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Does Gun Control Actually Reduce Violence?

Arthur Dellea is a freelance PC expert who enjoys adventures with his wife and children, playing drums at church, and investigative writing.


The Right to Bear Arms

Living my whole life in the rural northeastern United States, I've always supported the right to bear arms. Even though I don't own a single gun myself, I feel that hunters and people concerned about self-defense have the right to own firearms, as long as they are properly trained, responsible, level-headed individuals. I also believed that firearm ownership is what has kept our country free.

Times Have Changed, So Has My Mind

Things have changed considerably in recent years as we've been hearing about gun violence almost every day, even in local media. Then I stumbled across an article by Mark Tooley, the president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and editor of IRD’s foreign policy and national security journal, Providence:

"Sometimes, gun owners can build comradery through gun clubs or hunting with friends. And some gun owners have legitimate concerns about self-defense and defending their families. But for others, zealous hobbies can focus their practitioners inward rather than toward others.

Today’s major examples include online games and social media, which inhibit genuine friendships, create self-absorption, and substitute fantasy for reality. Like any hobby, gun obsessions, even if not overtly troubling, can become self-absorbed preoccupations."


Second Thoughts?

I never realized how hypocritical it was of me to be supportive of the right to bear arms when there's been so much gun violence in my own family. There were three separate suicides in my family, and the guns were owned by relatives who were legal gunowners with firearms safety training and who retained ownership of them primarily for self-defense.

In fact, in one of these instances, my relative shot her husband and daughter before taking her own life.

I assume that growing up around a number of close and distant gunowner relatives is probably what swayed my own support in that direction. As for me, I've only shot pistols or rifles a few times with family when I was young so I didn't have fear of them. I was taught how to practice shoot with close, experienced supervision, so risk was minimal.

Many of my friends in school took firearms safety courses and often hunted with their fathers, friends, etc. However, in my mid-teens. I decided that firearms were not for me so I never took a course or owned a pistol or rifle.

This is mainly because I learned in those years that I had a hot temper, one that I sometimes don't have control over, so I knew I didn't fit the profile of a responsible gunowner. To this day I don't want guns in my house for this very reason.

Guns Are Not Violent

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes "violence" as "the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy," with the definition also mentioning "outrage, fervor, discordance."

As an adult I wouldn't consider myself a violent person as I keep myself far more in check than I did when I was a teenager. Whether someone is severely depressed, extremely violent or anything in-between, it's likely that there are many gunowners out there who shouldn't be gunowners because they lack self-control over said extreme personality defects.

We may be able to control and limit those who wish to own guns legally, but we have no control whatsoever over illegal gunowners, despite any laws that are in place.


The Weapon Doesn't Matter

What we need to consider is "violence control" instead of "gun control," but how do we control violent people who don't have the capacity to control themselves? People have been hurting and killing each other all throughout human history long before guns were ever invented; even Cain killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4 of the Bible.

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If someone is going to violently hurt someone else, their weapon of choice is relatively a moot point: It doesn't matter whether they use a gun, knife, bomb, sword, sledgehammer, chainsaw or an icepick (a game of Clue anyone?), the fact of someone being critically injured or killed by another who is unstable is the real problem.

Gun Control or Violence Control?

Consider this: every human being has the capability to kill another person with their own bare hands under the "right" circumstances, without the need of any weapon whatsoever. Gun control only affects those who legally own guns, it has no hold over any illegal gunowner whatsoever.

Even if gun control is considered 100% effective, what's to stop people from maiming or killing each other with other weapons, or other ways?

Is Therapy the Answer?

According to this article in Healthline, therapy is the answer:

"In most cases, aggressive behavior happens for a reason. Identifying the main causes of aggression can make it easier to avoid potentially triggering situations, which can certainly make a difference. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t avoid every possible trigger.

That’s why taking steps to directly change your behavior may do more to help prevent aggression in the future. A therapist can teach strategies to better manage your emotions and maintain control, which can lead to more helpful and productive communication."

But does this mean that everyone with violent and aggressive tendencies needs therapy, and if so, how could you possibly administer therapy to such a vast number of people, especially without imposing on their own freedom and human rights?

How Can We Minimalize Gun Violence?

We cannot penalize all stable, law-abiding gunowners for the atrocities that have been committed by a percentage of legal gunowners who suffer from violent and aggressive tendencies. We also cannot truly control illegal gunowners in any way, since they could always find ways to smuggle illegal guns.

And controlling guns themselves doesn't prevent violent, aggressive people from lashing out in other ways. So maybe what we need to do collectively as a society is to limit the violent influences that contribute to aggressive behavior in people.

Reach out to a loved one if you see them in pain.

Reach out to a loved one if you see them in pain.

Be a Listening Ear

For friends and family who have exhibited signs of aggression, depression or other emotional extremes we can help them by doing the following:

  • Having positive, non-judgmental discussions about what's troubling them
  • Sharing experiences that lead to anger and aggressive behavior
  • Exploring trauma that might contribute to aggressive behavior
  • Finding new methods of coping with difficult or overwhelming emotions
  • Practicing alternate ways to navigate frustrating situations
  • Replacing aggressive communication with assertive communication

Spreading kindness and gentleness to help those that you know and love is infectious, it lightens peoples' hearts, gives them hope, and it may even help them to help others work through their trials and woes.

Limit What You Take In

By limiting what we watch, listen to and "take in," we can send a message to the negative influencers in our lives by:

  • Spending less time in social media, not sharing aggressive feelings, and keeping such thoughts more private
  • Abstaining from watching violent movies, series and reality TV shows
  • Not listening to or buying music that supports violent and aggressive behaviors
  • Not playing video games and computer games that are solely based on violence
  • Avoiding bullies, people who find abusive pleasure in violent and aggressive behaviors towards other people or animals

Doing these things would show the people around you that you don't support violent, aggressive behaviors. Collectively, if we all did these things together we would eventually send a message to the gaming and entertainment industries that violent content is no longer popular or acceptable in our society.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Arthur Dellea

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