Gun Control in the United States
GunControl in the United States
Issuespertaining to the ownership of guns in the United States have alwaysbeen controversial. Indeed, it has been well acknowledged that thereare few issues that are as polarizing as the gun control in theAmerican culture. Numerous people have different ideas pertaining tothe efficacy of controlling the possession of guns. The maincontention would have to emanate from the fact that it seems to be aninfringement on the rights of the Americans, particularly consideringthat the right to possess arms is entrenched in the constitution.Scholars acknowledge that the Founding fathers viewed the personalownership of a gun as a way of protecting oneself against tyrannicalrule. Of course, the constitution has, since its creation andthroughout the numerous modifications across generations,demonstrated over and over again the forethought and wisdom of itsmakers, in which case it is deemed only natural for individuals tocontinue depending on it for authority and guidance. It goes withoutsaying, however, that there have been numerous changes in social andcultural norms, which necessitate that some modifications be made.This is the case with gun control. As much as there may be differingopinions, it is imperative that the United States government controlsthe availability and possession of the guns.
First,controlling gun possession would be likely to result in a reductionof the rates of crime. Statistics show that the United States hasbeen experiencing an increase in the number of crimes carried outusing guns. Indeed, states that are yet to allow for control in thepossession of guns experienced a 2% increase in the rates of murder,as well as a minimum of 9% increase in the prevalence of other crimessuch as rape, robbery, aggravated assault, larceny, burglary andauto-theft between 1977 and 2010 (Otfinoski36). On the same note, other studies demonstrated that the rates ofgun homicides increased by an average of 4.5 for every 100,000 peopleafter the enactment of the laws, with the increase in aggravatedassault rates being attributed directly to the prevalence of guns.Scholars have stated that guns are more likely to be used againstindividual than having the individuals use them in self defense. Thisunderlines the importance of controlling the possession of guns(Otfinoski43).
Inaddition, the presence or possession of guns increases the chancesthat a confrontation would escalate and turn lethal. A 2009 study inthe American Journal of Public Health determined that individualspossessing guns even for self defense stood 4.5 times higher chancesof being shot in the course of an assault compared to theircounterparts who do not have any. Indeed, scholars have acknowledgedthat members of the public who possess and carry guns stand a highrisk of escalating simple agreements into public shootoutsparticularly in areas where disagreements occur on a regular basissuch as in traffic, bars or even sporting events. A case in pointwould the 2014 incident where an individual who legally owned afirearm fatally shot another man in the course of an argumentregarding text messaging in a certain movie theater (Spitzer32). Such incidences would be eliminated or at least reduced ininstances where the possession and access of firearms is controlledby the government. Research has also shown that criminals have ahigher likelihood of carrying guns in instances where they suspectthat the victims are likely to be armed (Kopel et al 56). A studythat involved felons reported that carry firearms so as to deter thepotential victims from resisting, with 75% stating that they carriedfirearms in instances where there were chances that the potentialvictim would be carrying one as well (Spitzer33). This, undoubtedly, increases the levels of crime and violence ina particular area.
Inaddition, controlling the access of firearms would ensure thatindividuals of questionable character do not gain possession of suchweapons. It is perfectly acknowledged that for a large number ofstates, a background check is not carried out on individuals whenthey go buying weapons (ValdezandJohn53). Indeed, an individual simply has to go to a gun shop with theright amount of money, select from a wide array of guns, pay andleave with a weapon of choice after filling out some nondescriptdocuments with some personal information. Of course, this means thatindividuals that are privy to psychotic eruptions and even otherswith a criminal history would easily obtain weapons of choice.Needless to say, this would result in escalation of crime in thesociety (Swanson 39). Such cases have been seen in the case of gunattacks in schools, where individuals who had some mental problemsstormed schools and killed teachers and students. Similarly, therehave been cases where children take weapons that their parents havein store thereby ending up injuring themselves or even killing otherfamily members either accidentally or on purpose (Kopel et al 69).Such cases have, in fact, become quite prevalent in the contemporarysociety, which necessitates that some control be imposed so as toavert the possibility of their occurrence in the future. It goeswithout saying that such chaos or unfortunate incidents would havebeen prevented if only there was some element of control regardingthe individuals who can or cannot possess weapons in the UnitedStates (ValdezandJohn67).
