes. Straw purchase refers to the situation where a person who is not legally eligible to possess a gun uses another person’s credentials to acquire a gun. Statistics indicate straw purchase sales of guns as the largest contributor to illegal guns in the united states of American society. People with criminal records, illegal immigrants, the mentally challenged, and minors acquire guns through straw purchase sales. Straw purchasing is a criminal activity as the law restricts the use of a licensed gun to the person registered for the given gun (Haag, 2016). The straw purchase reiterates the argument on the fact that criminals do not obtain their firearms in a legal fashion. Research on gun-related criminal convicts indicates that the gun used by the inmates was procured through a friend or a family member. In the event of a crime, the disjunction between the details of the registered owner of the crime and the criminal suspect curtails the administration of justice.
The main tenet informing the provisions of the Second Amendment in the United States of America constitution is the argument on the need for the American citizen to protect themselves as they embark on their daily endeavors (Wright et al., 2006). Criminals are deterred from committing crimes against an armed citizen. Armed citizens can easily defend themselves against criminals. Unarmed citizen is more susceptible and more vulnerable to criminal aggression. Arming citizens allows the citizens to stand for themselves in the event that law enforcers are not available to protect them. The law on possession of guns requires citizens to undertake gun use and safety classes before being issued with a gun purchase permit. Professional gun use by legal gun owners prevents misuse of firearms while upholding the safety of the gun owner. The face of an armed target by a criminal presents a level of risk to the criminal. Criminals target people whom they will encounter little resistance. An armed citizen is likely to present great resistance to criminal aggression, thus deterring criminals from approaching armed citizens. The law allows the citizens to protect themselves from criminal advances with their legally possessed guns, thus preventing and deterring criminal advances from gun-possessing criminals who are aware of the imminent level of counter-force for their criminal attempts (Lott, 2010).
The average of 88 guns for every 100 people in the United States of America is in the spotlight in regard to the high level of gun-related crimes and the gun control policy. The Second Amendment that provides for the ownership of guns by individuals aims at enhancing public safety. Illegal acquisition of guns through theft, secondary market, and straw purchase are the key contributors to gun-related crimes in the United States of America. The legal possession of guns is exempted from connection with criminal activities. However, legal ownership can be linked with suicides and suicide attempts in the United States of America. Gun control should aim at taming the secondary gun market to curb crime from illegal firearm possession. Legal gun possession is a great step toward ensuring public safety by allowing citizens to defend themselves in the face of criminal aggression. Screening and the determination of eligible prospected gun owners is a tenet in the American laws that need a further address to ensure that straw purchase and suicide is prevented.
DeBrabander, F. (2015). Do guns make us free? Democracy and the armed society. New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, 2015
Haag, P. (2016). The gunning of America: Business and the making of American gun culture. New York: Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Kleck, G. (2017). Targeting guns: Firearms and their control. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge, 2017
Lott, J. R. (2010). More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun-control laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wright, J. D., Rossi, P. H., Daly, K., & Weber, E. (2006). Under the gun: Weapons, crime, and violence in America. New Brunswick, N.J. U.S.A.: Aldine Transaction