Guns: Privilege of Danger?

on July 14 at 02:37 PM

The gun control debate has become the center of social discussion in the US since the recent incident of the mass shooting in a locality by a civilian gunman. In 2012, four people were wounded (one of them critically) in the shootings in USC Campus on Halloween party (“USC Halloween Shooting Wounds Several People&rdquo. Despite the fact that the police quickly responded to the situation, it remains dangerous since quick response does not prevent the same tragedy in the future. In December of the same year, in the elementary school of Connecticut, a man loaded with two semiautomatic guns killed twenty children. These shocking incidents caused a massive stir at the international level leading to a long-lasting debate over gun control in the United States (Ghobashy & Barrett). Gun ownership in the US far surpasses other countries, which makes the US rank first in firearms per capita in the world (“11 Facts about guns&rdquo. Such high gun ownership has played an important role in increasing gun violence, crime rates, homicides, and suicides in the US. Many studies, surveys, and official reports have confirmed that though gun control cannot curb overall violence rate, it is an effective solution to reducing gun violence rate in the country. Studies have analyzed the effectiveness of gun control and the necessity of stronger laws for reducing gun violence in the US. Statistics and scholarly reports have shown that the impact of gun control policies on gun violence has been effective.

Correlation between Guns and Gun Violence

Statistics says that in the USA, there was a causality of more than 161,000 cases due to gun-violence in 1985. The main argument for opposing the firearm permit is the direct correlation between the number of people carrying guns and the gun violence. For example, the majority of deaths, i.e. fifty-five percent, were suicides, while thirty-seven percent were homicides, and eight percent were fatal gun encounters (Kleck). Reports suggest that African-American males die almost four times more often due to gun violence as compared to white males. What is terrifying is that the highest rate of gun violence is among the 15-24 year olds. Thus, it means that young people commit the majority of gun crimes, which is the direct consequence of free gun carriage (“Guns, Violence, and Gun Control&rdquo. To add more, reports of Public Health Organization in 2006 found that the rate of suicides with the use of guns in the US lowered remarkably as the rate of domestic gun ownership lowered as well. It is a clear proof of interconnectivity between the gun-availability and the threat of suicide attempts. Besides, a study by Mark Dugan shows a positive change in homicide rate with the decreased gun ownership in the society (McElwee). Thus, the conclusion is rather simple: the more people carry guns in the U.S. the higher the gun crime and suicide rates are; their correlation is obvious.

Correlation between High Levels of Gun Violence and Weak Gun Laws

Many factors significantly influence the rate of gun violence in any society. In the US, though the federal law governs few aspects of firearm regulations such as licensing and monitoring of certain categories of firearm ownership, most of the policies related to gun laws and regulations are created by each state. As a result, different states have different approaches to gun control, gun sales, licensing, and gun carrying laws. Recently, the Center for American Progress studied gun ownership laws in 50 states and observed the impact of the adopted laws and policies on each state’s crime rate (Gerney, Parsons, and Posner). The report suggested that the gun laws and gun violence outcomes are directly proportional to each other. The rate of gun violence is significant in the states with the weak gun policies, while the states with strong gun policies possess the lower gun violence rates. According to this report, the states with weaker gun laws such as Mississippi, Arizona, and South Dakota hold the highest numbers of gun violence cases in the US. On the other hand, the states with stronger gun laws such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California have the lowest numbers of gun violence. Such facts strengthen the necessity of a strong gun control policy in order to curb the growing rates of gun violence in the US (Gerney, Parsons, and Posner).

Moreover, at an international level, nations such as England, India, Australia, Canada, and Norway have implemented strict and effective gun control policies, which have caused the significant decline in the rates of gun violence in these countries. In comparison with the United States, the rate of homicide per 1000,000 people is very low in these countries. The episodes of mass shooting are evident in the European countries too; however, unlike the United States, most of the European countries have adopted strict gun control laws and policies resulting into the lower gun violence rates in the European societies (Squires).

Correlation between Gun Violence and Mental Health

Mental health is one of the serious issues in the United States. According to the reports of the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 26 percent of adults in the US are diagnosed with some type of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, PTSD, and depression. These patients often pose danger to people around them. The reports of Mayors Against Illegal Guns have emphasized the fact that in ten cases of mass shootings, the shooter had mental illness. In 40 of the incidents, the shooter committed suicide after the killings. The lack of a proper medical treatment and care facilities for the patients with mental disorders is the serious issue in the country. Even though some of the offenders undergo screening after a crime, some kind of loss is already endured (Kee).

Besides psychological disorders, violent video games and media contents stimulate disturbing violent behavior among the users. Various reports and studies have regularly warned about the threat of the growing violent nature among the adults and youth who are constantly exposed to brutality and violence via video games, movies, news, and television. The numerous psychological researches and theories acknowledge the short-term and long-term consequences of media violence to a person. The psychological theories suggest that the regular exposure to the media violence triggers a certain type of aggressive nature in people; the sensitivity for the pain and suffering of others become less evident among such people; also, the risk of developing various psychological disorders among them is much higher, which further may trigger criminal behavoir in them (Huesmann 7-11).

Many opponents of gun control deny a relation between guns and crime. In the latest article called “Gun Control 2013: Guns and Crime is a False Correlation”, one of the leading opponents, Zach Fulkerson, criticized gun control by providing statistics from the research work of Dr. John Lott. However, in 2005, the National Research Council, including experts like James Q. Wilson, Charles Wellford, Joel Waldfogel, Steven Levitt, and Joel Horowitz, presented a well researched report that concluded that the data and facts given in Lott’s research were not reliable and had numerous flaws. Although gun control laws may not be efficient enough to curb overall crimes, it can effectively restrain crimes related to the use of guns. Guns and gun violence go hand in hand, and various facts and figures have convincingly proved it (McElwee).

What is more, the opponents of gun control say that with a firearm permit, people would be able to protect themselves. The fact is that declining of the right to bear arms will violate the right to self-defense as enshrined in the U.S. laws. The offender usually attacks someone who seems weaker, for example, several people or one man or woman on the fragile, elderly person, and so on. The only thing that can greatly equalize the chances of defending and enable one to effectively defend himself is the firearm. It is said that actually some privileges for criminals to carry weapons are created in this case (Granderson). In addition, the argument is that the gun control would not solve the problem of gun crimes. On the contrary, this measure contributes to further crime rampant. Non-criminal legal weapon almost never shoots. Rifle hanging on the wall actually shoots every few tens of thousands of years. That is approximately one case of 25-30 thousand owners of legal firearms when it is used for some illegal purposes (Bush).

Though there are many factors associated with a gun-violence issue in the country, various scholarly researches and expert studies have proved a direct relationship between the high gun ownership and increased gun violence. The research shows that when easy access for guns is restricted by strict gun control policies, gun-related violence is significantly reduced. Also, the issue of increasing media violence cannot be ignored. In order to control violent behavior among people, it is necessary to take strong actions against the growing media violence. Gun control leads to a reduction in gun violence. Therefore, it is important for the US government to promote stronger gun control policies and strengthen law enforcement in order to reduce massive gun violence rate in the country and create a peaceful society. The following article was prepared by a custom dissertation services writer Alex Jonson.