The argument about guns and the need for gun control has been going on for decades. The last few years, however, have seen an increase in the debate. This is largely due to the rise in the number of crimes that involve guns in the recent past. Every other day a shooting is reported where innocent people lose their lives. It goes without saying that new gun control laws should be put in place and enforced. There are many reasons why new gun laws are critical in America today (Wilson, 14). The second Amendment has been one of the main causes of discourse among people. Those who are pro-gun claim that the Second Amendment gives them the right to possess guns. It is important to understand that the Second Amendment does not give a right to gun without restrictions. Also, the gun laws that are in place now are old. One example of such old gun laws in America is that Catholics, Native Americans, and slaves are not allowed to own guns as it is criminalized by the government. Such a law clearly cannot stand in todays world and therefore new laws should be put in place.
Laws that ban high-capacity magazine should also be enforced. High-capacity magazines are firearm magazines that have the capability of storing more than the required rounds of ammunition. The use of high-capacity magazines has been reported in the case of mass murders. An investigation conducted by Mother Jones found that of the 62 mass shootings in America between the years of 1982 and 2012, 50% of them were done using high-capacity magazines. Injury rate rose by 156% and the death rate rose by 63% because of this, according to the report. When these types of magazines are used by the killer, he becomes some sort of killing machine because the previous restrictions with constant reloading are no longer there. By using guns with a larger capacity magazine, the shooting is more likely to be fatal because the more the shots fired, the more the likelihood of harm. It is thus clear that the use of high-capacity magazines should be banned by law (Gerdes, 24).
Gun ownership laws should be increased to protect victims of domestic violence. This is especially true for domestic violence against women. According to government reports, each day in America five women are murdered with guns. Also, the risk of fatality increases to 500% when there is a gun involved in the domestic altercation. The same report states that between 2001 and 2012, over 6000 women were murdered in the United States by their partner using a gun. 41 American states do not have laws that demand the return of guns to the government by domestic abusers. The gun laws in place now still grant power to dangerous people and the laws need to be increased to account for such cases. Gun owners claim the gun laws should not be changed because the guns purchased are used in self-defense. Reports paint a different picture. Between 2007 and 2011, out of almost 27 million vicious crimes committed, only 0.79% of the fatalities protected themselves with their guns. In 2010, out of the 8505 gun-related deaths reported only 230 were justifiable by law. This numbers are too small to justify the purchase of a gun for the sole purpose of self-defense.
Gun-related crimes are usually committed using guns that were legally purchased. This sometimes happens when criminals steal the guns from the legal owners and use them for crime. The Institute of Medicine published a report in June 2013 that stated that criminal acts that use guns use guns that were initially legally purchased. During the five years following 2005, there was theft of 1.4 million guns from homes during other criminal activities such as burglary. Guns are portable, easy to hide, and sell fast on the black market. This means that the more easily the gun can be found, the easier it is for it to be stolen. Were there fewer guns to begin with, the criminals would have a harder time stealing them. The possession of more guns by the general public leads to more suicide. Out of all the suicides between 1999 and 2013, 52% were gun-related. A study on the suicide rates in America was conducted by the International Review of Law and Economics in 2014. The published study reported that suicide rates reduce with the reduction of gun ownership. It also reported that if people had limited access to guns the effect on the number of death would be significant. The most effective barriers to gun ownership they observed were the illegality of a minor owning a gun and the requirement of permits for the purchase of guns (Ludwig, Jens & Philip, 32).
Many deaths caused by accidental shooting have also been reported. Laws that require safety features in guns to be mandatory should be enacted. Almost half of accidental shootings were to the user of the gun and fatal accidental firearm incidences were the cause of friends and family. A report by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence states that the US states with a higher number of guns have almost nine times the number of accidental deaths. The deaths usually occur while children are playing with the guns in the home. Another report by the General Accounting Office found that safety features on the guns could have reduced 31% of accidental deaths. Automatic safety locks that are child-proof on guns could have prevented 100% of the accidental deaths or shooting by a child under 6 years of age. Laws that make it mandatory to have a safety lock on the gun when not in use should be enacted (Gerdes, 28).
