Is Gun Control the Answer?
Gun Control in Other Countries
Gun control and strong gun laws have been adopted in many modern countries, and the results of foreign gun laws can be assessed to see if the U.S. should implement similar laws. Let's look at the examples set by other countries and see if gun control can work.
Australia's National Firearms Agreement
Many gun control advocates in the U.S. look at Australia and the "success" Australians have had with their gun laws. Australia has not experienced a mass shooting since passing the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) in 1996. This bill banned all sales and importations of semi-automatic and automatic rifles, required all people to provide a good reason for buying a weapon before allowing a them to make a purchase, and also established a twenty-eight day waiting period for the sale of firearms. Since the passing of this bill, homicide rates in Australia have dramatically decreased. According to Crime Statistics Australia, only .3 incidents per 100,000 people involve guns.
However, it should be noted that Australia only has a population of about 24.3 million as of 2016. Compared to the U.S., Australia's population is minuscule. The U.S. currently has a population of about 323.1 million people. So if we do the math, if the U.S. experienced the same homicide rate as Australia, the homicide rate would be 3.9 homicides per 100,000 people. This would not be a huge decrease from the current U.S. homicide rate (according to the FBI). Statistics suggest that having a NFA of our own will not have huge impact on our homicide rate. This proves that it would be ineffective in America. So, does gun control work in Australia? Yes, but due to major population differences it is hard to use Australia as a comparison for the U.S.
Germany's Gun Laws
German gun control is described by the U.S. Library of Congress as "one of the most stringent in Europe." Germans do not have the fundamental right to own a gun and that legal barrier allows Germany's government to pass gun control laws easily. One of the first gun laws passed in Germany was the Firearms and Ammunition Act of 1928. This law came into effect during the Hitler regime when German politicians wanted to demilitarize the private militias left over from WWI. Many pro-gun activists in the U.S. use Germany as a good point of argument about what gun control can do to a country and its people. The Germans have passed and abolished multiple gun acts throughout the years, but the most recent one was passed in 2003. It introduced much stricter gun laws, and made it more difficult than ever to own and purchase a gun. Could this work for the U.S.?
Well, Germany's homicide rate was at .8 incidents per 100,000 people with a population of 82.67 million. If applied to the U.S. this would make the homicide rate 2.4 per 100,000 people, which is pretty low compared to the U.S.'s current rate of 6.8 per 100,000.
While the stats look good, similar gun laws in the U.S. are not plausible due to our right to bear arms and fear of an oppressive government like the one that haunted Germany in the early 20th century.
South Korean Firearms Access
South Korea is known for its low homicide rate and ability to prevent mass shootings from happening. All firearms are kept by the government at local police stations or by the military. All hunting or recreational firearms must be registered and kept at a police station. This type of behavior is extreme, and it does not allow citizens to have access to arms or weapons to defend themselves. The homicide rate is at .7 per 100,000 people in a country of 51.25 million people. If the U.S. had the same homicide rate per 51.25 million, the rate would be at 4.6 per 100,000 people. Once again, another country's firearms laws would not easily work for America based on the U.S. population. To get an accurate success rate when comparing countries, one must say they have the same population, which in turn provides more accurate percentages per 100,000 people.
United States of America
6.8 per 100,000
.3 per 100,000
.8 per 100,000
Republic of Korea
.7 per 100,000
So, What About Us?
Gun control in the U.S. seems like the only solution for many anti-gun activists, but in reality, a country this big would require a massive gun reform that keeps the second amendment intact and doesn't displease conservative Americans. In reality, this idea is unreachable on both sides of the political spectrum. Both conservatives and liberals must realize that guns are not going away. Therefore, Americans should focus on mental health and how to treat mentally unhealthy people as a means of preventing violence. We have to grow up in this country and learn how to resolve our issues effectively.
Closer examination of public schools and a more cooperative relationship between schools and law enforcement can prevent potential threats from manifesting. Instead of arguing about gun control, we must band together and learn how to prevent mass shootings and murders all together. A gun doesn't shoot itself. We should focus on the people who use guns to do harm, rather than place blame on the weapon itself.