In the United States, guns represent a sacred emblem especially in regard to the attainment of Independence from the Great Britain. Guns are also crucial in the provision of security by the government through various agencies such as the secret service and the FBI among others. However, the recent mass shootings have led to the emergence of the gun-control debate in the United States. The emergence of the gun violence has resulted in the death and harming of individuals and groups which is against the US stand on citizen’s rights. The US constitution stipulates that every citizen has an inherent right to life and the state has the right to safeguard and protect such rights. The scholarly work below undertakes to establish facts in regard to gun control in the United States.
Over the years, guns have been attributed to the increased mortality rate especially among individuals below 18 years. It is estimated that approximately 32,000 people die from gunshot wounds annually in the United States. According to a research conducted in 2017, an estimated 340,000 misdemeanor crimes were committed with guns (Rossi and Peter 87). Also, at least 75000 individuals were treated in the hospital department for fatal gun-shot wounds (Rossi and Peter 88). Based on the above facts, the gun control proponents opine that gun use should be controlled and the current statutory provisions reviewed to remedy the detrimental effects of the guns.
Compared to other wealthy jurisdiction, the homicide rate in the US is seven times higher than 25 other high income states (Rossi and Peter 88). The high homicide rate is attributed to the prevalence in gun ownership in the US and the less restrictiveness of the statutes on gun use and ownership. Specifically, the firearm homicide in the US is estimated to be 20 times more compared to other high income states (Rossi and Peter 88).. Consequently, the human rights groups and pressure group continue to advocate for the enactment of more restrictive laws.
A research was conducted by Russo et al. in regard to the right to carry a gun in 57 cities in the Unites States (566). The aim of the research was to establish the effects of the right to carry on the increased rates of homicide. Some of the states had the provision of issuing a gun to persons who met the set grounds and conditions that are based on substantive grounds while the rest had the right to decline even issuing a gun even to qualified persons on subjective grounds. The research indicated that the later has reduced homicide rates by approximately 30% (Russo et al. 569). Also, the research also found that the gun violence would be reduced if the personnel issuing the guns were given discretion to conduct an objective preliminary objective before issuing or declining to issue a gun license to an individual.
Felson et al. randomly selected 50,000 individuals in at with almost equal representation of all the US states for a face-to-face interview (85). The objective of the study was to establish how fast it is to find a gun in their cities. The data obtained was later used for comparison with the rate of gun violence. The conclusion was gun violence increased with the availability of the guns. In addition, gun prevalence did not deter crime as most scholars against gun control would opine (Felson et al. 82). The research also found out that other social factors such as unemployment, neighborhood, population density, unemployment, alcoholism among other factors were associated with increased gun violence.
Another study conducted by Hartley and Robert revealed 1983-2001, the US produced approximately 77 million firearms and only less that 170,000 were exported (112). Consequently, the remainder was sold locally. Hartley and Robert opine that if gun scarcity lowers gun violence and crime rates, then the gun violence should have been at the highest during this period (113). Instead, the data in regard to the death by fire arms remained at 70% (Hartley and Robert 113). Subsequently, scarcity of guns is not related to gun violence.
The gun control debate has led to the emergence of two arguments in bid to justifying the control or against the control. First, Human rights are fundamental and the US government has the responsibility to protect and guarantee. Hence, the increased gun violence should be quickly and effectively solved. The major attribute to the increased gun violence are the legislations that are said to be less restrictive. Review of the legislations to ensure that possession of guns by the citizens is regulated by ensuring only few deserving individuals are given the licenses. Second, the use of guns by the licensed citizens should be outlined. Severe punishment should be provided through amendment of gun control statutes to deter gun owners from abusing the guns. Homicides even if committed by minors who the law regards that they cannot form mens rea should be severely punishment (Donohue and John 16). Punishment will create a precedent that unlawful use of a licensed gun is a crime and subsequently deter people from engaging in actions that undermine the security of others.
In addition, illegal gun trade has been cited as a major source of the guns used as crime weapons. Majority of the guns especially those used by citizens from Black neighborhood are from the black market. The guns are mostly used for criminal activities rather than for protection of one’s life and property. Consequently, gun control is critical so as to ensure that the circulation of illegal guns is reduced and as a result reduce the rate of gun violence and crime.
Scholars against the gun control opine that guns are necessary weapon for an individual protecting their life and property. In the recent times, terrorist activities have led to the death and destruction of property among other detrimental impacts. The 911 terrorist attack in the US claimed lives and lead to the destruction of property (Donohue and John 22). Cognizant of this fact, the proponents of this school of thought assert that it is therefore prudent for citizens to be provided with fire arms. In addition, they aver that human beings are rational beings and consequently will use the guns for the intended purposes. Though the argument has several defects, it is important that the state guarantees the right to life even if it’s through providing citizens with licensed fire arms.
In conclusion, gun control is important, first to guarantee the right to life of every American citizen. Second, deter people from misusing licensed guns and lastly to control the black market. At the same time, licensing citizens to own guns and failing to control them is necessary so as to ensure protection of life and property. Though antagonistic, the two schools of thoughts should be harmonized to provide for solution that will ensure individual interests are preserved as well as societal interests leading to a peaceful and united America.
Rossi, Peter H. Armed and considered dangerous: A survey of felons and their firearms. Routledge, 2017: 80-104.
Russo, Antonella, et al. “Genomic instability: Crossing pathways at the origin of structural and numerical chromosome changes.” Environmental and molecular mutagenesis 56.7 (2015): 563-580.
Felson, Richard B., Mark T. Berg, and Meghan L. Rogers. “Bring a gun to a gunfight: Armed adversaries and violence across nations.” Social science research 47 (2014): 79-90.
Hartley, Robert E. The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois: Paul Powell, Clyde L. Choate, John H. Stelle. SIU Press, 2016: 90-120.
Donohue, John J. “4 Gun Control Steps US Needs Now.” (2016): 15-30.