The Case against Gun Control
Gun control is generally referred to as an endeavor to check or limit the manufacture, consignment and possession of particular guns. Over the past couple of years, the issue of gun ownership has turned out a staple of controversy in the United States, being one of the most challenging social issues facing the American society today. Over and above, one’s opinion over the issue of gun control largely depends on his/her political affiliation, ethical principles, as well as his or her previous experiences with firearms.
It is estimated that approximately 80 million homes in the United States are in possession of well over 200 million guns. Just like it is with any social issue, the issue of gun control comes with a number of advantages as well as disadvantages. In this regard, there are individuals who believe that gun control will go a long way in protecting the society as well as saving lives. On the other hand, there are people strongly opposed to enforcement of gun control.
Gun Control Potential for More Crime
One of the main reasons why the government should not enforce gun control is because it is a real potential for crime. For quite some time now, it has been suggested that being in possession of a gun allows would-be victims to defend themselves against crime. Inasmuch as those in support of gun control point to crime statistics as an indication that gun control will be beneficial to the society, the truth is that by having a gun, an individual is in a position of preventing many of these crimes.
The Second Amendment Right to Possess Guns
According to the second amendment from the Bill of Rights, private citizens have the right to be in possession of guns. In this regard, there ought to be no legislation that takes away citizen’s rights to have guns, without repealing the amendment in question in the first place (Kleck 3-4).
History against Gun Control
Historically, a number of political administrations have been keen on disarming American citizens. However, according to Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s celebrated presidents, not one individual ought to be restricted from being in possession of a gun. This is mainly because the strongest reason for people to keep guns is to protect themselves against despotism in government. In line with Jefferson’s view, guns are a protection against political tyranny. For instance, private ownership of guns was widespread in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s regime. As a result, people in Iraq enjoy much freedom than the citizens of other countries where gun possession is not allowed. This means that by having guns, citizens in a country are protected against the tyranny of the government. By banning guns, the government is in effect taking away a piece of citizens’ liberty. As a matter of fact, this is just another step forward towards despotism and socialism.
Gun as Tool of Deviant Behavior
The issue of crime is mainly discussed in terms of abnormal or deviant behavior. The opponents to gun control enforcement suggest that a gun should be seen as a non-living tool that is not responsible for deviant behavior, while crime, which is an act of deviant conduct, is rooted in people’s deviations not tools. By and large, it is not possible to avert deviant behavior by controlling tools. This is basically due to the fact that tools are not capable of engaging anyone in particular behaviors, with the number of tools available for the world’s deviants being infinite (LaRosa).
Common sense dictates that an inanimate object such as a gun cannot in any way control a human being. A matchstick has never been held responsible for arson, nor a camera for pornography (LaRosa). Instead, it is the people who use these things that ought to be held responsible. Consequently, spineless and ignominious men who take part in shooting unarmed innocent people must be charged and taken to the gallows, preventing general withdrawal of a legitimate freedom.
Eventually, even with the legislation of guns out of existence, those who are deviant in the society will still go ahead and use other tools, which apparently gives them power over their innocent victims. Some of these tools, such as knives, clubs, rocks, and swords are apparently legal and easily accessible. As a matter of fact, with or without legislation for gun control, criminals will always find ways of obtaining guns (Carter 345-347).
Self Defense and Gun Control
Gun control eventually leaves a law-abiding citizen without any weapons that he or she can use in defense. It is also worth noting that a deterrent effect has the potential of preventing the occurrence of crime. This is only possible if would-be victims are in possession of guns. In most cases, physically weak individuals, for example, women, have no means of defending themselves from criminal acts like rape.
Rape is very common in inner cities, and the only defense that a woman can have against a rapist is a loaded gun. By being in possession of a gun, a woman is able to ward off a suspicious person in case she is under threat. Such a woman can also injure and disable a rapist. In any case, with a gun, an individual is able to protect others from harm and also frighten a criminal into running away or giving up.
These days, crime has become a common issue in many parts of the country. As a result, the police are often overwhelmed in their efforts to protect all the citizens. In this way, coming as a deterrent effect, guns in the hands of law abiding citizens can go a long way in preventing crime. It should also be noted that by being in possession of a gun, people are able to live responsible lives.
Being in possession of a gun basically means that an individual has to change his/her attitudes as well as habits, in order to be in control of natural impulses as well as carelessness when handling a lethal weapon (LaRosa). This has the effect of increasing both power and responsibility. This eventually augments the character of somebody who is in possession of a gun.
It should be noted that people who abide by the gun-control laws are not in a position of defending themselves against those who do not abide by the very laws. Additionally, there is no point of believing that war against guns can rid the United States of guns any more than war on drugs has eradicated drugs in the American society (LaRosa). People who desire to buy illegal guns will still go ahead and purchase them in the black market, just as easily as illegal drugs are bought.
The American society must understand that implementing gun control in a violent and anti-social society is detrimental, especially if peaceful and law abiding people are disarmed. As a matter of fact, legislating gun safety results will only benefit the criminals who will get safer. In fact, laws that are anticipated to keep guns from criminals only result in keeping the same guns from millions of people who would otherwise have used the weapon to defend themselves and others on a daily basis. This in most cases takes place even without one shot being fired (LaRosa).
Just as guns take the lives of innocent people, they also save the lives of many others. This is because if an individual is left unguarded in a time of need as a result of gun control laws, such a person is likely to find no solace at the thought that someone somewhere might not be killed as a result of the law. As a matter of fact, registering vehicles and licensing drivers has not prevented road carnage, bank robberies, drug deals, or crime in which cars are used. Maybe the question should be, if one was to defend himself, would he feel more at ease with or without a gun (LaRosa)?
