The Need for Greater Gun Control
The Need for Greater Gun Control
Gun control has been one of the most controversial and the most debated issues in the country. This is despite the increased gun violence that has happened in the recent past. There have been many reported incidents of mass school shootings, gang violence in the streets, theaters, and other places. It is relatively easy for many Americans to acquire guns if they wish to do so. They can buy guns in shops and trade fairs. Many people have called for the control of guns. However, others have debated this based on constitutional grounds. They claim that the constitution makes provision for gun possession. Others consider the issue from a different perspective. They argue that possessing guns enhances their safety. They can be able to defend themselves in the case of an attack or prevent an attack or other acts of violence from happening if they have a gun. Based on the events in the recent past, many innocent people have lost their lives because others had possession of the weapons, and they chose to use the weapons wrongly. There is a need for the country to rethink its stand on gun possession and use by ensuring that there is control.
States can implement their laws on gun control, and they can implement legislation that is more severe than federal laws. States have taken measures such as mandatory reporting of theft of arms, mandatory licensing, record-keeping of firearm sales, and inspections. The states that have stricter gun laws have reduced homicide incidences. In addition, the requirement for dealer regulation is an effective way of reducing firearm homicide (Irvin et al., 2014; Fisher & Lieberman, 2013). In addition, research seeking the opinion of police chiefs indicated that most of them support gun control measures. They believed that it was important to ensure that civilians were not able to acquire handguns as easily as they do. This will make it harder for criminals to access the weapons as well. Such actions are an indication of the government’s need and desire to protect its people (Thompson et al., 2006). Guns in homes increase the risk of suicide by firearm (Fisher & Lieberman, 2013).
There is a need to ensure tougher gun laws and increased gun controls. The current laws only require background checks, and many such checks are often voluntary. Background checks would ensure that gun sellers are aware of the buyer’s criminal records. However, these checks are often not enough indications of gun violence. Some of the shootings could not have been avoided by checking criminal records because they were committed by young people without a criminal past. The inclusion of mental health issues is important in the background checks (Fisher & Lieberman, 2013). This will point out the number of people seeking psychological treatment. However, such measures will only work if the buyers have already sought some form of treatment.
Many people accused of gang violence do not have a history of mental problems (Fisher & Lieberman, 2013). Currently, in some of the places where guns are sold, people are only concerned with checking criminal past and mental health problems of the sellers. Many people resell their guns, and they do not take the time to investigate their buyers. They sell guns to their friends and associates. Others sell guns to anyone with the means, as a way of earning a quick income. This increases the number of guns in circulation. Many offenders prefer secondary gun purchases because this helps them to avoid any background checks. In addition, they are aware that the guns will not be traced to them since it can be passed to many people at a time (Lichtblau, 2016). The limitations of background checks covering criminal past and mental health problems, as well as the possibility of secondary purchases of guns, highlight the importance of having stricter gun control laws.
One of the ways of ensuring accountability and enhancing responsibility among the gun owners is to enforce penalties. There are already laws that require people to register their guns in many states across the nation. These laws need to be enforced to the latter. Everyone who buys a gun should be registered. All the details of the weapons should be recorded. This has become easier with modern technology. Gun collectors should also register their guns. This will lead to the creation of a comprehensive database, which will make tracing the weapons easier (Levush, 2013). If an unregistered user uses a weapon that is not assigned to him, then that person should face penalties. Gun owners should be keen in reporting any stolen weapons. There have been incidences of accidental gun shootings in the home, whereby young children have accessed their parents’ weapons, and they have fired accidentally. Parents and any other adults need to be aware of the importance of keeping their guns in a safe place. Any person who is issued with a gun should demonstrate that he is capable of using that weapon effectively. He or she should be willing to face the consequences if the weapon is used inappropriately. Enacting stricter gun control rules will help in preventing some of the gun incidences and accidents.
