More gun control is necessary
The National Crime Victimization Survey of America reported that 2011 alone reported 68% murders from firearms, 41% in robbery offenses while another 21% aggravated assaults (National Institute of Justice). In comparison to 22 developed nations, the USA records 25 times higher murder rates (National Institute of Justice). However, there is currently a raging debate among the citizens on the relationship between gun ownership and violence. Some believe that with no relationship exist between gun violence and the American laxity in implementing gun laws but a considerate number has raised concerns that indeed, the relaxed gun laws could be responsible for the high rates of violence and murders in the country. Concrete evidence indicates that the lack of laws for controlling gun possession is robbing American many lives and with stricter controls, the rates of deaths from gun-related murders, homicides and accidents will be reduced. Therefore, in advocating gun control, this argument maintains that stricter laws will reduce the death statistics from guns or firearms since the laws have proven useful in other developed countries and even when laws like free-gun zones have been blamed for mass shootings, decade-long surveys have proved that such laws are not responsible for mass shootings.
Stricter gun control, so to speak, is necessary because it will lead to the reduction in the deaths currently witnessed in the America. As of currently, many deaths are attributed to gun violence. In the year 2015 alone, with 300 million guns in the hands of the civilians, the United States felt the negative implications of uncontrolled gun possession with 372 mass shootings, 475 deaths and another 1, 870 wounded (BBC News). In the same year, 13, 286 people succumbed to gun related violence, with another 26, 819 injured, as the statistics not including cases of suicides. In addition, records from the US Department of Justice has indicated that between the year 2001 and 2011, 11, 385 individuals died on an annual basis all attributed to firearm (BBC News). Hence, from the current stand, there is much evidence from reliable government agencies, especially the Justice Department that has the worrying reports of the deaths attributed to guns. In this case, controlling gun possession through stricter rules is meant to redress the problems of many Americans losing their lives and reducing the high death rates from guns, whether self-inflicted or violence related. For the USA to address the problem of gun trauma and violence, the statistics confirm the necessity of controlling gun possession. Therefore, with the ever-rising number of deaths and fatalities from gun possession, introducing stricter policies for controlling gun possession will rid the nation from many deaths which are equally an economic loss of a productive part of the population.
Nonetheless, countries that have introduced stronger and stringent policies for controlling gun possession have enjoyed the benefits of such policy implications with the reduction in the rates of deaths and violence. In reality, the USA has the worse rates of gun violence in comparison to any of the industrialized or developed nations (Donahue). Empirical studies and explorations have confirmed that with stricter gun control policies in other countries, such have been crucial in reducing homicidal violence, gun accidents and suicides. For instance, countries that have recorded reduced levels or rates of gun violence have been using the safe storage regulation more in countries implementing or having stricter gun regulations (Donahue). The step is necessary for addressing cases whereby guns are stolen and used on the victims. In addition, such a policy is effective because it aims at keeping the guns out of the reach of children or even criminals. Stricter gun controls have been effective in reducing incidences of mass shootings in the developed or advanced nations. Few countries exist as reference points for the USA to borrow or emulate in its gun control policies. For example, Germany has a policy forcing individuals to undergo psychiatric evaluation, especially when under five year. Donahue compares the situation with the Charleston Shooter who was 21 years and such problems could have been avoided if America had the same regulation or policy on gun accessibility. The country can also borrow from Italy, a country whereby gun possession is subject to the provision of genuine reasons and passing background check on mental health and criminal records. Therefore, countries that have recorded the least number of mass shootings have policies for checking the criminal, mental health and overall psychiatric evaluation for every applicant before possessing a gun.
The story of Australia and its strict gun control policies have been responsible for the lack of mass shooting since 1996. Although the country had recorded around 13 mass shootings between 1979 and 1996, the Port Arthur massacre led to a change as the government banned some of the firearms, for instance, the possession of semiautomatic weapons which were used during the shooting (Donahue). Australia, since banning many weapons, of which the Glock semiautomatic handgun was banned, even used in the Charleston Shootings, has not had mass shootings for the past 21 years. Therefore, with countries like Australia having no mass shootings in the successive years since implementing tougher rules or regulations on gun possession and types of weapons to be bought, the evidence is equally a justification that stricter gun control policies and regulations will save the USA from mass shootings since the same have been successful in the developed countries alike.
