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Gun control entails the enforcement of laws or measures for restricting access, possession, or use of firearms. However, with a significant uptick in gun-related crimes such as mass shootings over the past few decades, many people support the fight to ensure that more serious and strict gun regulations are put in place (Husak, 2019). For instance, in the US, gun control has recently become a heated and controversial topic. The United States, by august 2020, had 120.5 guns per 100 people which translates to about 393,347,000 guns forming the highest total and per capita across the world (Procon.org, 2020). Other countries like Germany and Australia usually abide by strict gun control laws and regulations, while in certain countries where gun control is seen as very controversial, mostly those who perceive it necessary to possess any type of firearm for their safety. Therefore, those in support of gun control assert that limiting or completely prohibiting possession of firearms will substantially reduce gun-related crimes. At the same time, those opposed believe that it will prevent citizens from self-defense against armed criminals (De Gannes, 2019). Gun control is important because it helps lower gun-related crimes and decreases domestic violence cases. On the contrary, it does not help in deterring crimes and contributes to the infringement of the right to own arms.
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Pros of gun control
Lowers gun-related crimes
Gun control laws and regulations are essential since they can help significantly reduce gun-related deaths, injuries, and crimes. Firearms are considered the leading cause of most deaths by suicides and homicides. Since the legal purchase of firearms is greatly associated with increased violent deaths, implementing control laws and federal universal background on firearm holders could significantly reduce gun-related deaths (Kantack & Paschall, 2020). Gun licensing and strict gun laws have significantly decreased gun-related suicides and murders. Thus, gun control is necessary because it will help save lives and will help cut down on gun-related deaths by a substantial margin.
Reduce cases of domestic violence
Gun control laws would be essential in protecting women from domestic violence and stalkers who pose great dangers to their safety. For instance, in the US, five gun-related murders are reported daily. Women are at higher risk of being killed whenever a gun is present during domestic disputes (McMillan & Bernstein, 2022). It is estimated that about 76% of women murdered and 85% who survived murder attempts were by intimate partners and were stalked before being murdered or the attempt made (McMillan & Bernstein, 2022). Across the world, domestic violence is and remains a serious challenge, and the presence of firearms often means a tragic fate for many women. Therefore, limiting or regulating access, possession, availability, and use of firearms would greatly help prevent this problem from carrying on and significantly save thousands of women worldwide (Lynch et al., 2018). Guns also play a major role in many other crimes, such as drug-related crimes. Therefore it is important to have laws in place to regulate the use of firearms.
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Cons of gun control laws
Gun control do not deter crimes
Clearly, gun control laws are not the solution to deter crimes; instead, gun ownership is an effective way to deter crimes. For instance, a ban on assault weapons does not impact murder rates, and countries with restrictions on possessing concealed weapons reported higher gun-related crimes such as murder, suicides, and homicides. On the contrary, increased gun ownership led to a decrease in murder rates. States with the highest increase in gun ownership have experienced massive drops in violent crimes. Most gun owners always cite protection as the main reason for owning firearms (Semenza et al., 2022). Therefore, gun control laws are not the solution since they do not stop criminals from breaking the laws. Thus, gun control measures do not impact mass shooting rates and other crimes, and these regulations do not reduce the total number of gun-related crimes.
Individual rights and firearms
The major debate about gun control laws is that they limit the freedom to own guns of all stripes. For instance, in America, the right to possess guns has been part of American culture for many years. Hence, the idea of denying such a right is perceived as the gravest injustice. Most people believe that the right to own firearms is absolute, meaning there should not be any limitations on the right to own firearms (De Gannes, 2019). Consequently, most gun owners own those guns merely for hunting, target or sport shooting, and self-defense. Therefore, gun control laws and regulations only mean infringement of the right to own firearms.
Gun control is necessary because it helps reduce gun-related crimes and cases of domestic violence, among other advantages. Thus, there is a need to enact gun control laws and regulations to that effect so that it becomes possible to regulate and manage various criminal activities emanating from gun ownership. On the other hand, gun control laws are not the solutions to gun-related crimes. Instead, laws infringe on the right to own guns and do not necessarily deter crimes; rather, gun ownership does. Therefore, there is a need to develop measures that are essential in ensuring that gun ownership does not always translate to crime. With proper policies in place, gun control is an important idea that requires concerted efforts to help realize its benefits to society and significantly deter criminal activities.
- De Gannes, T. (2019). Crosshairs and Crossroads: A Logistic Regression Analysis of the Predictors of Gun Control (Doctoral dissertation, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology).
- Husak, D. (2019). Why Gun Control is So Hard. Criminal Justice Ethics, 38(1), 55-64.
- Kantack, B. R., & Paschall, C. E. (2020). Does “politicizing” gun violence increase support for gun control? Experimental evidence from the Las Vegas shooting. Social Science Quarterly, 101(2), 893-908.
- Lynch, K. R., Logan, T. K., & Jackson, D. B. (2018). “People will bury their guns before they surrender them”: implementing domestic violence gun control in rural, appalachian versus urban communities. Rural sociology, 83(2), 315-346.
- McMillan, J., & Bernstein, M. (2022). Beyond Gun Control: Mapping Gun Violence Prevention Logics. Sociological Perspectives, 65(1), 177-195.
- Procon.org. (2020, July 8). Pros & Cons – ProCon.org. Gun Control. https://gun-control.procon.org/
- Semenza, D. C., Griffiths, E., Xu, J., & Stansfield, R. (2022). Firearm Dealers and Local Gun Violence: A Street Network Analysis of Shootings and Concentrated Disadvantage in Atlanta. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 00224278221077626.