Stricter gun control laws are necessary because it is easy to obtain a weapon. Among the industrialized nations, America has the most guns in circulation. It also has one of the highest incidences of gun violence. Stricter laws will make it harder to obtain, sell, and resell weapons. Other developed countries have strict gun laws, and this has enabled them to reduce incidences of gun violence. These countries restrict the type of firearms, the quantity, and the ammunition by those with weapons. The European Union bans among other weapons, automatic firearms, firearms that are disguised as other objects, pistols, and revolvers with expanding projectiles, and ammunition with penetrating and explosive projectiles. Australia bans semiautomatic rifles and self-loading shotguns and rifles. Brazil defines the type of firearms accessible to civilians. Japan has banned all military weapons to civilians. Canada restricts most handguns and automatic weapons. Russia bans many types of firearms and cartridges among civilians. China limits and prohibits the manufacture and sale of imitation weapons. It also has strict control over the design of the weapons (Levush, 2013).
These countries have realized the importance of gun control. Most of them are free democratic countries, and they are not interested in infringing on the rights of their people. However, they recognize the consequences that can result from widespread availability and accessibility of the weapons. Their decision to enforce rules determining the type of firearms to be used, accessibility, and ammunition shows their interests in protecting the rights of the people and protecting innocent lives. In addition, most of these countries have central registries for their weapons. This has helped to enhance accountability among those who possess the weapons. The gun control measures have benefited these countries because many of them have realized a decrease in gun related violence and homicides. Brazil, Canada, and Australia have realized a reduction in homicides since they implemented their laws (Levush, 2013).
Most people claim that they have guns for self-defense reasons. However, guns in homes are rarely used for these purposes. People are unlikely to use guns to deter intruders in their homes. The presence of guns in a home is twelve times more likely to lead to death of a family member, visitor, or a person in the residence other than the intruder (Austin, 2014). In addition, intruders are more likely to use an owner’s weapon against him. In most of the cases, gun owners do not use their weapons to defend themselves when an intruder enters the home. Instead, intruders are more likely to possess the owner’s guns and use them in crimes (Donohue, 2015).
The main argument of gun possession on constitutional grounds is based on the second amendment, which states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ Supporters of gun possession believe that the second amendment gives them the right to keep and bear arms. Therefore, any measures to control guns and to implement gun laws are considered to be against the constitution. Many people who support this opinion consider gun ownership to be a fundamental American right. The US has only about 5% of the world’s population. However, it has about 35-50% of civilian owned guns. These statistics are startling, and they help to explain gun violence and homicide in the nation. It has the most firearms per capita and the highest homicide by firearm among the developed countries (Masters, 2016).
There is a need to
reduce the statistics of gun violence in the country. Many innocent people have
lost their lives because some were able to acquire guns and use them
irresponsibly. Mental health checks and criminal background checks are good but they are not enough. The people should
be more willing to emulate the examples set by other countries because they have managed to reduce gun violence when they
implemented severe gun laws.
Austin, W. M. (2014). We need stricter gun laws: Guns, rights, and innocent life. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201402/we-need-stricter-gun-laws
Donohue, J. (2015). Gun control: what we can learn from other advanced countries. Retrieved from http://europe.newsweek.com/gun-control-what-we-can-learn-other-advanced-countries-334081?rm=eu
Fisher, E. C., & Lieberman, A. J. (2013). Getting the facts straight about gun violence and mental illness: putting compassion before fear. Annals of Internal Medicine, 159(6), 423-424
Irvin, N., Rhodes, K., Cheney, R., & Wiebe, D. (2014). Evaluating the effect of state regulation of federally licensed firearm dealers on firearm homicide. American Journal of Public Health, 104(8), 1384-1386
Levush, R. (2013, Jan 20). Firearms-control legislation and policy: Comparative analysis. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/comparative.php
Lichtblau, E. (2016). Attorney general seeks funding for tighter gun rules. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/politics/attorney-general-seeks-funding-for-tighter-gun-rules.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FGun%20Control
Masters, J. (2016). U.S. gun policy: Global comparisons. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/society-and-culture/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons/p29735?cid=otr-partner_site-Atlantic-gun_control_BGR-010816
Thompson, A., Price, H. J., Dake, A. J., & Tatchell, T. (2006). Police chief’s perceptions of the regulation of firearms. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(4), 305-312