Statistics and history of Gun Control

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In 2008, the FBI reported there were roughly 16,272 murders committed in the United States. Of these, about 10,886 or 67% were committed with firearms ("2008 Report: Crime in the United States, Expanded Homicide Data"). Today, despite the fact that a large number of people are murdered by guns, the usage of them is still becoming more popular in the United States. With this many lives being lost, it really makes people wonder whether the gun control laws need to be stricter. Since using firearms has both positive and negative effects, gun control has become a controversial issue for years. For every reason each side has, the opposing side will find an equal but opposite point for that belief. While some people believe that strictly enforcing the laws of gun control would quickly reduce the threat of crime, others say that guns protect their lives and it is their rights to possess and carry guns. The second amendment of the United States Constitution states that people have the right to keep and use firearms for self-defense against criminals. However, when people are able to carry guns with them and guns are kept at home or sold in public stores, the purpose of using firearms is not as simple as for people's protection. Therefore, the use of firearms should be strictly limited to eschew guns from criminals. Guns are made mostly to kill people and the possession of firearms has increased the rate of murder in the United States. Understanding the arguments of anti-gun side will help people understand why gun regulation is needed in order to make life more peaceful.

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One of the most common reasons that make American people buy guns is for self-defense. Under the laws of the Constitution, people have the right to own guns for defend themselves from criminals as well as the threat of tyranny. Unfortunately, buying a gun for this purpose usually ends up hurting the very people who were supposed to be defended by it. The reason is not everyone knows how to operate guns properly or can stay calm while facing criminals. Getting firearms for self-defense is also a major argument of the debate over gun control. However, according to Francis Hoey's statistics, using guns for self-defense is often ineffective, and people who use guns to defend themselves are 8 times more likely to be killed than those who do not (79). In essence, the chance of success when using firearms to defend against criminals is very low. This happens because the victims, who are the innocent people, rarely or never use firearms so they are not familiar with guns, or they simply cannot shoot at a human. In the meantime while they try to load the guns, they could already be harmed by the criminals. However, if the victims did not have any weapons, instead of fighting back, they could get away and call for help. In other words, when facing criminals, victims are likely harmed if they try to defend themselves. Another study has shown that "a firearm in the home is 43 times more likely to be used for suicide or a murder than self-defense" (Rosen 50). This is understandable since criminals are not present everywhere or any time; hence, guns stored for self-defense purpose would be misuse for other violent purposes, which is contrary with the idea of the second amendment. From here, we can see that the main purpose of owing firearms is no longer valid. The purpose to which guns are used as described in the Constitution is outweighed by the purpose to which they are used for violent acts. Therefore, this apparent misuse of firearms provides reason for the gun control laws to be regulated.

Another problem of guns is they increase the rate of gun-related crimes in the United States. Due to the right given by the Constitution, possession of firearms is getting more popular. Consequently, this increases the amount of firearms among the civilians. Therefore, chances of criminals using guns to commit crimes are high. It is believed that if the right to keep and bear arms had been limited, the number of deaths by guns would have decreased. According to Gary Rosen, more than 80 Americans, including about 12 children, continue to die every day due to gun-related incidents (50). Furthermore, in 2007, "32,436 Americans were killed with firearms. In comparison, 33,651 Americans were killed in the Korean war, and 58,148 Americans were killed in the Vietnam war" (Rosen 50). By looking at the statistics, we can easily get the idea why gun regulation is needed. All of these numbers tell that even the people who do not use guns are also killed by guns, including children. This happens because the gun control laws are not strictly limited which makes criminals can easily gain access to guns and commit crimes. In other word, gun control today does not reduce the crime rates. In focus, Gary Rosen states, "The more accessibility to guns you have, the higher the rates of gun-related death and injury" (50). This seems to be true because the number of gun-related deaths is proportional to number of guns are present, which the gun control laws today are aiming to. Based on evidences above, we can infer that the fewer number of guns are possessed, the lower chances of using them.

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People's emotions also cause misuse of firearms. Sometimes people can accidentally commit crimes with guns when they are angry or in a rage with someone else. Due to the exposure to violence from TV or video games, some people have aggressive behaviors. Therefore when they are angry, they will probably use guns to solve problems. In addition, alcohol beverages and drugs also play a great role in the misuse of firearms. Under the influence of alcohol, people are unconscious of what they do. Operating guns in drunken condition is not so different from drunk driving. A great misuse of firearms is people use them to commit suicide. Due to hopelessness and depression, some people try to end their lives with guns. According to Julian S. Hatcher, Frank J. Jury, and Jac Weller in Firearms Investigation, Identification, and Evidence, if guns are not available, people would not easily commit suicide. They write, "The chance of suicide if no firearm is present is relatively remote" (Hatcher, 284). Committing suicide with guns is quick and easy. Therefore, people who take pills or hang themselves over to commit suicide may have chances to think more before they decide to end their lives. The danger of gun possession is foreseeable if the person who uses gun is not serious-minded.

