Gun control is a controversial issue that raises emotions and strong arguments between the two opposing sides. Over the last two decades, the United States government has implemented several gun control measures to reduce annual gun-related deaths. Despite the implementation of gun control measures such as access prevention for children, right-to-carry laws, and stand-your-ground policies, the United States continues to report tens of thousands of firearm-related deaths yearly. The effectiveness and practicality of gun restriction measures to minimize firearm-related deaths have been questioned. The best way to effectively mitigate the issue of gun violence is instead for the government to spend much effort and time implementing gun control laws. The government should close the loopholes in the law that allow the government to sell guns and other weapons to criminals. Despite the argument that restrictions are needed, it is important to understand that gun control policies are not the best way to deal with the problems of gun violence.
Gun control legislation is a highly contested issue in many countries across the world. Various parties and shareholders continue to have opposing viewpoints on gun restrictions. Abolitionists believe that the Second Amendment protects citizens’ right to possess firearms, making such prohibitions illegal (Ausman & Faria, 2019). On the other hand, gun control proponents say such regulations help take guns from gang members’ hands, lowering gun crime. The United States Constitution allows citizens to possess firearms as an individual right. However, guns are used by those with bad intentions of killing and causing violence to attack others, including children. Gun control laws do not lower crime or the number of violent crimes committed with firearms.
Gun control legislation does not reduce the deaths caused by gun violence. Gun-related murders are rising in the United States and other countries, such as Australia and Europe, despite existing regulations restricting gun ownership. Weapons are responsible for an estimated 39,000 deaths in the United States annually (Schell et al., 2020). A significant rise in gun violence in the United States has also been attributed to stricter gun control and regulation laws. Gun violence includes homicide, violent crimes, attempted suicide, murder and manslaughter. In 2015, there were over 85,000 injuries caused by firearms in the US, while in 2016, there were around 38,000 (Livingston et al., 2019). This number shows the increase in rates of gun violence. In the context of gun control, the term refers to government policies, rules, and laws that limit or regulate the availability of guns and ownership. While gun control laws in some wealthy countries, such as the United States, are harsh and divisive, in others, it is a contentious political issue, with advocates claiming it is required for public safety and opponents arguing that it infringes individual liberties.
Firearm-related injuries kill more people in the United States than car accidents. According to the figures, more than 38,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2017 (Schell et al., 2020). Gun control legislation is designed to reduce the number of individuals killed by weapons or gun violence. Gun restriction legislation fails to reduce gun-related crimes and deaths. Australian killings and murders committed with firearms climbed by 7.98 percent between 2017 and 2018 (Schell et al., 2020). Approximately 60% of all deaths in the United States involving firearms occurred due to self-inflicted wounds in 2019 (Schell et al., 2020). Weapons killed over 14,800 people in the United States in 2019. More than 70% of all homicides in the United States in 2017 were committed with a firearm (Gramlich, 2022). According to these statistics, gun prohibition policies are ineffective at preventing or significantly reducing firearm-related fatalities and crimes. Regulating gun ownership is unsuccessful as firearm-related deaths continue to rise each year.
Implementing gun regulations may be an excellent action to take in the call to reduce gun violence, homicides, and mass shootings. However, an additional criterion must be considered when crafting and enforcing gun legislation. When the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed 18000 criminals in 2001, they found that less than one percent of the weapons used in crimes were purchased at gun shows (Rosanna and Terry, 2021). Additionally, repeat offenders are less likely to purchase firearms from a retail stores than first-time offenders.
Gun control legislation aims to keep people safe from the dangers of gun violence. It is proven that it has been a fruitless endeavor so far. A significant discrepancy and departure have been found in the research on the subject. A rise in gun violence in the United States during the last few decades includes numerous shootings in public locations, including churches, malls, and public schools. Between 2000 and 2013, there was a 16 percent increase in mass shootings and active gunfire at crowds (Rosanna and Terry, 2021). According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States will have 513 people involved in active mass shootings by 2020 (Silva & Greene-Colozzi, 2021). In light of the tragic shootings at schools, malls, and places of worship, many doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of gun control laws in lowering crime in the United States. As a result of the data provided, gun control regulations could not stop the shooters from obtaining firearms and killing innocent citizens. It continues to show that strict gun control not only harms law-abiding persons’ capacity to protect themselves against criminals but also does not ensure a decrease in firearms-related violence.