Moreover,controlling the access and possession of guns would allow forenhanced solving of crimes where such weapons have been used. This isbecause the government would not only be entitled to determine theappropriateness of giving a gun to a particular individual but alsomonitor his or her actions and the manner in which the weapon is used(Swanson 39). In addition, such control would allow law enforcementagencies to pop in or ask the individuals who own the guns to takethem for examination so that they can account for any usage of thesame. Indeed, the records would show who possesses which kinds ofweapons, in which case the law enforcement agencies could solvecrimes quickly (ValdezandJohn67). This has the effect of eliminating or reducing crimes in thelong-term and the short-term.
Lastly,control of guns would ensure that there is an element of uniformityregarding the types of guns that individuals possess. Indeed, therehave been instances where criminals have more powerful weapons thanthe law enforcement agencies. This was the case for Los Angeles wheresome two criminals had weapons that were more powerful than thosethat the officers were allowed to carry (Doeden53). Their AK47 guns had the capacity to penetrate basic bullet proofvests, yet the police had some simple pistols and were not allowed tocarry big guns. It is not surprising that the criminals had got awaywith several robberies and murders as few police officers would havebeen willing to confront them ((Doeden56). Implementing controls in ownership of guns ensures that thepolice, who are trained on possession and handling of guns, haveheavier weapons than the public, in which case they can manage anycrisis involving the same.
However,there are those who feel that it is wrong for the possession of gunsto be controlled by the government. In fact, some opponents of guncontrol feel that being capable of possessing guns would be thesurest way of deterring criminals. They base this argument on thebelief that few criminals would be willing to risk their livesconfronting or attacking homes or premises where they know theresidents have weapons that could be heavier than what they have. Inaddition, they feel that a large number of adults who possess weaponsare law abiding and rarely misuse their firearms. While this may betrue, the proponents fail to recognize the fact that the need toavert violent attacks involving weapons was created by possession ofguns in the first place (Spitzer49). Indeed, it is highly likely that far much fewer people would bepossessing firearms including criminals if only it was not so easy tobuy them particularly when one has psychotic tendencies or a historyof crime. Indeed, such control would ensure that the manner in whichfirearms are used is controlled, which could prevent the use of thesame for settling simple arguments. In addition, such control wouldensure that individuals who pass the test undergo some form oftraining so as to avert the possibility of what are deemed to beaccidents, as was the case where a licensed gun holder shot andinjured a civilian while chasing a robber (Otfinoski52).
Inconclusion, gun control triggers intense controversy with differentparties holding varying ideas pertaining to the subject. More oftenthan not, gun control is seen as an affront on the freedoms andrights of citizens. Indeed, there are instances where opponents ofgun control ask why law abiding citizens should be punished simplybecause some errant individuals have used their weaponsinappropriately. In addition, there is the common feeling thatenacting gun control would be an admission by the government that ithas failed and is unable to provide security for the citizens, inwhich case it is only fair that they provide citizens with the meansto protect themselves. While there may be differing opinions, thegun control measures should be enacted in the country more vividlythan it is currently. It should encompass not only the licensing, butalso measures such as screening people who qualify to be licensed forhistory of drug abuse, mental and emotional instability and angermanagement issues. They should also insist on proper storage of thefirearms by installing personalized locks or codes to curbunauthorized use of the guns especially in the circumstances wherethey are stolen or land in the hands of unintended or innocentpersons. In this manner, the government will be able to assure itscitizens on matters security. Efforts to standardize the use of gunswill improve security by reducing opportunistic crimes, thusfacilitating political and economic stability since the availableresources will be channeled to developmental issues rather than onsecurity problems.
Doeden,Matt. GunControl: Preventing Violence or Crushing Constitutional Rights?Minneapolis:Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.
Kopel,David B., Paul Gallant, and Joanne D. Eisen, “Human Rights and GunConfiscation.” LawJournal (2008):385-438. 360
Otfinoski,Steven. GunControl., 2014. Print.
Spitzer,Robert J. ThePolitics of Gun Control., 2015. Print.
Swanson,Jeffery. “Mental Illness and New Gun Law Reforms: The Promise andPeril of Crisis-Driven Policy.” Journalof the American Medical Association 309.12(2013): 1233-34. Print
Valdez,Angela, and John E. Ferguson. GunControl.New York: Chelsea House, 2012. Print.