Why gun control does not work
Table of Contents
Gun control is an umbrella term that refers to rules and laws restricting law-abiding citizens’ purchasing, using, or owning firearms. The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to own and keep arms (Hudson and Weston, 2021). However, gun laws have imposed restrictions on that freedom over time. Even though the Second Amendment requires citizens to own and keep firearms, several rules exist depending on where someone lives. Some gun control opponents and politicians claim that gun control laws are necessary even if they infringe upon the fundamental rights of Americans. However, the reality is the regulations do not work the way advocates want them (Nelson, 2020). Gun control laws have been in place for several years, and the evidence is clear now that such laws do not work because criminals barely respect the laws in place, and stricter gun control rules increase crime rates.
Criminals Do Not Obey Gun Control Laws
Law-abiding citizens only abide by gun control laws and would be impacted by expanded background checks. They acquire firearms through legal avenues and will adhere to all gun control laws when using their firearms. On the other hand, criminals, by definition, do not adhere to regulations. Therefore, no matter how many gun control laws are developed, criminals will never follow them. They purchase guns through illegal means and are not deterred by federal and state laws. That is why background checks have never impacted criminals. In 2016, the Bureau of Justice Research conducted on the Obama administration examined prisoners who obtained weapons and guns they used to commit criminal offences. The research stated that nearly 10.1% purchased their weapons from a retail store while the rest obtained through illegal channels such as illegal underground sales, gifts, theft, buying, trading, borrowing or renting from family or friend, purchase from another individual, from their victims and scenes of crime (Hudson and Weston, 2021). Criminals who obtain firearms in unlawful ways do not submit to background checks. Therefore, checks are ineffective at deterring criminals who intend to use guns to commit crimes.
Furthermore, considering the following scenarios, an individual with no criminal record buys a firearm to use to commit a crime, a person with a severe mental condition with no treatment history purchases a gun, and a drug addict lies about their addiction in the background check form. According to Nelson (2020), a background check will less likely stop them from purchasing firearms in all these scenarios. According to research findings in California State, which has had background checks implemented for decades, background checks had no impact on California’s homicide rates. The study analyzed the effect of comprehensive background checks on California State from 1981 to 2000 (Nelson, 2020). Therefore, it makes sense that background checks do not affect criminal activities. Indeed, background checks have been proven fruitless. They only make it hard to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens.
Stricter Gun Control Rules Increase Crime Rates
According to Cassell and Fowles (2018), research evidence shows that gun control does not reduce crime. States with the strictest gun control laws experience increased crime rates. Cities such as Chicago and New York have the most stringent gun laws and usually experience some of the highest crime rates. Statistics show that Chicago recorded the highest number of gun-related homicides, with murder and shooting rates increasing by 50% in 2020 (Cassell and Fowles, 2018). It was also ranked as the most murderous city in the U.S.A.
Similarly, New York had alarming statistics. Shooting rates increased surprisingly by 95%, and homicide increased by 41% in 2020 (Cassell & Fowles, 2018). The research concluded that homicide rates seem to increase when law-abiding citizens fail to use firearms for self-defense because of the existing strict gun laws. In other words, harsh gun control laws prevent law-abiding citizens from bearing arms, thus giving criminals a chance to exploit them (Cassell and Fowles, 2018). Crime reduces when law-abiding citizens have guns. Allowing law-abiding citizens to access firearms freely and more efficiently can help reduce crime rates rather than imposing strict gun control laws. For example, mass homicides have frequently been stopped or deterred by citizens lawfully allowed to carry concealed guns. Concealed carry laws have aided in reducing the number of robberies and rapes. Criminals will be less likely to commit criminal acts if they know their victims are armed. Cassell and Fowles (2018) also argue that research on 2000 prisoners across federal and state prisons in America stated that they feared armed citizens more than law enforcement officers.
Research evidence suggests that gun control laws do not work. Criminals do not adhere to gun control laws because they acquire firearms through illegal channels. It is only law-abiding citizens who obey such laws. Gun control laws such as background checks are ineffective when one wants to buy firearms. They only make it hard for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms. Stricter gun control laws have been known to increase crime rates because law-abiding citizens find it hard to buy guns for self-defense. On the other hand, crime has reduced when many law-abiding citizens have easy access to firearms. Besides, criminals tend to fear more armed citizens than the police.
- Cassell, P. G., & Fowles, R. (2018). What Caused the 2016 Chicago Homicide Spike: an Empirical Examination of the ACLU Effect and the Role of Stop and Frisks in Preventing Gun Violence. U. Ill. L. Rev., 1581.
- Hudson, G., & Weston, B. (2021). A Critical Review of Gun Violence Management in the United States of America. Journal of Public Policy & Governance, 5(2).
- Nelson, L. B. (2020). Gun Violence in America: A Nation Plagued by Policy (Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Northridge).
- Sanjurjo, D. (2020). Gun control policies in Latin America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.