Gun violence in the United States has been rampant resulting to numerous annual deaths and injuries with a 2013 statistics quoting figures of 1.3% of US citizens deaths every year due to fire arms. This statistic intentionally excludes deaths by guns that result during legal interventions. During this year, use of fire arms were connected to 21, 175 suicides, 11, 208 homicides, 505 accidental deaths and 84, 258 non-lethal injuries. There has been a steady incline in these grave statistical numbers year on a phenomenon that is costing the United States $516 million in taxpayers money in covering direct medical attention to victims (FastStats, 2015). While mass shooting are becoming a common occurrence in the United States, spiking from 2007 onwards, and also get intensive media attention, they only represent a small fraction of all gun-related violence in the country. This vice is instigating emotive debate in the country on gun control legislation resulting to wide divisions between proponents and opponents of the proposed policy.
According to Congressional Research service, there currently are approximately 310 million firearms in the United States with the exception of military arsenal, which is an average of one firearm per person. This essay will delve into the arguments of both parties in the deliberations about gun control legislation (Committee on Law and Justice, 2004). Therefore my thesis statement for this essay is stringent gun control legislation will alleviate gun violence in the United States.
Advocates of gun-control are convinced that the reigning in on the numbers of and what persons can access fire arms in the United States will drastically reduce the crime wave in the country. It is incredibly easy for a person in the country buy or has access to fire arm and the incongruence of laws between states makes it even more casual. US citizens can easily buy a gun through the internet by undergoing several mundane background checks(Morris, 2013). One could only be excluded from owing a gun if he or she is a drug addict, mentally ill, a felon, an illegal immigrant and most persons with serious crime records. Gun are accessible from pawn shops, there are an estimated 8000 pawnbrokers in the country. Additionally, there are over 100 gun shows weekly across the United States where prospective gun-owners could purchase fire arms. There are numerous cases where guns trade hands without a single background check such as in cases where a gun collector buy sell and trade with or from another person from the same state without a the requirement of a federal license a common loophole in gun control. Therefore using this loophole, a parent could lend his or her gun to their sons and daughter or also trade or sell to neighbors (Kleck, 2007).
Statistics corroborate this contention indicating that it is so easy to own a fire arm in the United States such that most shooting over the past 30 years, especially mass shootings, are associated with legally-acquired guns. This therefore indicates the flaw with the current gun-control measures that make it casual for criminals to own guns legally. Advocates of the tougher gun control indicate that approximately 2 million US citizens currently own guns that they would not possess with tougher gun control measures. They underscore that these persons who do not have a clean background check but still acquire guns easily, pose the greatest security threat to the country with regards to gun-violence (Kellerman& Rivera, 2002).
With tighter gun control legislation, according to exponents, guns will less available especially by preventing fire arms going into the wrong hands through thorough background checks. The gun-violence statistics will certainly reduce with the enforcement of these stiffer gun control regulations. More so, it is asserted that the pervasive gun ownership in the country create the perception in every prospective crime-perpetrator that most of their potential victims are armed hence during orchestrating of crime, these culprits are more likely to use their fire arm whenever they sense the slightest provocation or resistance and also in self-defense. With starchy gun control measures that remove most guns from the public potential criminals will not perceive most victims of their crimes due to low gun ownership, as a threat hence less likely to harm them fatally(FastStats, 2015).
Supporters of gun control regulation argue that the smooth access to gun to most Americans actually exacerbates crime especially crimes of passion. These are criminal acts such as homicides that are driven due a strong impulse of dislike or hatred of another person or due to errant rage as opposed to pre-meditated crime. Such emotional outbursts are associated with fatal consequences when there is an easily accessible fire arm due to its convenience as a weapon. Additionally, most cases of suicide in the country involve the use of guns. When the 2nd amendment is amended, access to guns to kids from their parents will be criminal hence also prevent the incidences of accidental shootings. More so, incidences of suicides are expedited by the availability of guns which makes it convenient for depressed person to take their lives rather than seek help. The use of guns in suicide makes the vice even more lethal than any other means of suicide (Morris, 2013).
Antagonists of these firm gun control legislations aver that these regulations will not have an impact in the effort to alleviate the rates of gun-violence in the country. According to them criminals with intent will always find a way to access a fire arm whether legally or illegally. They refute the arguments of crime reduction through gun control policies and assert that absolute control of fire arms is virtually impossible. It is absolutely possible to acquire a gun through the black market and their counter argument is that rather than tightening gun control regulation, state and federal governments should act towards fighting these illegal markets. Governments should rather focus on tracing gun ownership and keeping updates on gun owners and licenses rather than making it more difficult for ordinary Americans to own guns (Wright et al, 2003).
Based on their disputations, the current legislations on gun control are efficient in deterring crime. While this is backed by concrete statistics, NRA records indicate that since gun ownership in the US increased in the 1990s by 100 million, there has been a 52% decline in the rates of homicides and murders and the total violent crime reduced by 48%(FastStats, 2015).These gun ownership trends allowed the country to achieve the lowest homicide and aggregate crime rates to the lowest levels levels in nearly 40 years. This is attributed to fact that vulnerable people who would rather be exposed and easy target for culprits with vicious intentions, persons such as women and the disabled become more dissuasive as targets if they own a gun. They refer to the right of every US citizen to self-defense, rights that should not be reneged in any way by others laws. It is hence that this right is recognized and inscribed in the National Rifle Associations Institute for Legislative Action.
Nonetheless since 2010, crime levels have been on the incline hence proving to be difficult to continue giving reference to these statistics to corroborate the effectiveness of the current gun control regulations(Morris, 2013).Opponents of the stiffer gun control measures point out to the fault of the arguments by proponents of the law that it is easier to acquire lethal assault weapons such as the automatic and semi-automatic rifles, high-caliber and machine guns. While most of the fervent focus of the exponents of the gun control legislation is to mop out and make it arduous to access the deadly weapons, statistics indicate that only a meagre, but significant nonetheless, fraction of these automatic, semi-automatic assault weapons are involved in gun-violence. This argument was based as reference to the non-renewal of the Federal Assault Weapon ban by Bill Clinton(Wright et al, 2003).
The debate on gun control legislation is therefore be a sobering debate that allows the US citizens to weigh and counterbalance the merits and demerits of stricter gun control legislation. Using this information, the country should make a solemn decision on gun ownership by ensuring that benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Nonetheless, I believe that enacting stringent gun control measures is the best route to take in thecurtailing escalating gun violence in the country.
Committee on Law and Justice (2004) Chapter 4.Firearms and Violence A Critical Review.National Academy of Science.
FastStats (2015): Morality All firearm deaths. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htmKellerman, A. L., Rivera F. P. (2002) Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership. The New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society) 327 (7): 467 472.
Kleck, G. (2007) Targeting Guns: Firearms and their Control. Aldine de Gruyter.
Morris, M. (2013) 10 Arguments for Gun Control. LISTVERSE http://listverse.com/2013/04/21/10-arguments-for-gun-control/Wright, J. D., Sheley, J. F., Dwayne S. (2003). Kids, Guns and Killing Fields.Society 30. NCJ 140211
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