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Research Paper: Gun Violence in the United States
14,648. The number of people killed by guns in 2018 alone. (gunviolencearchive.com) Guns are a problem and they do affect everyone. Studies show that about 44 percent of adults in America say they know someone that has been shot and approximately 5 percent claim that either themselves or someone in their family have been threatened by someone who has a gun. Every year, about 3 million children witness gun violence in addition to those numbers. These statistics are incredibly alarming, especially when considering the fact that those numbers mean that 109,038,120 American adults claim to know someone who has been shot, and 61,953,477 report that someone they know has been threatened by a gun.
Guns in the United States are a very controversial topic, the big question is: Should we or should we not allow guns to be kept privately in one’s home? There are pros and cons to both sides, but personally, I am very against individuals carrying guns, whether it be for “protective” purposes or with harmful intent, I believe that guns should not be privately owned. In America, gun violence is unintentionally promoted by selling things like Nerf Blasters and even water guns; both popular toys, and millions are sold every year, however this could lead to children thinking of shooting people as a game. Every day, young, impressionable kids play video games where killing other players is rewarded, whether it be with points, coins etc. I believe that by selling games like this, it is promoting the use of guns in our country and teaching children that it’s okay to shoot people, because they’ve been playing these games since they were very young.
Research has explained what would happen if all guns were to disappear, worldwide. The answer is simple: no gun deaths. Approximately 500,000 people around the world are killed by guns annually. Out of developed countries, the biggest losses would be in the US, where residents own 300 to 350 million guns in total. Here, gun homicide numbers are more than 25 times higher than the total rate of other high-income nations combined. This is just one example of the extensive research that has been done on gun violence in the United States, and the most prominent point of observation is how drastically the death rates would drop in the country. Gun violence is as high as it has ever been in the country, and the number of gun deaths annually are the highest they’ve been in 20 years. These numbers are so high because the production and sale of firearms in the United States has also skyrocketed.
Many pro-gun Americans claim that the incredible number of guns is due to the fact that so many guns are purchased illegally. This causes a massive disagreement between people who are in support of gun laws and those who are not. There is not much information on the illegally sold or smuggled guns, even though gun trafficking is a very serious problem. “More than half a million firearms are stolen each year in the United States and more than half of stolen firearms are handguns, many of which are subsequently sold illegally.” (lawcenter.giffords.org) As well as that, “An estimated 40% of the guns acquired in the U.S. annually come from unlicensed sellers who are not required by federal law to conduct background checks on gun purchasers.” (lawcenter.giffords.org) The simple solution to eliminating gun violence would be to take away people’s guns, but this is easier said than done, due to all of the illegally smuggled and purchased guns that are floating around the United States.
Another reason people are so pro-guns is the fact that they need them for self defense. This is because people are afraid. Fear makes people buy guns, and is also what makes people shoot aimlessly and call it “self defense”. Most people don’t have the chance to use their gun for self defense. However, every day they have an opportunity to use their gun in an inappropriate way. People open fire without thinking, whether it be because they are angry, scared or just because they can. Most instances where guns were used for self-defense are not reported, so there isn’t a record of the victims. They are not reported because if the assailant were to report the incident to the police, claiming it was for self-defense, authorities will undoubtedly look into the situation and can end up arresting and treating the shooter as a criminal until or if they are cleared.
There isn’t a way to eliminate gun violence in America completely, but there are many ways to at least reduce the numbers of lives lost to firearms in the United States. The first and most obvious preventative measure that we can take as Americans would be to enforce stricter gun laws. More thorough background checks, and working to make it harder for people to buy guns. We need to reduce easy access to dangerous weapons, and there is no reason for an average person to be able to purchase any type of military-grade weaponry. As a country, we also need to promote a gun-safe culture and in order to do that, we need to stop allowing youth and unstable individuals access to firearms with which they could end up harming themselves or other people. We also need to begin holding the gun industry accountable for the rising numbers of gun related deaths in America. There should also be mandatory gun training and licensing for owners, to promote responsible gun ownership and so that deadly weapons will stay out of the wrong hands, and also should enforce rules requiring safe and secure storage for guns. The gun dealers and owners who are already owning their firearms responsibly should help to find a solution for the worldwide gun problem.
Should we or should we not allow guns to be privately owned? While there are pros and cons to each side, the cons outweigh the pros. Therefore, I do not believe people should be able to own guns. There are many reasons why I feel the way I do about firearm ownership in the United States, especially with the current jurisdiction surrounding gun laws. I believe that if stricter and more current laws were enforced, America could have a better discussion regarding firearms.
- “America’s Gun Culture in 10 Charts.” BBC News, BBC, 27 Oct. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081.
- “Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence |, www.bradycampaign.org/gun-violence-0.
- “Gun Violence in America.” EverytownResearch.org, 1 Feb. 2019, everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-america/.
- “Gun Violence Must Stop. Here’s What We Can Do to Prevent More Deaths.” Prevention Institute, www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/preventing-violence-and-reducing-injury/preventing-violence-advocacy.
- Nuwer, Rachel. “Future – What If All Guns Disappeared?” BBC News, BBC, 18 Apr. 2018, www.bbc.com/future/story/20180417-what-would-happen-if-all-guns-disappeared.
- “Past Summary Ledgers.” Gun Violence Archive, www.gunviolencearchive.org/past-tolls.
- Pilkington, Ed. “Gun Deaths in US Rise to Highest Level in 20 Years, Data Shows.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Dec. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/13/us-gun-deaths-levels-cdc-2017.
- Raphelson, Samantha. “How Often Do People Use Guns In Self-Defense?” NPR, NPR, 13 Apr. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/04/13/602143823/how-often-do-people-use-guns-in-self-defense.
- “Should Guns Be Banned in America?” Debate.org, www.debate.org/opinions/should-guns-be-banned-in-america.
- “Statistics on Gun Trafficking & Private Sales.” Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 9 June 2016, lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-traffickingprivate-sales-statistics/.
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