Additionally, by having a gun, one has a sense of security, and is therefore in a position of concentrating on other more important things. By being in possession of something that can protect his or her family, an individual is therefore able to sleep better and be more courageous in case trouble strikes.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the black market for guns is a huge one. In this regard, by banning guns, a potentially large source of organized criminal revenue will be enhanced, which will further affects the nation’s security, since this black market will be a source of revenue to wrong elements who may pose a security threat to the society at large.
Guns Do Not Provoke Murders
People who are in support of gun control claim that availability of guns provokes normal people to violence and crime. However, this is far from the truth (Mauser 8-9). While it may be true that humanity is full of evil in their hearts, the truth is that very few individuals can attempt to kill anyone (Mauser 8-9).
By and large, murder is a very rare occurrence with serial murders not being typical. It therefore is unrelated to possession of guns. In the developed world, most of those who own guns are either target shooters or hunters (Mauser 8-9). For instance, research indicates that in Canada, two thirds of those who own guns say they do so in order to hunt.
In most cases, gun laws are meant to decrease gun crime; however, the most important question is whether gun laws are able to reduce criminal violence (Mauser 8-9). In this regard, since gun crime forms such a minute fraction of criminal violence, it is very misleading to use gun crime to evaluate the impact of any legislation when it comes to public safety.
It is worth noting that in other parts of the developed world, criminal activities involving guns are usually limited to a very small percentage of people. For instance, in Canada, out of about 4.5 million gun owners, only paltry 10,000 violent crimes involve guns annually (Mauser 8-9). In this regard, even if these violations were committed by citizens that previously strictly followed the law, this would still represent a minute fraction of gun owners.
People who are in support of gun control also claim that every criminal activity involving guns begin with a legal gun. This again is not true. This is because legal gun owners cannot be the only ones providing weapon used by perpetrators. As a matter of fact, theft cannot be the primary source of gun used by criminals (Mauser 8-9).
Additionally, in most developed countries, just a small fraction of guns used in violent crime have been in the registration system. For instance, in Wales and England, less than 16% of guns used in homicide have ever been registered. In Canada, the figure goes down to approximately 8% (Mauser 8-9).
Stolen Guns Increase Criminal Violence
In most cases, there are fewer registered guns involved in criminal activities, compared to the ones that are stolen. Though it is not easy to determine how many armories are broken into, research indicates that the majority of guns stolen from either the police or the military account for a good percentage of guns used in criminal violence (Mauser 8-9). As a matter of fact, the majority of the sources of guns for criminal activities at the international level are mostly smuggled from sources such as military depots from the former communist countries.
Violent Crime Cannot Be Reduced by Stricter Gun Laws
Over and above, statistics have indicated that there is no evidence that harsh gun laws have led to a reduction in violent crime. As a matter of fact, gun laws have the potential of increasing criminal violence since they involves disarming the general public. In spite of imposing a ban on hand guns, or taking away all handguns, violent crime keeps on growing (Mauser 12).
In Australia, as a result of impetuous media coverage of the Tasmania killings which took place in mid 1990s, the government decided to introduce sweeping changes to the legislation of firearms. As a result, close to 600,000 semi-automatic firearms were confiscated from their licensed owners (Mauser 13).
Additionally, new licensing and registration regulations were introduced (Mauser 13). However, in spite of these far-reaching reforms, the streets of Australia are not any safer. This is because the total homicide rates remained basically flat (Mauser 13). Unfortunately, reports indicate that the national homicide rates have been on the increase.
Again, following the recent changes in the firearm laws in Australia, it was expected that the suicide rates will go down; however, there has been no impact upon the suicide rate (Mauser 13). It should be noted that firearm legislation does not have any considerable impact on the rate of homicides, neither does it work to decrease other violent crimes (Mauser 16).
Gun Control is Ineffective
Over and above, research has indicated that gun control is ineffective when it comes to the issue of reducing the rate of crime in the society (Carter 345-348). According to the research, no vigilant experimental study, irrespective of the type of data used, has resulted in a negative relationship between gun control measures and the rate of crime.
Gun control has been found ineffective because it by no means prevents criminals from looking for ways to obtain and use guns. After all, citizens who are obedient to the law can be expected to abide by the law and go ahead to receive permits, register firearms, and enroll in firearm safety courses. On the contrary, it will not be a surprise to find if criminals are found to break the law on a regular basis by stealing firearms or buying them in the illegal black market.
It should also be noted that measures regarding gun control typically try to impact the process of buying guns at the point of sale. This takes place between the clients and licensed merchants. State as well as federal background checks, waiting periods, and registration are usually parts of the same process .
Research has indicated that gun control laws that end up in disarming the public have not been effective in reducing criminal violence in any of the countries where they have been enforced . In all the cases where anti-gun legislation has been carried out, it has been found to be futile, costly, and often counter productive. It is therefore vital that the authorities be able to do away with strict regulations regarding gun control. This is because this will help ensure the safety of innocent citizens as well as reduce the rate of crime.
Carter, Gregg. Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2002. Print.
Kleck, Gary. Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. New Brunswick, N. J.: Aldine Transaction, 2005. Print.
LaRosa, Benedict. “Can Gun Control Reduce Crime?” Freedom Daily. The Future of Freedom Foundation, Oct. 2002. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. <http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0210e.asp>
Mauser, Gary. “The Failed Experiment – Gun Control and Public Safety in Canada, Australia, England and Wales.” Fraser Institute. 1 Nov. 2003. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.