Gun Control Policy
Gun control issue haselicited different opinions across theUnited Sates over the years. Several incidents of mass killings committed by gunmen in civilian environments have been reported throughout the United States history. For instance, in 2012, 20 schoolchildren were brutally killed by ayoung man in Newton Ct., an occurrence that triggered a national debate over the gun issuance laws and initial pleas by the Obama government to restrict issuing of military-like assault firearms. The United States has more of her citizens owning the guns than any other country in the world (Jowit, Juliette et al., 1).
The recent shooting incidences have triggered the need to compare the US gun control policy with policies of the other countries around the world. For example, countries that have encountered the similar brutal killing incidences have taken massive steps towards controlling the ownership of the guns and have prohibited the possession of assault weapons (Jowit, Juliette et al., 1). As a result, statistics prove that the incidences of mass fatalities in these countries have reduced significantly in comparison to the US.
If the citizens are allowed to access the guns more easily, the rate of crimes will go up. Most of the crimes committed worldwide are conducted using guns. It is, therefore, imperative to make access to the guns more difficult to reduce the crime incidences in the United States. Countries with stringent gun regulation laws have experienced considerably fewer violent crimes in comparison to the countries such as the United States where firearms are easily acquired. The likelihood of a crime becoming extremely violent is higher when an arm is used than when there is no gun involved(Jowit, Juliette et al., 1). So the gun control policy should be fully implemented as well as theformulation of others laws that will make the entire process of gun control even more strict.
The gun control laws can reduce the rate of suicides. According to supporters of stringent gun regulation laws, the rate of suicide can be reduced with strict gun regulation laws. For a long time, several studies have proved that most of the people committing suicide use guns more than all the others methods combined. Data from the Harvard Injury Control Research confirm that approximately 19,392 individuals committed suicide using guns whereas about 11,078 persons killed themselves using all the other methods combined (Richard, 1).
The gun control policy prevents guns from falling into the wrong hands. This policy makes it hard for all kinds of people to access the firearms. Some people should never be allowed even to touch a gun because they can cause mass killings by just holding an arm. Mentally ill individuals, terrorists, people with a criminal record and the students who are bullied in schools are some of the examples of people who should not access a gun (Richard, 1). Most of the mass casualties that have occurred in the United Statesover the years have resulted from one of these categories of people having access to firearms and using them.
First, most human rights activists have on several occasions stated that citizens are allowed by the law to possess some form of self-defense. The right to bear a firearm is contained in the second amendment of United States constitution (Spitzer, 27). Also, most states allow possession of ahandgun for self-defense. On the other hand, gun control policy denies the citizens of states a chance to a gun. This does violate not only their right to bear an arm but also jeopardize their security. Even United States Supreme Courthason several occasions defended the right to own firearms.
Second, in the event citizens fails to acquire the firearms legally, they will try to get them using illegal means such as thecreation of black market just like some banned hard drugs find their way to people. Creation of illegal trade will lead to increased organized crime gangs. To prevent this, thegovernment should not prohibit ownership of the guns completely. Instead, it should formulate a law that allows the citizens to buy the firearms whenever it is necessary.
Third, the National Rifle Association (NRA) indicates that the rates of both homicides and crime incidences have decreased as the number of the US citizens owning legal guns increases. According to NRA statistics, in 2010 the homicide rate fell by a tremendous 58% (Lott, 35). The same data indicate a massive 48% decrease in the rate of crimes in the same year.
The main players in the gun control policy include Federal and State government. According to theFederallaw, not all people have permission to own firearms. As stated in the federal gun regulation laws, anyone who falls under the following class cannot own a firearm: The mentally ill; individuals with particular criminal records; drug addicts; veterans who were dismissed from the army with a disreputable discharge; illegal immigrant; individuals with permanent restrictive order deterring them from a spouse or spouse’s children. These are just examples of people restricted from owning the gun (Richard, 1).
Federal laws also require that all the gun dealers to obtain a license and that they do not fall under any of the above-mentioned categories. The laws also state that the gun dealers perform a background check using the database owned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI to investigate whether the customer is in the list of the people whose law restrict from owning a gun.
The gun regulation is also implemented at State level with states such as California, Maryland, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and Massachusetts being among the most restrictive. Unlike at Federal level, the systems to investigate the background of an individual in some states are highly stringent. For instance, in some states purchasing a private gun in places such as gun shows require a thorough check.
In addition, some states require one to have a license or permit of gun ownership whereas others do not. Laws on how to carry a gun vary from state to state (Richard, 1). Some states have allowed individuals with legal guns to carry them openly in public regardless of possession of a permit or license. In other states, guns should not be exposed to the public unless one has a concealment license.
Main Areas of Disagreement
One of the main areas of disagreement is whether the background checks are sufficient to determine if a customer is eligible to acquire a gun. The policy requires a check on the background of the customer (Richard, 1). This may lead to a false description of the customer since not all cases find their way into the FBI database. Hence some of the individuals with the criminal records may end up owning a gun. Sometimes, it is this gun in the wrongs hands that commit some of the shootings witnessed in United State (Richard, 1). On the other hand, some people contend that thorough scrutiny of the customer could be aviolation of the privacy of an individual.
Other people argue that the law that allows issuance of guns to only mentally fit persons is highly porous (Metzl and Kenneth, 8). This is because it restricts ownership of the gun by a person whose court or any other authority has declared mentally defective. However, most people living with mental illness do not receive such verdict and in some instances those who receive petition the court to have the ruling reversed. Studies have shown many killings to be committed by people known to have serious mental issues, yet they were licensed gun holders (Richard, 1). So this policy creates a notion that everyone receiving a gun is the right person or is fit to use it deterring the government from coming up with the most effective ways of preventing gun killings.
I believe in control of gun ownership because it will reduce the number of guns owned by civilians and hence reduce the rate of shootings, homicides and violent crimes. However, the gun control should be even stricter, and constitution clauses such as those allowing possession of guns by civilians should be amended. United States constitution gives the citizens a right to own a gun for self-defense, but the same gun can be used for other purposes.
In future, it is possible to find people carrying guns to the wrong places such as Movie Theater, classes, and even churches. You can imagine sitting in a place where people around you are carrying fully loaded guns. Of course, such environments would be intimidating, and you may not perform your tasks calmly. This may seemimpossible, but with constitution allowing citizens to acquire guns so easily, it is a possibility in future.
The main aim of the law is to protect the civilians. Hence, it would not make sense if the same law endangers the lives of the same people. Guns are not made to kill animals but people, therefore, theconstitution should not allow people to possess such a deadly weapon. I would suggest that government abolish ownership of the guns by civilians completely because countries such as Canada where civilians have no right to own a gun the rate of violent crimes, deadly fatalities and homicides is much lower than that of United States.
Jowit, Juliette et al. “So, America, This Is How Other Countries Do Gun Control”. the Guardian. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Metzl, Jonathan M., and Kenneth T. MacLeish. “Mental illness, mass shootings, and the politics of American firearms.” Journal Information 105.2 (2015).
Pérez-Peña, Richard. “Gun Control Explained”. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Spitzer, Robert J. Politics of gun control. Routledge, 2015.