Gun identification requirements could reduce deaths by a projected 82.5%. Gun licensing laws were associated with a 14% decrease in firearm homicides, while at the same time, increases in firearm homicides were seen in places with “right-to-carry” and “stand your ground” laws. David Frum, Daily Beast and CNN contributor said, “American children under the age of 15 were nine times more likely to die of a gun accident than children in other advanced wealthy countries…About 200 Americans go to emergency rooms every day with gunshot wounds.
” A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that “the legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death.”
Studies show gun control laws do not impede crime; in fact, gun ownership impedes crime. A Nov. 26, 2013 study found between 1980 and 2009, “bans on assault weapons did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level” and states with restrictions on carrying concealed weapons had an increase in gun-related murders.
During the twentieth century gun ownership doubled in the United States and surprisingly, murder rates decreased. John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” said, “States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crime.”
A Pew survey in late 2014 found that 57% of people believe owning a gun provides protection for them from being victimized. Journalist John Stossel wrote, “Criminals don’t obey the law…Without the fear of retaliation from victims who might have a gun, criminals who have these [illegal] weapons now have a much easier job…As the saying goes, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
” This saying supports the ideology that law-abiding citizens will be the primary group of people affected by stricter gun laws and seems counter-productive. Between 1982 and 2012, 49 of the 62 mass shooters used illegally obtained guns.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) reported that guns are used for self-defense 2.5 million times a year. Our law enforcement agencies do as much as they can, but in all reality, they cannot be everywhere at the same time. Stricter gun laws or gun bans would make it more difficult for individuals to protect themselves and their homes/families from criminals. Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP of the NRA, stated, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” According to the Daily Wire, the U.S. cities with the strictest gun laws are also the most dangerous cities in the country (referring to homicide rate) (dailywire.com).
In 1976, D.C. implemented a law that banned citizens from owning guns altogether. Those who already owned guns could keep them but only if they were disassembled. The results were not good: annual homicides rose from 188 in 1976 to 364 in 1988 and rose further to 454 in 1993. The Supreme Court struck down the gun ban and as a result, homicides have steadily declined since then to 88 murders in 2012 (dailywire.com).
One of the major arguments of gun-rights activists focuses on targeting the real problem, which they believe is not the guns, but public mental health. “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” (psychology today). In a meeting at the White House on Feb. 28, 2018, the President not only suggested stricter gun laws, but said he thought due process for mentally ill people was not as important as getting guns out of their hands. “I don’t want mentally ill people to be having guns. Take the guns first, go through due process second, Trump said (theconversation.com). While it is already illegal for mentally ill individuals to possess firearms, enforcing this law is difficult.
There are more than 200 diagnoses listed in the most current version of Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Mental illnesses are also very common: almost one in five people suffer from clinical depression, one in five will experience anxiety disorder, one in 100 experience schizophrenia, and nearly 8 percent of the population experience PTSD (theconversation.com). So, the question arises, should guns be restricted for all these conditions? Or just some, or some special circumstances. Should all war veterans with major or minor PTSD be allowed to possess firearms? It is a very difficult area of concern in the Gun Rights vs Laws debate because over half of the public mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. were carried out by individuals who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack (latimes).
Currently, laws are starting to be passed on the State level raising age requirements to purchase semi-automatic weapons. Many corporations have taken it upon themselves to refuse to sell firearms altogether or to individuals under 21. Following the deadly Parkland school shooting on February 14, 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell assault-style weapons and would ban the sales of all guns to anyone under 21 years of age. As a result, several major gun manufacturers severed ties with the sporting goods store. Dick’s Sporting Goods is currently facing two lawsuits due to the imposed age limit on purchasing firearms (foxnews.com).
Gun Rights advocates and the NRA are opposed to further gun control laws because if you give an inch, often they take a mile. The First Amendment would never be up for debate about stricter freedom of speech laws, so why are the Second Amendments rights being debated. Many gun control advocates claim the forefathers never could have seen or predicted the current state of firearm technology and their capabilities.
In the ongoing Gun debate we find ourselves in a circle of questions with few to no answers along the way. Corporations feel the need to take matters into their own hands even if it is at the cost of their own demise. Throughout my research, I found resource after resource contradicting each other and different statistical platforms to support specific agendas. While the nation will continue to move forward and find the answers, one thing we can all agree on in the meantime is change and compromise need to happen to further increase the safety in our streets, schools, and communities.