The American culture is a gun culture, as by 2009 124 million people lived in homes that owned about 270 million guns (Lott 1). According to a study carried out by Lott, many people believed that owning guns had saved their lives from violent attacks. In the United States, only 30 people are killed accidentally using guns by private citizens who mistakenly believe the intruder is an attacker (Lott 2). However, the number by police officers is far much higher as they kill over 330 people on an annual basis. It is, however, notable that the media sometimes sells the wrong and biased image because of their sensationalism and exaggeration where the subject is concerned. Case in point, the media publicized a man from Dallas who was charged with using a concealed weapon that was permitted in a fatal shooting. After the publicity, though, it later became apparent that the person had been beaten severely, and in fear of losing, his life had fired the gun. While it is true that some media stories highlight the defensive use of guns, these are rare compared to the use of guns to do violent crime. The reporting of the defensive cases is even fewer because most times the handguns are only brandished, harming no one and these instances are hardly reported to the police. ‘I believe this underreporting of defensive gun use is large, and this has been confirmed by many people I encountered in my research. (Lott 2)’
On the other hand, the opposite also happens, and it is equally devastating. Case in point, thirteen-year-old Iran had just stepped out of the aunt’s car when a bullet suddenly struck him in his abdomen on October 7, 2002, (Gold 2). Although he survived the occurrence, the doctors removed his spleen and some part of his pancreases and stomach making him vulnerable to ill health in future. He was one of the 13 people who were hit by a sniper’s bullet in a three-week shooting spree that terrorized individuals who lived near the capital. The attackers had a deadly aim at people in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington as they pumped gas, shopped or even did other chores. In October 24th, Police arrested John Allen Mohammed and Boyd Malmo and the fear among the citizens then subsided. These two were accused not only of the 13 attacks but also to 8 others in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Washington. In all these, they killed 15 people and wounded six other people. The police findings showed that the bullets that had pierced the bodies of the victims had come from semi-automatic assault rifles that were in the suspects’ car. The police records made it illegal for both the parties to own rifles (Gold 9).
Further, it was noted that the existence of a ballistic- fingerprint record system that could help the police to track their killers should be installed. Under such a system of gun control, the manufacturers would be forced to fire bullets from each of the guns that they produced, save the bullet and the pattern made by the barrel. If such a method of gun control could have existed during the D.C incident, police might have arrested the shooters earlier and prevented some of the deaths. Gun control advocates stated that the background checks on all the gun sales should be done, as they would ensure that guns did not find their ways into the criminal’s hands (Carter 50). The control would also be vital because the investigation revealed that the rifle that the criminals used should only be reserved for the police and should never have been sold to anyone else. That is a vital measure that can only be accomplished by ensuring that there are gun control measures that all employed in the nation.
This incident clearly calls for gun control as guns in the hands of the wrong people can cause a lot of havoc. Some may just desire to harm people they have had grudges with and feign that they were being attacked. Similarly, others may want to use guns for fun as some people have confessed to having killed with guns just to see the reaction of the victim. These are the rate cases of the psychologically ill people who if gun control does not use stringent rules guns may end up harming people.
It is evident from both sides that when gun control does not exist, people use their guns for defensive purposes and they protect their lives from possible assaults. If the people attacked by the assailants in the gunshots had guns, the chances are that they would have defended themselves, scaring off the two men who were shooting them. It is also true that in many cases where unarmed people have been shot mercilessly by people who owned guns, arm possession would have neutralized the situation. However, it is also true that guns in the hands of the wrong people would only produce more harm, as most people would use them to settle personal grudges while others would not really know the serious attacks that warrant for gun use, making them use them anyhow. In turn, this would lead to unnecessary loss of life and the frequent fistfights would turn to gunfights among the immature.
In this regard, it is essential for people to own guns for personal security as it would allow them to use the defense when the need arises. However, it would be vital for them to get prior education and guidance on the factors that necessitate the use of guns. However, gun control remains very pertinent to ensure that the wrong people do not own guns, jeopardizing the lives of other innocent victims. If gun control rules subside, then terrorists will easily access guns of all kinds, and this will make mass shootings more common than they have been. Consequently, this would make the world a bloodier place and safety would hardly exist. The irony is that though the guns would be availed to people to raise their security, the issue would instead warrant more fear and uneasiness among the citizens, as they would walk around wondering who might harm them with their guns. It would be a really sad place with most people option to live in their houses rather than go out and work. This is because they would seek to protect their lives from attackers other than expose themselves to possible attacks. It is, therefore, best for gun control to exist whereby only the necessary guns are owned by citizens to protect the well-being of all.
Carter, Gregg L. Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print.
Gold, Susan D. Gun Control. New York: Benchmark Books, 2004. Print.
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Internet resource.