Although an increasing number of Americans are currently of the opinion that reducing gun ownership regulations and making it accessible to every citizen will improve their chances of defense, this has to be done cautiously. For example, from a survey done in December 2014, the report indicated that 52% of the Americans are currently of the opinion that gun ownership is a necessity and as such, there is the inherent necessity of protecting the citizen’s rights of owning guns (Lott). On the other hand, 42% argued for the need to have control on gun ownership. Moreover, some of the citizens believe that with the regulatory incentives like gun-free zones, they are more of encouraging attacks since the law-abiding citizens are disarmed but criminals are let free (Lott). However, studies and surveys have contradicting results regarding the role that free gun zones play in promoting gun violence. Accordingly, Zercoe Cole referred to the survey by Mother Jones that indicated that of the 62 mass shootings that took place between 1982 and 2012, all were not site targeted because of gun ban. Retrospectively, a larger percentage of the attacks were attributed to personal connection to the rampage site, for instance, the place of work. Conversely, another study by Everytown for Gun Safety reported that only 13% of the mass shootings that occurred between 2009 and 2015 happened in the gun-free public zones or spaces (Zercoe). Therefore, from the research or study evidence, it is quite obvious that free-gun zones do not promote and contribute to mass shootings and as such, the regulations should be upheld to reduce chances of increased deaths and violence from guns.
In essence, regulation is still necessary more so for those who can own or have the right of concealed ownership. For instance, the PoliceOne organization, with current large, membership, believes that having legally armed citizens is vital for stopping crime. One the other hand, 91 percent of the group are in support for concealed firearm possession or carrying but this should be practiced with restriction such as ensuring that the individuals have not been convicted of felony cases or they are deemed as medically and psychologically incapable (Lott). Hence, even the law enforcers are of the opinion that possessing guns is a necessity but only when there are regulations to safeguard the accessibility of the firearms, especially ensuring that individuals are screened for mental and psychological stability. In this case, there is much support from the law enforcers, including war veterans and ex policemen on the need to have regulations controlling gun ownership like concealed ownership.
The need to have gun control rests upon the value placed on life. America is a country that values life and as such, society has the responsibility of protecting innocent lives. The presence of guns is a threat to societal welfare, of which the government’s role is on protecting the safety and well-being of its citizens (Lott 20). Besides, assault weapons and handguns are specifically in existence to kill people while there is much relationship between owning a gun and violent crime. In this case, placing greater restriction on owning guns is a measure for r reducing the unjustified killings. Introducing more gun control will help with keeping with the American values by serving towards protecting each individual’s right to safety existence and as such, minimizing the inherent threats posed on the innocent lives in the country (Lott 34). Hence, gun control resonates with the necessity to protect American’s life, especially keeping them safe and upholding the value to human life and at best, making the country committed towards upholding the integrity of life as provided under the constitution.
In conclusion, there is the inherent need of introducing policies for more and stricter gun control to reduce deaths and gun-related violence like mass shootings in America. Statistics already highlight the number of deaths recorded annually from gun-related deaths robbing the country of productive population. In addition, the developed countries that have stricter gun regulations record less death rates and violence when compared to the United States. Examples like Australia where stricter gun control have been successful in reducing mass shootings is an empirical justification. Moreover, mass shootings could stop if regulations like free-gun zones were introduced because evidence has highlighted that restricting gun possession in these areas is not the main reason behind mass shooting. Conversely, the country has a role to protect and value the lives of its citizens, which to a greater extent, will be achieved if less guns are in control of possession of the citizens.
- BBC News. “Guns in the US: The Statistics behind the Violence – BBC News.” Counter Hit Make, BBC News, 5 Jan. 2016, beatout.net/info/gun-violence-in-the-united-states-statistics.
- Donahue, John. “How US Gun Control Compares to the Rest of the World.” The Conversation,Journalistic Flair. 19 June 2017. Web. 3 December 2017.
- Lott, John R. “Why most Americans oppose more gun control.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 30 Dec. 2014. Web. 5 December 2017.
- Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
- National Institute of Justice. “Gun Violence”. March 17, 2017. Web. 5 December 2017.
- Zercoe, Cole. “5 things to know about gun-free zones”. Feb 25, 2017. Web. 4 Dec, 2017.
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