The issue of gun control seems to ignite bitter controversy between the state, individuals and groups. According to statistics taken from FBI reports on crime in 2005 at the FBI website, 10,000 murders are committed using firearms annually. It was also noted that guns have been used in crime deterrence incidences statistically being 2.5 million times a year in the United States. Consequently, another survey carried out by the American Journal of Public Health identified United States as having the highest rates of gun ownership in the world as compared to other nations hence had the highest rates of homicide. Suicides through guns account for 55% of deaths whereas homicides account for 40%. This is according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. These statistics however did not stop advocates for gun ownership from campaigning for the liberal ownership of guns. They credit gun ownership to factors such as self-defense, civic duty, and civil right as well as armed forces' reserves and reservists training.
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Criminologist Gary Kleck defended gun possession by stating that crime victims who defended themselves with guns were less likely to be injured or even lose their property as to that victim who did not try to defend himself. This clearly raises the question of whether ownership of guns as a means of self-defense is legitimate. Victims of crime who possess guns as a means of self-defense pose great risks to themselves as well. This is due to the probability that an attacker would become more agitated if he realized that his life was in danger hence would end up being more violent than he initially intended to be. This agitation is due to the fact that his life in itself would be in danger and therefore he may end up killing or injuring his victim.
On another instance, economist John Lott (author of More Guns, Less Crime), stated that laws which made it easier for law-abiding citizens to own guns legally and carry them in public places would help reduce crime rate. He attributed this to the idea that a criminal would not attack because they would not know who was carrying a gun. This idea overlooked the fact that by allowing citizens to carry guns in public places, it would make them adventurous hence provoke them to try criminal activities. The so called "law-abiding citizen" would be tempted to storm into a bank or any store and try to rob it.
Gun ownership has also been said to reduce tyranny. This view considered by many advocates of gun ownership claim that in situations where there is a group opposing the government of the time, by arming the citizens, they would be rendered helpless and defeated. This view holds that when a certain group of antigovernment men attempt to overthrow the government, the public would be armed hence counter the upraising. In this regard, the antigovernment tyrannies would be subdued since they would not only be facing stiff rivalry from the government, but also confronted by the public. However, there is loop hole in this ideology. When antigovernment pros rise and the public is armed, it would be easy for the public to be recruited into the tyrannical group and the trouble of arming the new recruits would be eliminated.
A spokesman for gun possession campaigners Jeff Snyder claimed that gun possession was a civil right.
"I am not here engaged in...recommending.
policy prescriptions on the basis of the promised or probable results [on crime]...Thus these essays are not fundamentally about guns at all. They are, foremost, about...the kind of people we intend to be...and the ethical and political consequences of decisions [to control firearms]" Snyder, J: Nation of Cowards.
He suggests that guns should be readily made available to the public as it was their civil right and he termed the arguments about controlling gun ownership as baseless. He however does not justify his remarks but says that it would help create the notions of responsibility among the citizens. Snyder seems to have overlooked the fact that with open access to guns came with it an explosion in crime rate.
On the other hand, we have to look at the negative effects that come with liberalized access to guns. To begin with, terrorism has been greatly facilitated by the ease of access to guns. Some of the biggest terrorist groups like Al-Qaida have some of the most complicated machinery in the world. This is attributed to the ease at which they are able to purchase these guns which facilitate their terrorist activities. They are not only able to purchase these deadly weapons but also make their own.
Secondly, as earlier mentioned, homicides are largely due to the escalated number of guns. Suicides have also been made easy since by the pull of a trigger, he/she may easily end his/her life. Most family conflicts end in death through the shooting of one of the protagonists. For example, when a wife and her husband are engulfed in a bitter argument, the husband or the wife may be overwhelmed by the intensity of the argument and end up killing the other.
In schools, guns have been the source of many innocent deaths. Students who are involved in drug abuse often come to school with loaded guns and end up killing their colleagues as well as the teachers. There have been many instances of this scenario hence this clearly shows the effect of guns being readily available. In addition, the presence of guns coupled by drug abuse, has led to increased crime rates. These drug users have to get money to purchase their drugs and this leads them into a life of crime as they begin robbing people and stores to carter for their financial needs.
Public uprisings that end up in gun battles between activists and the police are also facilitated by these ready guns. Some of the activists march on the streets with loaded guns and when they are confronted by the police, they brandish them out and begin shooting at the police. This portrays an unsafe society in which lives are determined by the number of available guns. Enforcing gun control policies we shall be putting an end to illegal businesses like gun smuggling. Gun smuggling is pretty much evident in warring nations where there is dire need to arm their fighters. Arming of fighters prolongs the war rather than solving the reason that causes the war.
We can clearly see that more negative effects arise from the free use of guns in relation to the positive aspects of liberalized gun systems. It is in this regard that we have to review some of our policies on gun controls that would help eliminate easy access to guns. Federal policies on guns like the one enacted by Congress in 1934 regulating the sale of automatic weapons like machine guns should be enforced.
In addition, Child Access Control Laws like making it illegal to leave a loaded weapon within easy access of a child or minor also help in the regulation of guns and gun use.
In conclusion, it is apparent that guns are of significant damage to out nations and societies if no regulated. In this regard, it would be advisable to come up with ways and means through which access to firearms can be regulated. This would not only help us create a safe environment for all of us but also define better use of the guns.