The severity and risk of gun crimes are not dependent on the number of gun owners in a certain location. According to Verrecchia et al. (2021), there is no correlation between the number and severity of crimes in a given area and the number of people who own handguns. Another study by Ausman & Faria (2019) showed that mass shootings in the United States are less common than in countries like Norway, Belgium, France, and Finland despite many Americans owning firearms. Those who provide information about cases of gun violence may misrepresent details to wrongly indicate that gun violence deaths are low in regions with high numbers of gun owners.
Law-abiding citizens with access to firearms are less likely to engage in violent crime. Those who use firearms for self-defense account for more than 2.5 million guns per year and is likely to limit criminals’ use of firearms for offensive purposes. Defensive firearm use in the United States has saved 25 and 75 lives for every gun-related fatality (Schell et al., 2020). Instead of focusing on the critical aspects of violent gun crimes, the media tends to minimize the massive success of law-abiding citizens in discouraging criminals from committing crimes that involve guns. Gun control measures can reduce suicide-related gun violence but cannot reduce total gun violence. As a result, even though gun control is necessary, it is not the answer to societal crime. Thirty-five tourists were murdered in a Tasmanian resort in 1996 by a maniacal Australian. Following the shooting, the government enacted strict gun control measures, banned firearms, and confiscated over 640000 firearms from law-abiding citizens (Livingston et al., 2019). Due to this policy, armed attacks on law-abiding civilians have skyrocketed, especially in rural areas and small towns.
There have been several arguments by proponents of gun control, such as the idea that strict policies are helpful in the protection of citizens. They argue that guns are unnecessary tools as we live in a peaceful world and citizens always get attacked by criminals despite owning guns that are purported to be used to protect them against home invasions, muggings, terrorism, and mass shootings. While these arguments are raised, they are not valid because gun control policies cannot reduce gun violence.
The arguments raised by gun control proponents are not true because the rates have continued to increase regardless of the policies implemented. In addition, from the findings of this research, gun control has not been beneficial in reducing the number of gun violence and deaths related to firearms (Ausman & Faria, 2019). Consequently, armed citizens are guaranteed protection against tyranny. Law-abiding citizens have benefited from possessing guns, and implementing strict gun control laws puts citizens at risk. Criminals generally do not follow laws; hence, the only people who end up abiding by the gun policies are gun owners who are not in crime, resulting in them lacking self-defense measures in case of attacks.
In conclusion, stricter gun ownership restrictions make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend their homes and loved ones from criminals and can also spike local crime rates. There is no reduction in gun violence in a community, even if strict gun ownership and use laws are implemented. These efforts should not be made to weaken people’s rights but to prevent criminals from possessing guns. The government should consider closing the loopholes that enable criminals to acquire guns and work more on crime prevention.
Ausman, J. I., & Faria, M. A. (2019). Is gun control really about people control? Surgical Neurology International, 10.
Livingston, M. D., Rossheim, M. E., & Hall, K. S. (2019). A descriptive analysis of school and school shooter characteristics and the severity of school shootings in the United States, 1999–2018. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64(6), 797-799.
Rosanna Smart and Terry L. Schell (2021), “Mass Shootings in the United States,” in Rajeev Ramchand and Jessica Saunders, (Eds)., Contemporary Issues in Gun Policy: Essays from the RAND Gun Policy in America Project, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-A243-2, pp. 1–25. 2021.
Schell, T. L., Cefalu, M., Griffin, B. A., Smart, R., & Morral, A. R. (2020). Changes in firearm mortality following the implementation of state laws regulating firearm access and use. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(26), 14906-14910.
Silva, J. R., & Greene-Colozzi, E. A. (2021). An exploratory study of failed mass shootings in America. Security Journal, 1-33.
Verrecchia, P. J., Bush, M. D., & Hendrix, N. (2021). Is there a relationship between fear of crime and attitudes toward gun control?. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 23(3), 264-277.