Gun Control In 1988, handguns killed 7 people in Great Britain 19 in Sweden 53 in Switzerland 25 in Israel 13 in Australia 8 in Canada And 8,915 in the United States The figures are shocking but what is the solution? Gun control is a problem that our country has faced for many years. In the past this issue has been placed on the back burner but the recent school, subway, and gang related shootings have pushed it to the forefront of political and social issues. There are basically three categories in the dispute for gun control. The extreme “right” which thinks anyone should have access to any weapon or ammunition. The extreme “left” who believe Government should have ultimate control of all handguns in the United States, and that possession of guns or ammunition should be illegal. In the middle are the “moderates” who think that gun control including background checks, training classes, and waiting periods would solve the problem.
Gun control is an issue that is surrounded by many myths and misunderstanding, with more than its share of misinformation. In the following pages we will explore all sides of this argument and offer up our own solution. BACKGROUND As mentioned in the introduction, the gun control issue has not been in the media or political spotlight until recently, approximately ten years ago. Before that time the idea of gun control was on the minds of few people, but today it’s a major issue. Know it’s impossible to pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news without being bombarded with the details of another mass shooting, or another child that was killed while playing with a gun. Unfortunately, there are many people who take the easy way out when it comes to a solution, they choose gun control.
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They make this decision without ever taking the time or effort to educate themselves on the issue. In their minds choosing gun control means caring about children, and wanting to stop the violence we have all become so accustomed to. We believe that misunderstanding and misinformation are the two biggest culprits when it comes to the argument over gun control. If every citizen were to educate themselves the messages from the gun control advocates would fall on deaf ears. MYTH vs.
REALITY The following is a list of ten of the most widely misunderstandings about crime, guns, and gun control. Myth #1: Guns cause crime. There is no relationship between the number of guns and the amount of crime in the United States. Between 1973 and 1992, the rate of gun ownership increased by 45% while the homicide rate during that period fell by nearly 10%. Myth #2: Gun control laws reduce crime.
Firearms have not been regulated in the United States for most of the past thirty years. The number of firearms in private hands has increased continuously by millions per year. Yet the rate of crime, violent crime, and homicide have shown no significant correlation. Myth #3: Gun control laws stop friends from killing friends. Most murderers and victims of homicide have criminal records and they are likely to have other criminals as friends. While it is true that in many cases of homicide the offender and victim know each other, it is not true that these “friends killing friends” are the plain ordinary folks often portrayed in the anti-gun propaganda.
Myth #4: Gun control laws keep criminals from obtaining guns. In surveys of prisoners, only 7% of criminals’ handguns were obtained from legitimate sources. Three-fourths of the felons report that they would have no trouble obtaining a gun when they were released. Myth #5: Required waiting periods would prevent some of the most vicious crimes. The Brady Bill waiting period imposes waiting periods on handguns, the least deadly type of firearm, while imposing no such restriction on much more deadly weapons such as rifles or shotguns.
While handguns are preferred by criminals because of their portability and concealability not every criminal who planned to use a handgun will abandon his criminal plans when confronted by a waiting period. Myth #6: Guns don’t work as self-protection against criminals. Guns are about as valuable to civilians as they are to police officers. As many as 65 lives are protected by guns for every life lost to a gun. Every year potential victims kill between 2,000 and 3,000 criminals, and wound an additional 9,000 to 17,000. Private citizens mistakenly kill innocent people only thirty times a year, compared to about 310 mistaken killings by police. Criminals succeed in taking a gun away from an armed victim less than 1% of the time. Myth #7: Guns aren’t needed as self-protection. Approximately 83% of the population will be victims in their lives, and there is only one police officer for every 3,300 people.
Myth #8: Gun control laws are needed to prevent the purchase of Saturday Night Specials and “assault weapons.” Inexpensive handguns are involved in only 1% to 3% of violent crimes; criminals generally prefer larger caliber and more expensive handguns. In the past fifty years no civilian has ever used a legally owned machine gun in a violent crime, and no UZI has ever been used to kill a police officer. Myth #9: Gun control laws are especially needed to prevent gun accidents in the home. Many people mistakenly conclude that children die frequently in gun accidents and that sharp restrictions on gun ownership are necessary to address the problem. There are accidents that occur in the home, but that number has fallen dramatically.
The death rate from firearm accidents is lower than that from accidental drowning, inhalation, and digestion of foreign objects. Myth #10: Gun ownership is not a constitutional right. The Second Amendment reflects the founders’ belief that armed citizens (called militias) were necessary precaution against tyranny by our own government and its army. PRO GUN CONTROL Handgun Control Inc. (HCI) is the leading organization that is lobbying for, and introducing legislation on gun control to the Congress.
It is organized and chaired by Sarah Brady, the wife of gun violence victim and former White House Press Secretary James Brady. She was the driving force behind the recently adopted “Brady Bill” which made a mandatory waiting period for the purchase of a handgun. She is know working on the “Children’s Gun Violence Protection Act”, which will impose the following: 1. New safety standards on the manufacture and importation of handguns, including a child resistance standard, a safety lock, a magazine disconnect safety for pistols, a manual safety, and drop test equipment. 2. Authorize the Consumer Products Safety Commission to study, test, and evaluate various technologies and means of making guns more child-resistant.
3. Prohibit the sale of an assault weapon to anyone under the age of 18. 4. Increase the criminal penalties for selling a gun to a juvenile. 5. Require gun storeowners to implement minimum safety and security standards to prevent theft of firearms.
6. Require gun owners to store loaded guns in a place that is reasonably inaccessible to children, or use a device to lock the gun, and imposes criminal penalties for adults who leave firearms available for illegal use by children. These may all sound like wonderful ideas if this is all you know about the subject. However, one must ask the question, are these new rules and regulations really going to serve their purpose? Or are they only going to succeed in taking away more of our constitutional rights? RECOMMENDATIONS Our recommendation would suggest that both parties should be able to agree on common ground. It would not hurt all gun owners to submit to background checks and waiting periods. This should not only include handguns, but rifles as well. However, there is no reason that pro-gun control advocates should continue their crusade to ban certain types of weapons and ammunition.
Stiff mandatory laws should be established and enforced for those who are unwilling to obey these new regulations. The laws should be the same in all states in order to do away with the senseless lawsuits being brought against the gun manufacturers. CONCLUSION In our misinformed society, when we hear politicians saying they are pro gun control we automatically translate that as meaning they care about the children, it makes us feel good. That is what it is all about, feeling good. Letting feelings run our lives and make the decisions for us, instead of educating ourselves on the issues and then making informed decisions. It has to do with choosing feelings over substance.
The gun control crowd has managed to hype up the crime in this country and pass all the blame on the guns, forget the fact that someone has to pull the trigger. They tell glamorous and violent stories of gruesome killings and accidental shootings, and then promote gun control as the cure-all idea. While at the same time cast the “right” as wanting to kill your children, put guns in our schools, give guns to your children, and basically run all over the country shooting people. While some basic gun legislation might be in order, what these people are trying to do is throw the Second Amendment right out the window. Here is a quote from the founder of HCI: “I’m convinced that we have to have Federal Legislation to build on. We are going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily, given the political realities, going to be very modest.
Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United States, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns, and handgun ammunition illegal.” This is really demented thinking that shows what incrementalism can do once it gets started.