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Gun Control Free Essay

In American politics, few issues divide the nation as sharply as the subject of gun control. There are two opposing opinions on this concern. One side argues that the federal government should enact laws that control issues of guns purchase and ownership. At the same time the other group claims that owning weapons is a constitutional right that should not be restricted or constrained by politicians in any way. The issue tends to be a topic for political debate in every presidential election, and its divisiveness seems to have increased due to the rising number of mass killings in America. This essay seeks to argue that there should be gun control in America so as to avert the constant gun violence.

First, Americans have more guns per individual that any other nation on the Earth. In the US it appears that the more guns there are, the more armed violence there is in the country, especially in comparison to countries with similar income levels (Richardson and Hemenway 238). The main point is that with people who possess guns even simple disagreements are likely to escalate into fatal violence. Moreover, there are a significant number of accidental deaths as a result of unintentional shooting (Perez-Pena).Richardson and Hemenway affirm this statement by explaining that the US leads in the number of accidental shootings among the developed countries (238). This contrasts with the gun rights advocates’ argument that more guns result into a safer environment (Perez-Pena). Controlling who and when can assess firearms will reduce these numbers because the less guns there are, the smaller is the amount of gun violence.

Secondly, in the US, it is easy for one to buy firearms in spite of prior criminal records, use of drugs, and extremism. It is true that the nation has laws that restrict the sale of guns to certain classes of people such as those with prior criminal records and those who have any kind of connection to drugs. However, there are certain loopholes which enable criminals to buy guns legally without any restrictions. Such gaps include purchasing weapons at gun fairs when there is little or no background check that the sellers do on the buyers of the arms. Thus, it is impossible to completely prevent people with criminal histories, drug convictions, and mental health issues from buying weapons (Webster et al. 7). Making more stringent laws on matters such as making purchases at gun shows would limit the number of people who can buy and access guns this way, thus reducing the likelihood of gun violence from them.

Thirdly, the public also seems to support at least basic gun control laws. Although some politicians and the powerful National Rifle Association are lobbying a belief that all people want unfettered access to guns, they do not present solid evidence (Webster et al. 11). Most of the members of the public advocate for some degree of control of weapons (Perez-Pena). Donohue has estimated this number to be at least ninety percent, including a majority of NRA’s members. He has also explained that the National Rifle Association seems to have so much control over politicians that even in spite of public support for gun control the government rarely enacts such laws. For instance, there is little need for automatic weapons in the hands of private individuals as the Australian government demonstrated (Webster et al. 10). Most people also support common-sense gun control legislation that would, for instance, require more background checks before one buys a weapon (Donohue). However, the NRA even opposes laws that prescribe the safe storing of firearms that are no longer in use so as to keep them from children and criminals (Donohue). Consequently, it seems that if the politicians considered the public’s wishes, they would at least enact common-sense gun control laws.

Fourthly, arms control should also cover assault weapons and guns with high capacity magazines which people rarely need to use in defense of themselves and their property. It is almost impossible to execute massacres using weapons that have low capacity magazines and are not automatic (Donohue). However, the increase in the number of purchased high caliber weapons, which sometimes are even of a military grade, has raised the possibility of mass shootings and compromised the safety of the public(Webster et al. 9). Consequently, banning assault and military grade weapons would reduce the possibility of public massacres by deranged individuals.

Fifthly, one of the reasons pro-gun organizations have stated for unfettered control of guns is that the weapons can save lives during mass shootings. While this view seems to be more and more popular, in reality it is far from the truth. In essence, legal guns are more likely to be used to kill people in mass shootings than to stop a massacre. Between 1982 and 2012, the US experienced around sixty-seven instances of mass shootings (Blackbird and Baird 1519).An overwhelming majority of those mass shootings used arms which the shooters had legally acquired while there were few cases of a legal guns being used to stop the murderers (Blackbird and Baird 1533). Consequently, gun laws on the restriction of those who can buy weapons would most certainly reduce the number of casualties of gun violence.

The sixth point is that the argument that permission to carry guns reduces the crime level is not valid. One of the most popular arguments made forth by the NRA and gun rights advocates is that the presence of guns reduces instances of crime, and in fact discourages criminals from committing their heinous acts (Blackbird and Baird 1577). However, this argument is simply not true for several reasons. The US has a significant crime problem when compared to other developed countries, while also having the largest number of guns per capita (Richardson and Hemenway 238). If the assertion that guns reduce crime was true, the US would have the lowest crime rate among the developed countries and not the highest number of gun violence victims.

