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. These figures are shocking and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. Gun control is a problem that our country has got to face. (“Gun Control”).
One of the most alarming issues dealing with gun control is juvenile violence. A large percent of crimes committed with guns are by children. No one has yet been able to pinpoint the exact reason children committed such a terrible crime. Many experts feel that risk factors associated with juvenile crime are poverty, repeated exposure to violence, drugs, easy access to firearms, and unstable family life. All of these issues play a big role in the increase of juvenile crime. Possibly out of all of these issues the most important, is the deteration of the family. Many of these children are not being brought up in a nice environment at home. (“Reasons”).
Juveniles are not the only ones committing crimes with guns. Adults are just as guilty at contributing to the nations violence. It is even easier for an adult to purchase a firearm. Even if the adult has a felony, it is still easy for them to get a gun. There are many people willing to sell a felon a gun, if the price is right. If they can not buy one, they can easily pay someone to buy one for them. If an individual wants a firearm bad enough, chances are they will get one. (Brennen and Polsby 2).
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 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 has 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 were necessary precaution against tyranny by our own government and its army. (“Gun Control”).
One of the largest groups of people that are affected by these types is minorities. Some minorities blame gun makers for their high crime rate. Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP is considering joining others that are filing lawsuits against gunmakers. Mfume was stated as saying, “We represent a significant consistency that is disproportional affected by gun violence.” (“Minorities”).
In 1995, there were a total of 35,957 deaths by firearms. There were 25,438 white deaths. There was a total of 9,643 black deaths. (“Death”).
Handgun Control Inc. is the major organization for lobbying, and introducing legislation on gun control. It is headed by Sarah Brady, wife of former White House Press Secretary James Brady. She also was the one that introduced a bill to congress about waiting periods. (“Gun Control”)
Gun control, as we know it, consists of the government restricting the ability of citizens to purchase weapons. The waiting period method of gun control is basically a two-step process. The first step in the procedure is that the person wanting a gun goes to his local shop to place the initial order. Then, he must wait one to two weeks while the government performs a small background check for past criminal activities. The problem with this method of gun control is that it stops the ordinary citizen from purchasing a gun on the whim, but it actually protects the common criminal. If a burglar enters a house with full intention to maim or kill; the innocent victim, who cant get a gun to protect his family because he was arrested for drunk driving seven years ago. This method supports the black market trade. (Pooley 15 and Larson 1).
Many cities are taking stands and suing gun makers.
They say that they are seeking compensation for cost incurred from gun violence. Many believe that gun makers intentionally feed an illegal gun supply by negligently marketing and distributing their products in states with weak gun registration laws. The overflow eventually leads to a large, unregulated tide of guns in states with strict gun laws. The states with strict gun laws claim that 90% of all gun violence comes from guns sold in other states. (Prichard).
Another group that is being targeted, is the video game manufacturer. Parents of three slain girls in the Heath school shootings are going after the manufacturers. They feel that particular violent video game is partially responsible for their children’s death. They claim that the video game taught the shooter how to be and excellent marksman. The boy had never used a gun, but was skilled enough to hit eight moving targets in only eight shots. Another fact that looks backup the parent’s belief is that of military training. Each year billions of dollars are spent to train police and military how to shoot. Video simulation is the best way to help overcome the natural resistance that most people have about shooting someone. Studies show that people are extraordinary susceptible to programming. One main difference between military training and video games, military instructions are constantly pausing the action, where the video game in constant action. (Blakemore).
Firearms are nowhere near the root of the problem of violence and arguably are almost completely separated from it. As long as people come in unlike sizes, ages, shapes, and temperament. If they diverge in their task for risk and their willingness and capacity to prey on other people or to defend themselves from perdition; and, above all, as long as some people have little or nothing to lose by spending their lives in crime, dispositions to violence will persist. (Polsby and Brennen).
Blakemore, Bill. “Creating Killers?” ABCNEWS. New York: 12 May 1998.
Brennen, Dennis and Daniel D. Polsby. Taking Aim at Gun Control. 30 Oct 1995.
“Death by Firearms 1979-1995”. Time Almanac. 1999.
Hollis, Harry Jr. The Shoot-em-up Society.
“Gun Industry”. Daily News. 11 Feb 1998. New York. 30 Sep 1999.
Larson, Erik. “The Story of a Gun”. The Atlantic Monthly. Jan 1993.
“Minorities”. Daily News. 21 Feb 1999. Washington: 1 Oct 1999.
Pooley, Eric. “Kids with Guns”. New York: 5 Aug 1991.
Prichard, James. “Fighting Back”. Associated Press. Paducah. 12 Apr 1998. 29 Sep 1999. *http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/daileynews/paducah990412.html*.