Gun control took center stage in the United States law in 1930s as The National Firearms Act of 1934. However, on October 22 1968, U.S President Lyndon B. Johnson, over three decades after it first inception signed the act into law (Mohun. 2013 p. 303). This doctrine was enacted as a U.S. federal law that controls the firearms business, and handguns owners. It principally focused on regulating regional commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting firearms handovers except among licensed manufacturers, sellers, and distributors. Soon after the act was passed as a law, several reports were made that many of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents were using this bill to terrorize ordinary non-criminal citizens into making technical violations and hence wrongful arrests were being made. As a result of this, the Senate sub-committee came up with the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 that revised many provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Years have passed and the debate goes on in matters about gun control. This paper is aimed at making a comparative analysis on the current prevailing issue of having stringent gun control rules in order to cut gun-related violence and homicide in the U.S.
The fight for more severe gun control laws originates in part from the hypothesis that more guns mean more violence (Lott. 2010 p 5). An FBI report, in 2003, there were approximately 11,000 murders were firearms related and another 367,000 non-fatal crimes as well. By some approximations, the sum number of gun related crimes cost in the U.S could about 80 billion dollars per year (Brandl, and Stroshine.2011). These facts tend to support the fact that guns are playing a key role in homicide offenses being committed in the United States. However, one of the biggest questions in people’s heads is to what degree gun control regulations have in reducing these numbers in homicide cases or gun related crime in general.
Most gun owners claim that they own and have guns for self-defense. Most of them mean that literally, defending themselves and their homes and families against intruders. Others have a more grandiose understanding of self-defense. The second amendment allows civilians to not just own but curry their weapons on them as they wish for self-defense and on recreational events such as hunting expeditions. General Social Survey (GSS) data used in a multilevel analysis to examine the relationship between an individual’s decision to own a handgun and his or her city’s homicide rate and police strength level. The analysis show cities with high homicide rate cause their residents to own guns, however, the survey also shows that this effects are not mediated by the individual’s own victimization experiences or fear of crime (Kleck. 2009). The survey showed that these cities had some of the biggest police forces in the country and the same law enforcement agencies involved were actually discouraging any civilian to buy a gun. To most law enforcement agencies in this areas feel that the lesser the number of guns on the streets the better.
From the above case studies both parties that are involved in gun control politics have good arguments that support their ideologies in terms of having guns, or not having guns in the public. It should be noted that this topic could only be understood from a neutral perspective in order to have a viable verdict. By definition, stringer gun control measures means having tougher regulations on individuals owning guns, and restricting distribution of firearms by sellers. This statement stands to clash with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (Mohun. 2013 . p. 303). The second amendment allows citizens to hold guns as part of their rights to self-defense, and other recreational use of guns such as hunting. The major problem in this case comes up due to the perception held by most people against gun control. To them radical gun regulatory requirements are not needed, the degree of change is too insignificant to have rules such as increased minimum age in terms of gun ownership age to be implemented
In order to understand the relationship between gun prohibitions and rates of crimes a statistical analysis had to be done. The statistical data used for this study are derived from regions that have employed stringer gun restrictions but have achieved different results. This phenomenon will help shade more light to how server gun control measures change respective areas in the study
Opposers of gun control argue that Most research have shown it is hard to point at such places where homicide has fallen due to restricted gun ownership, from Chicago to Washington D.C. (Lott. 2010 p 5) or even island countries such as England, Wales, or Ireland . For an example of homicide proportions before and after gun prohibitions, take the case of the handgun sanction in England and Wales in 1997. After the ban, evidently, homicide rates bounce around for some time, however, 2010 was the only year where the homicide cases were lower than the years before the ban was instituted (Gold. 2004 P.14). Furthermore, the immediate outcome was about a 50 percent higher in terms of homicide rates. Further studies show that the homicide rate only began falling as a result of an increase in the sum of police officers throughout 2003 and 2004 (Roberts, and Innes. 2009).
Figure1: the graphical representation of homicide rates in England before and after the ban.
On the other hand, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, and Finland, all countries employed a heavy gun ownership act, and consequently posted low homicide rates in the early 2000s related to developed countries with less stringent gun laws. In 2002, for example, Germany’s homicide rate was one-ninth compared to that of Luxembourg, where the law forbids civilian possession of handguns and hence ownership is rare (Gold. 2004 p .14).
Analysis from Statistical Review
As seen from the statistical data shown the main reason gun disputes are so difficult to settle, notwithstanding from the strong outlooks involved, is that the figures involved in researching relationships between gun laws, gun ownership, gun crime and non-gun crime are often mixed, murky, misreported and difficult to compare (Phillips, and Maume. 2007). This means it is hard to know if a reduction in the number of guns means crimes are easily prevented. It does give the impression that high gun-ownership cases does not suggest high rates of violent offenses, and that stringent gun controls measures do not reduce homicide rates across the board
Stringer regulations do not mean that gun enthusiast should give up their gun ownership privileges, however, they are set to reduce the chances of lunatic citizens owning guns (Kleck. 2009). On the morning of April 20, 1999, two high school scholars named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold arrived at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in possession of four guns and about thirty homemade grenades (M. R., Wells, and Cavanaugh. 2012). In this case, the two assailants used an eighteen-year-old girl who was legally capable buying a gun to in getting high-powered assault weapons and bought another weapon at a gun show (Burgason, Thomas, and Berthelot. 2014). Stringent laws on individual’s age, and the kinds of weapons they buy could have helped with the situation at Columbine High School (True, and Utter. 2007 p. 216-241)
Even though Jared Lee Loughner had no earlier criminal record to preclude him from purchasing a handgun, he exhibited many signs of being psychologically troubled. The same could be alleged for accused theater gunslinger James Eagan Holmes, Eduardo Sencion and Norway massacre culprit Anders Behring. Though behavioral profiling is in some fields in human, but if such cases were taken into keen consideration some of these acts would have been prevented (Makarios, and Pratt. 2012).
When President Clinton passed his accord on assault weapons, his administration did not give a clear view on what kinds of weapons were being prohibited. To this day semi-automatic and automatic high power machine guns and rifles are on sale at gun shows and gun shops. As seen from Queensland, Australia authorities did not have a complete ban on guns, they however had a buy back agreement on high powered machine guns and laid a stringent ban on acquiring such weapons. In this case the move by the authority was not based on reducing crime, but making sure such powerful weapons were not in the hand of the public. The same measures can be taken in the United States where about 45 percent of the household populations own guns and about 75 percent of that figure have more than one gun (Krantz, and Smith.2011 p. 46). The number of guns can be reduced from the U.S public through buy back agreements making sure that the public, though servants of a Free State as stipulated by the second amendment have fewer weapons than law enforcement.
The government or state officials can open target area in their regions that can give training to inexperienced or willing gun owners and provide a certificate on verification before an individual walks into a gun shop and gets’ armed. This will reduce the level of firearm distribution and reduce accidental shooting cases (Payne, and Gainey. 2008).
In conclusion, gun control issues have been in existence for decades, and all parties hold their views on how to move forward with the agenda. The only clear comprehension in this complex issue is that the vicious crimes overall do not increase with the availability of guns, however, there is no question that guns are associated with a particularly brutal brand of crime. Removing guns from the equation might not stop violence altogether, but it might prevent a case as that of Christopher.
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