Gun control has sparked heated debates in recent times. The debates question the rights of Americans to own firearms including rifles, shotguns, and handguns. On one hand, we have people who say gun control is in order and on the other hand, some think that firearms should be banned altogether (Spitzer, 2015). Both sides do have strong points to support their opinions, and this often results in confusion among many citizens of the United States. Be that as it may, gun control is necessary to reduce suicides, murders and accidental deaths thus making the nation a safer place.
Gun control has remained a controversial topic that has persisted for decades in the United States as well as different other regions of the world. In the United States, there are tragic mass shootings year after year. The shocking level of gun-related violence in the country has shown that there need to be urgent actions to ensure that guns are always in the right hands. It is important to look at some statistics related to gun violence in order to understand the importance of gun control in the United States. According to Richardson and Hemenway (2011), the homicide rates in the United States are twelve times higher than those in any other developed nation with stricter gun control laws. Most European countries have stricter gun control laws than the United States, and this shows why these nations have much lower homicide rates and other gun related crimes (Richardson & Hemenway, 2011). Indeed, the gun control laws in the United States should follow the European in style. This includes licensing gun owners and registering the firearms, ensuring that the firearms are stored securely and in a safe place, a comprehensive exam to ascertain that a gun owner applicant knows of the practical knowledge on how to use a gun and gun safety. Also, there should be comprehensive background checks to ensure that gun owners have no mental illness or any criminal record.
The first reason why gun control is necessary is that it allows guns to be in the right hands. Otherwise, anyone, including criminals, would be in possession of firearms. If stricter gun control laws are made, then more lives would be saved. Not only should the gun control laws advocate for standard background checks, but also medical backgrounds checks to be carried out before allowing a person to own a firearm (Johnson, 2008). These controls ensure that only the right people are in possession of firearms. If there are no controls on who can own a firearm, then everyone is at risk from the events that might happen unacceptably. The school shootings that have been witnessed in recent times are among such events. Indeed, if anyone is allowed to own a gun, then the safety and security of citizens may be compromised.
Another reason for supporting gun control is the prevention of the mass shootings that have been experienced in the country in recent times. One of the most infamous shootings in the United States soil was at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. This incidence occurred on December 14, 2012, where Adam Lanza, who was twenty years, shot and killed six adults and twenty children before shooting himself (CNN Library, 2017). Apart from this incident, there are also other notorious mass shooting incidences that have occurred in the U.S. One of this incident is the killing of thirty-two people a Virginia Tech in 2007. Another incident is the killing of twelve people and injury of an additional fifty-eight at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 (CNN Library, 2017). Regardless of where mass shootings occur, it cannot be denied that they are heinous acts. Additionally, even if blame is put on the person in possession of a firearm nothing will change unless there are strict regulations to control gun ownership.
The final reason why gun control is necessary is the issue of safety. It is unsafe for anyone, trained or not, to walk around with a firearm at all times. In recent ties, there have been several incidents where guns were accidentally fired and resulted in serious problems. Additionally, on the issue of safety, the findings of a recent study showed that guns at home were more likely to be used in suicide attempts, homicides or involved in accidental shooting rather than being used for self-defense (Leenaars, 2007). The findings also show that for every one time that a gun in a home was used for self-defense or other legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults, and eleven attempted or completed suicides. Indeed, having guns at home can lead to injuries and deaths among other serious problems. Apart from these incidences happening at home, the presence of guns at home can also result in consequential events in other places such as schools (Leenaars, 2007). There have been several cases where teenagers have taken the gun from home and took it to school and eventually shooting schoolmates. Clearly, having strict gun control laws and ensuring that firearms are in the right hands will decrease the accidents ad risks from problems that are avoidable.
The biggest reason against gun control is that it will be taking the rights of sportspersons, hunters, and legitimate gun owners to bear arms. Also, some other people claim that criminals will still be able to bypass the gun control laws and restrictions like they have previously done. When considering the first reason, people who are against gun control should know that it does not imply that guns should be banned but is rather a question of how the right balance of government regulations will ensure that guns do not get into the hands of the mentally ill, felons, and criminals. This can be done by closing the loopholes that allow people to own guns without having the necessary background and medical checks, not knowing efficient ways of securely and safely storing guns, and lack of adequate knowledge on the practical usage of guns. On the second reason, people should understand that gun control may not completely stop criminal activities, but it will result in a significant reduction of the number of armed psychopaths and criminals. In turn, this would save lives of people who might have otherwise be the victims of the criminals.
In conclusion, the United States needs to have stricter gun control laws so as to ensure the safety of all people. Gun control does not mean that firearms will be banned, but rather restrictions will be put on their ownership to allow for prevention of horrific events as witnessed in the past. Added restrictions such as comprehensive background checks and psychological evaluations will provide reinforced assurance that people who are mentally disturbed will not be able to own any type of firearm. In turn, this will reduce, or even completely eliminate further gun-related tragedies from occurring.
CNN Library. (2017). Deadliest Mass Shootings in US History Fast Facts. CNN. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/16/us/20-deadliest-mass-shootings-in-u-s-history-fast-facts/
Johnson, N. J. (2008). Imagining Gun Control in America: Understanding the Remainder Problem.
Leenaars, A. A. (2007). Gun-control legislation and the impact on suicide. Crisis, 28(S1), 50-57.
Richardson, E. G., & Hemenway, D. (2011). Homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm fatality: comparing the United States with other high-income countries, 2003. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 70(1), 238-243.
Spitzer, R. J. (2015). Politics of gun control. Routledge.
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