The large amount of tax payers money lost due to gun violence can be reduced by the enactment of stricter gun laws. Research by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation stated that gun violence cost each American citizen $564 in 2010. The United States government incurred $5.5 Billion in tax revenue lost. Law enforcement and medical responses also resulted in costs to the tune of $400 million in response to the gun violence that had taken place. 84% of those who were shot lacked medical insurance leaving the tax payer to foot the bills. The World Health Organization listed the costs of gun violence as time, earnings, medical bills, legal bills, psychological, prison, foster care, and productivity. The value of property declined, by 12.5%, because of the rise in gun violence. Were there stricter gun laws in place, the losses incurred as a result of gun violence would be significantly less (Torr, 42).
If guns are present during a conflict, the chance of the conflict turning violent is high. Research conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2013 found that 59.9% of the arguments, such as arguments over money, resulted in death caused by a gun. Another report by the American Journal of Public Health found that deaths caused by guns come about after an unplanned argument and/or fight and that 67% of the deaths in 1981 occurred in this manner. In a fight, the most accessible weapon is the one that is used. A gun is a dangerous weapon to have on standby in case an argument ensues. If less people own guns, there is less likelihood of death caused by spur of the moment emotions.
As much as many might think that armed civilians may use their guns to stop crimes, this is not the case. On the contrary, they are more likely to aggravate the situation at hand. Between 1982 and 2012, out of the 62 mass shooting in the United States, none was stopped by an armed civilian. The shooting at the Appalachian School of Law is thought to have been stopped by armed civilians but this is untrue. Law enforcement officers stopped the shooter and were only able to do so after the shooter ran out of bullets. Other situations in which those who are pro guns argue that armed civilians stopped mass shooters are also untrue as law enforcement officers are the ones who stop the shooters. Gun owners do not usually possess the quick thinking that trained law enforcement officers do. In a high-stress situation such as a mass shooting, the civilian is more likely to cause more harm than good in the situation. Gun laws should be changed so that the gun owner is not only supplied with the gun but trained on when and how to use it to prevent aggravation of situations. This thorough training will deter people from owning guns when they cannot correctly use them.
Another important gun law that should be enacted is one that bars hunters from ownership of powerful firearms. The gun laws used today and the Second Amendment act were put in place at a time when firearm technology was very different from what it is now. At the time, most of the firearms available to civilians were long rifles. Long rifles require reloading after every shot. The time taken to reload the shot makes the firearm slightly less lethal. Today, the general public can access any manner of firearm; from silencers that reduces the sound of the gunshot to military-grade grenade launchers. Military personnel are highly trained on the proper handling of dangerous firearms so as to cause least damage on innocent lives. The civilians that have access to these weapons do not. With gun laws in place to stop the purchase of such equipment by civilians in place, the fatalities that occur as a cause of these firearms will reduce (Torr, 45).
Research indicates that countries that have strict gun laws have lower rates of deaths caused by guns as compared to the United States. A prime example of such countries is Finland and Switzerland. These two countries have thorough checks before one is allowed to own a gun. Licenses have to be acquired and intensive background checks conducted. Mental fitness is conducted by professionals and criminal records and other restrictions are put into place. Switzerland, in 2007, was the country with the third highest number of guns in the world while Finland was fourth. That year Finland had only 23 homicides that were gun-related while Switzerland had 24. United States, a country with more relaxed gun ownership reported over 30,000 deaths that were gun-related. Moreover, most of mass murderers are later found to be mentally unstable. Thus, providing guns to those that are not mentally capable to handle them increase the risk of gun-related deaths. Stricter laws should be put in place so as to reduce the number of guns that are in the hands of the wrong people (Scherer, 26).
Mass murders and especially those orchestrated by minors have become normal in the news. Every other day students kill one another with legalized weapons. Having easy access to these weapons makes it that much easier to use it to harm others. In some states all that is required is proof of age. An example of one of the worst mass murders is the Columbine shooting where students purchased guns easily through their friend who was the age of eighteen used the guns to perpetrate one of the worst murders in the United States. Had it been more difficult to access the guns, the students would not have had the guns to use. Stricter laws should be put in place where only adults of sound mind and clear motive for the purchase of the gun are allowed ownership.
The rise in the number and magnitude of deaths that are gun-related is a clear indication that the system that is in place now is not working. It is not unusual to hear about some pulling out a gun after an argument about something as small as a minor traffic accident or a toddler getting fatally while playing with a toy. Guns are not playthings and should stop being treated as such. What was meant to be laws that allow citizens to protect themselves has become a danger to society and is getting worse at an alarming rate. Gun laws should be made stricter by conducting thorough background checks on those that wish to own guns, criminalizing the possession of military-grade weapons, making it illegal to keep a gun in a house or car without safety feature, increasing the child safety features o...
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