Moreover, a related argument is that guns can be useful as a self-defense tool when criminals confront an armed person. However, this prevalent assertion does not seem to have solid proofs (Perez-Pena). According to Donohue, only small fraction of the victims of guns crimes had the mind, the time, or the courage to confront the criminal with another gun. According to statistics, more than 99.2% of the victims of gun violence between 2007 and 2012 did not use their weapons to defend themselves (Donohue). Moreover, a study showed that out of 198 cases of entry into households in Atlanta where single families dwelt, the invaders were twice as likely to use the gun or end up having the gun that the victim had kept to use as self-defense (Donohue). Consequently, as guns are not used as a tool of self-defense in case of a crime, restricting their availability would not endanger more people but would ensure that criminals do not have access to them.

Furthermore, there is also a need for a nationwide gun control initiative since weapon restrictions in one city or state are not effective as long as criminals can get them from another region. There have been studies that have shown that in cases when a city or a state enacts more stringent gun ownership laws, the gun circulation from other states and cities hinders those efforts (Donohue). According to Donohue, weak gun control regulations in a country can create crime problems including massacres in another area or country. For instance, there is a case of Anders Breivik, who opened fire on a group of youths at a camp in Norway in 2011 (Donohue). Breivik had been unable to obtain high capacity clips for his guns in Norway; he was able to buy them from the US provider who sent them to him (Donohue). We can observe the same situation in the US, because of tax federal law on gun regulation, the presence of arms control laws in one state is never efficient as the guns from other states can permeate into the state with more severe laws. Thus, to reduce instances of gun violence, there should be strict federal gun control laws as the enactment of such laws by only some of the states leaves possibility that criminals are ready to use.

Therefore, based on evidence research has suggested that having more stringent gun laws works. Developed countries with the fewest number of guns per capita also tend to have less gun violence. An example is Japan that has less than two hundred thousand guns in a population of a more than one hundred and twenty-seven million. It has probably the lowest murder rate in the developed world (Donohue). In Britain, the government banned automatic weapons after a massacre of sixteen children and their teacher at school in 1996. The country has been relatively free from mass shootings ever since (Donohue). On the other hand, the US continues to account for more than eighty-seven per cent of children who die of gun violence (Richardson and Hemenway 238). In the same way as Britain, Australia introduced a strict registration and licensing as well as the federal buy-back program for weapons. Moreover, government of the country requires people to provide an adequate reason as to why they should own a gun (Donohue). According to Donohue, there have been no mass shootings in more than twenty years since the ban. In the twenty years that precede the ban, thirteen such cases had occurred (Donohue). On the other hand, the US, which has some of the most liberal gun laws in the world, experiences around twenty-five times bigger rate of gun homicide than the rest of the developed countries (Webster et al. 2). This points towards a need for reform.

Lastly, there should be gun control because, like the other rights, the right to bear arms depends upon numerous factors such as the right of others to be safe. There is also doubt if the drafters of the Second Amendment initially meant it to apply the permission to carry weapons to individual citizens or militia, which would not be the equivalent of the National Guard. In District of Columbia v Heller, the Court made it clear that the Second Amendment right is not unlimited and that would allow any American to “keep and carry any weapon [...] in any manner whatsoever, and for whatever the purpose”. This statement is the case pro-gun activists cite as guaranteeing the right to own a weapon. Consequently, it is important for Americans to look for ways to have gun control that is not only acceptable across a wide populace, but also that ensures the safety of the public.

As it is apparent from the essay, there should be stricter gun control laws in the country. First, America has more guns per capita than any other nation that has led to recurrent gun violence. Secondly, while the federal law makes people with prior criminal records and the mentally ill unable to buy weapons, there are loopholes like sales at gun shows where they can purchase it. Thirdly, there is also public support for gun control. Fourthly, the assault and military grade weapons are rarely used for self-defense but they work for mass shootings and, thus, should be restricted. Fifth, unlike the common assertion, guns are used in self-defense in less than one percent of the times, and in some cases, the criminal is more likely to get the firearm the family has bought for self-protection. Lastly, the Supreme Court has explained that the second amendment is not an absolute but a limited right like all the others.

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