Keeping guns at home can also cause many unpredictable accidents, especially for children. Gun supporters claim that they keep guns in their homes to defend against thieves and criminals. However, those people have not realized about the risk that guns can easily get into the hands of children, which is greatly dangerous. Misuse of firearms by children who are unaware of the potential danger can lead to serious gun-related accidents. For example, in 2000, a six-year-old boy brought a loaded hand gun, which his dad stored at home, to his elementary school in Michigan and shot a six-year-old girl who is his classmate (Rosenblatt). In this case, the man who left the loaded gun at home was castigated for the death. Here, the young boy might not have understood the concept of death. However, he was able to shoot his classmate whom he did not like because he could easily gain access to the gun. Children seem to be curious and interested in guns. The proof is that we can easily notice that young boys like to play with gun toys and play violent video games. These things make children become more violent and have aggressive behaviors. Therefore, playing with a real gun is unavoidable if guns are available in children's homes. Moreover, not only are the guns dangerous to children, but the ammunitions are as well. Throwing bullets into fireplaces or hitting them with hard objects will cause explosion which will seriously hurt children. Young children are unpredictable and they are unconscious of the dangerous effects on themselves or their friends. So the possession of firearms is a threat of children's safety.

However, some people believe that regulating gun control laws would not decrease the rate of gun crimes. Gun-supporters believe that it is not simple to own a gun. They say that guns are not sold freely without conditions. There are requirements for people to buy guns such as background checks and licenses. Also, all transactions about buying and selling guns are kept track by the police. In addition, gun-supporters argue that even if guns are banned, murderers and criminals still find a way through the illegal black markets to arm themselves. Jacob G. Hornberger states, "Murderers do not obey restrictions on gun possession, contrary to the long-repeated suggestion of the gun-control crowd - that if we simply enact such restrictions into law, murderers will comply with them." That is, no matter how gun control laws are strict, criminals can still buy guns through the illegal black markets. In other words, people who use guns to commit crimes will also break laws to buy guns. Furthermore, if guns are outlawed, only criminals and murderers have guns. The argument of gun-supporters also means that the innocent people who possess guns do not use guns to commit crimes. Gun-related crimes happen because people who use guns are murderers and criminals. In focus, the idea here is criminals indeed will still try to harm people no matter how guns are banned.

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On the contrary, what many people do not realize is that the stricter the laws, the fewer the existence of firearms. Today, the conditions required to buy guns just restrict the people who purchase the guns, not the ones who shoot. We all know that when guns are purchased from the stores, anyone can use guns without any background checks or licenses. That is why keeping guns at home are dangerous to children. Moreover, in the black markers, the risk of being caught of producing, selling, and buying firearms is very high. According to an internet article, "Getting arrested, fined, having property confiscated, or going to jail are all risks of engaging in illegal gun production. This increased risk will cause the supply of guns to fall and the price to rise." ("The Case Against Gun Control"). With all these risks, it is not easy for criminals and murderers to buy guns through these black markets. In addition, with the increase in gun prices, the number of guns purchased by criminals would decrease. Hence, criminals and murderers have less chance of possessing firearms. Moreover, if more gun control laws are enforced on gun ownerships, common criminals like thieves or robbers would have less chance to buy guns. Consequently, the rate of gun-related deaths will decrease. Therefore, it is lucid to say that more gun control laws are needed in order to prevent criminals from having firearms.

Despite the fact that many gun-supporters claim that guns are needed for self-defense, there are many other ways to protect ourselves without having guns. As discussed above, people rarely use guns to fight with criminals. Not every people can be ready to shoot someone else in defense for themselves or others. In his book about gun control, Gary Kleck states, "Despite this stated willingness of gun owners to shoot under certain circumstances, most defensive uses of guns do not in fact involve shooting anyone." That is, even though people keep guns in their houses, they do not have chance to use guns or they simply cannot shoot at people. Therefore, it is not necessary to possess guns when there are still other ways for self-protection. Also according to Gary Kleck, some other ways to protect ourselves without guns are "locking doors, having neighbors watch one's house, or avoidance behaviors such as not going out at night…, maintaining a dog, paying a security guard, buying a burglar alarm system, or relocating one's residence to an area with less crime." With today's technologies, people can have their house wired with alarm systems, which will automatically alert the police or the owners if someone breaks into their houses. Neighborhood watch is also an effective way of security. People in this kind of community will watch for the suspicious activities around the neighborhood at different times to ensure the safety in the community. In focus, people do not need to use firearms in defense for themselves or others.

In general, arguments about the usage of guns and gun control laws in society will continue for a long period of time. However, based on problems stated above, gun control laws should be regulated in order to decrease the rate of gun-related deaths in the United States. The reason for which guns are unnecessary is people are misusing the main purpose of guns possession. Furthermore, for self-defense, people store guns at their homes, which is greatly dangerous to children and unconscious people. The situation would worsen when people try to end their lives with the guns which are supposed to use for self-protection. Instead of using guns for security purpose, people can install alarm systems in their houses or participate in neighborhood watch programs. Some people argue that guns are just the tools and they do not kill people, but people kill people. However, guns are very dangerous and are used in many criminal activities. In other words, the negative effects of guns outweigh the benefits. Therefore, we can see understand that guns create an insecure environment. If gun control laws are well regulated, gun-related deaths would decrease, children would live in a better environment without guns, and the country has less violence.