Gun Control Advantages and Disadvantages
Gun control issues
In this article we shall be taking a look at the major advantages and disadvantages of gun control. But before we start with that, let us first take some time to understand exactly what gun control refers to.
Gun control is a term which refers to the laws that regulate the sale and ownership of firearms. In certain places in the world such as in the United Kingdom, there are strict laws that limit the possession of firearms, whereas in other places such as in the United States, there aren't strict laws that limit the possession of firearms. This means that it is easier for the average person in the United States to get access to a firearm than it is for a person in the United Kingdom.
Firearm possession has always been a very controversial issue in many parts of the world – especially in the United States where there is always a fierce debate between opponents and proponents of gun control. One group thinks that every citizen should have the right to possess a firearm whereas the other group thinks it is totally wrong for citizens to possess firearms. This debate has been ongoing for decades, and from all indications, it is going to carry on for more decades to come.
Let us now take a look at the arguments put forward by proponents and opponents of gun control. In doing that, we are basically taking a look at the pros and cons of gun control.
Advantages of gun control
These are the strongest points given by proponents of gun control that support their stance that widespread gun ownership is a dangerous thing:
- Easy access to guns leads to more violent crimes: It is common knowledge that the majority of violent crimes committed all over the world are done with the aid of firearms. It is therefore apparent that making it very difficult for people to have access to firearms will play a significant role in reducing violent crimes. Countries that have very tight gun control laws such as the United Kingdom have significantly less violent crimes than countries such as the United States where guns are easily accessible. The tendency of a crime becoming very violent is higher when a gun is involved than when a gun isn’t involved. This is one of the biggest reasons why proponents of gun control keep fighting day and night for tougher gun control laws.
- More gun control reduces suicide rates: According to proponents of stricter gun control laws, suicide rates can be reduced if stricter gun control laws are passed. Over the years, several studies have shown that in the United States, more people commit suicide with guns than with all other methods put together. According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC), in 2010 alone, as many as 19,392 people killed themselves with guns whereas 11,078 killed themselves with all other means combined. Experts say that while guns are not the most common method used by people attempting suicide, they end up being the most lethal, which is why they cause far more suicides than all other things combined. In order to see the significant role gun plays in suicide, let’s take a look at the case of Austria. The suicide rates in that country by the use of firearms drastically reduced in 1997 when very strict gun control laws that restricted gun ownership were passed.
- Widespread gun ownership easily makes guns fall into the wrong hands: The easier it is for citizens to have access to guns, the easier it becomes for all sorts of people to have access to guns and use them. There are certain people who should never have access to guns because they can cause mass casualties by merely holding a gun. Some examples of these people include the following: mentally unstable people, criminals, terrorists, school children who get bullied in school, etc. Most mass shootings that have over the years occurred in the United States came as a result of some of the people mentioned above having access to guns and using them. A good example was the case of the recent mass shooting (terrorist attack) in San Bernardino, California where an Islamic terrorist couple shot and killed 14 people and left 21 others injured. Now, these terrorists wouldn’t have been able to cause that degree of mass casualties if they didn’t have access to guns.
- Restrictive gun control laws reduce homicide rates in the country: According to gun control proponents, countries with very restrictive gun control laws do not have as many homicide rates as countries that do not have these laws. For example, in the United Kingdom, where getting a license for a gun is one of the most difficult things to achieve if you are not a farmer, a policeman or a soldier, the homicide rate is massively lower than that of the United States where it is so easy for an ordinary civilian to lay his or her hands on a gun. When one compares the homicide rate in the United States verses that of the United Kingdom, it is easy to understand why restrictive gun control laws are needed. If gun control laws are working effectively in preventing a lot of homicides in the United Kingdom, it goes without saying that it could also do the same in a place like the United States.
- Guns in the home increase the likelihood of someone in the house dying a violent death: The likelihood of a woman getting killed by her partner is massively increased if a gun exists during a domestic fight. It is worth noting that about 35% of men and 12% of women in the United States currently own guns.
The above rank high amongst some of the strongest reasons why proponents of gun control insist that restrictive gun control laws are needed in order to prevent the dangers associated with the widespread gun ownership in any society. According to these people, the more it becomes difficult for civilians to have access to guns, the safer society is going to be.
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Disadvantages of gun control
Of course opponents of gun control totally disagree with all the arguments put forward by the proponents. According to the opponents of gun control, it is every citizen’s right to bear arms and that society would be better off with unrestricted gun rights. These are the arguments they put forward in support of their case:
- Citizens have the rights to bear arms: According to gun rights activists in the United States, citizens have the rights to bear arms for self-defense. This right which can be found in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: “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”. According to opponents of gun control, preventing citizens from being able to bear arms through restrictive gun control laws not only infringes upon their right to bear arms as stated in the constitution but also prevents them from being able to defend themselves when the need arises. Even the U.S. Supreme Court supports the right the American citizen has to bear arms.
- Banning people from being able to purchase guns legally will put criminals in business: One of the strongest arguments against restricting gun ownership is the fact that when it becomes impossible for civilians to legally purchase guns, this can easily end up creating a black market where guns will be traded illegally just like certain harmful contraband hard drugs, thereby increasing organized crime. In order to prevent this from happening, guns should not be totally banned. Law abiding citizens should be able to purchase guns whenever they want.
- Gun control laws do not prevent criminals from getting access to guns and using them to commit violent crimes: Criminals will still commit violent crimes whether tighter gun control laws exist or not. A good example in support of this statement is the case of Mexico where very strict gun control laws currently exist. Despite Mexico’s strict laws restricting gun ownership, there is a high rate of violent crimes in that country. For example, in 2012 alone, Mexico recorded approximately 11,309 homicides which involved the use of guns. In that same year, the United States (a country with no strict gun control laws) recorded 9,146 homicides which involved the use of guns. What this means is that guns don't kill people but it is rather bad people that kill people. If a criminal is bent on committing a violent crime, he or she will always find a way of obtaining a gun regardless of the laws restricting gun ownership. Some criminals are even capable of manufacturing their own guns.
- Violent crimes reduce with more citizens having access to guns: According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), it is not true that keeping guns out of the hands of people makes society safer. They say violent crimes actually reduce when more law-abiding citizens possess weapons. In support of this statement, the NRA stated that studies showed that in 2010 in the United States, the homicide rate fell by 52%. According to them, in that same year, violent crime rate in the United States also fell by an astonishing 48%. The reason they attributed to the massive fall in both the homicide rate and crime rate in the United States was due to the fact that more and more law-abiding Americans owned guns.
- Banning civilians from being able to legally purchase guns makes government too powerful: According to opponents of gun control laws, laws that prevent ordinary citizens from owning guns can end up easily giving too much power to the government, thereby increasing the likelihood of governments ruling the people with tyranny. According to the NRA, the rights of citizens to bear arms found in The Second Amendment is also meant to prevent people from living under the rule of a tyrannical government by giving ordinary people the chance to stop a tyrant government.
These are some of the strongest arguments often raised by gun rights activists and supporters. According to them, restricting gun ownership is never the best for the people.