The American society is currently divided on the issue of gun control. There are debates regarding who should be allowed to own guns in the United States and the way guns should be acquired. The center of this debate is the constitution which allows citizens to arm themselves. The main issue of concern is the extent to which the government regulates ownership and acquisition of guns. Statistics indicate that from 1999 to 2013, there were 464,033 reported deaths in the United States (ProCon.org. par.1). Suicides accounted for 58.2% of the deaths and homicides 37.7%. Guns were attributed as the primary cause of homicides accounting for 66.6% of all homicides reported. Furthermore, it is estimated that on average, about 200 Americans are admitted to the emergency medical rooms as a result of gunshot wounds (ProCon.org par.3). Apart from statistics on gun violence, there are accounts from families that suffered and lost their loved ones from violence. It is vital to understand how guns affect the current society as well as what drives most people to own guns. Some scholars argue that homicide fantasy is the driving force for those who acquire guns for violence. Therefore, based on the increase in the number of gun-related violence over the recent past, it is essential for the relevant stakeholders to come up with legislation that will regulate acquisition and ownership of gun control.
Today, guns have become the essence of almost all violence in the United States. Crimes such as homicides to robbery and murder are likely to be committed using guns. The prevalence of gun use in such crimes depicts the scope of guns owned by unstable individuals who in the real sense should not be allowed to purchase or own a gun (ProCon.org par.4). The fact that individuals can acquire guns easily; it makes it easy for criminals to use them in committing various crimes. Although there are some regulations in place, it is clear that there is no enforcement to ensure the implementation. According to the Brady Bill of 1993, individuals are supposed to wait for up to seven days before they can take a gun from the gun shop (Golbin-Goodman par.1). However, it is important to note that the real setback is not the gun stores, but rather the black market where rifles mostly were stolen are sold to criminals who then use them on the streets. There is a need for urgent gun control measures that will ensure guns do not end in hands of unstable individuals. People with a history of psychological and mental health issues should not be allowed to purchase leave alone owning guns. The nature of their mind does not guarantee their ability to handle guns safely.
Gun control is not just an issue to be debated and ignored. Instead, it a severe problem that requires everyone’s attention based on the increase in the number of gun-related violence over the recent past. Catastrophes such as school shootings and an increase in street violence have made gun violence a center of national debate. However, as it seems, politics is taking over and soon the victims of gun violence in Newtown, Connecticut, and other locations. Most of the victims are young and innocent (Yan et al. par.5). It is estimated that more than 10,000 people lose their lives in the United States as a result of rifle assault (Dickson par.7). In fact, American citizens are likely to die from gun violence than any other cause of death. Controlling ownership of handguns and semi-automatic rifles helps to limit the number of new gun owners thereby minimizing chances of guns landing on the streets (Golbin-Goodman par.4). As a result, gun control will help minimize the number of gun violence committed on streets and within communities. Schools have been affected most by gun violence. In May 2018, the Santa Fe High school shooting marked the twenty-second gun violence witnessed in schools this year alone.
Those against gun control argue that the main reason they acquire guns is that they use them for hunting. Therefore, hunting being part of their life, they believe individuals should be allowed to own as many guns as possible. Nonetheless, most of the weapons possessed by these ‘hunters’ are semi-automatic and assault rifles that are much deadly in case they land in the hands of a criminal. Majority of the assault rifles owned by people are not used in hunting. It then raises questions when individuals claim that they use their semi-automatic weapons for sports hunting. In essence, semi-automatic weapons are not meant for hunting. The assault rifles and semi-automatic guns are the murder weapons used by criminals in most gun-related violence. Such weapons should be regulated, and ownership is made exclusively for the law enforcers. Those who like sports hunting should settle for handguns (Sorens par.1).
Individuals and groups such as gun lobbyists oppose gun control based on the Second Amendment that permits citizens to own rifles from their safety as well as other personal reasons such as hunting. However, it is essential for people to realize that the Amendment was passed at a moment in the American history when civilians did not have confidence in the government’s protection. In the twenty-first century, individuals have resolved to amerce several reasons for no apparent reasons. Even those leaving in neighborhoods that experience less violence still own guns. It would be wise for the current administration and other stakeholders to review the details of the second amendment because it seems people are violating that privilege by being irresponsible with the guns (Sorens par.2). Over the past decade, there has been an increase in incidences of police officers being shot by civilians. Therefore, gun control should be put in place and the details of the Second Amendment reviewed.
To conclude, there is an urgent need for the national and state governments to impose gun control measures to help save more lives. It is a contentious but necessary decision that legislatures should be willing to make to prevent future occurrence of gun violence in schools as well as streets. The move will not just regulate access to assault rifles, but it will help minimize cases of mass shootings that have been prevalent in the recent years. There is a need for law enforcement agencies such as the police to enhance their operations and protect the citizens. Americans should also trust the law enforcement agencies to ensure the success of the gun control initiative. The fact that people can acquire guns easily makes it easy for criminals to use them in committing various crimes and cause pain to innocent civilians. Although there are some regulations in place, there is a need for reviews and enforcement of new measures that will regulate the number and type of guns to be owned by civilians.
- Dickson Amy. “Mothers against guns”. Time, 7 May, 2000 content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,44537,00.html
- Golbin-Goodman, Sylvia. “We Need Sensible Gun Legislation Now.” The Andrew Goodman Foundation, 28 Feb., 2018 andrewgoodman.org/news-list/need-sensible-gun-legislation-now
- ProCon.org. 2018. “Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?” https://guncontrol.procon.org
- Sorens, Jason. “What’s wrong with gun control? The same thing that’s wrong with immigration restrictions”. Learn Liberty, learnliberty.org/blog/whats-wrong-with-gun-control-thesame-thing-thats-wrong-with-immigration-restrictions
- Yan, Holly. Park, Madison., and Simon, Darran. “Las Vegas shooting: Bodycam footage shows first response.” CNN, 7 Oct., 2017 edition.cnn.com/2017/10/03/us/las-vegas-shooting-investigation/index.html