Jessica Vickers Dr. Jonne Akens Engl 1302 25 February 2013 Gun Control vs. Crime Rate According to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. ” In this very amendment lies the main issue of gun control. “To many, the language of the amendment appears to grant to the people the absolute right to bear arms. However, the U. S.
Supreme Court has held that the amendment merely protects the right of states to form a state militia. ” (Kimberlin) Gun control, or the controlling of firearms, is any act or proposal by any local, state, or federal agency to inhibit, deter, or prohibit the possession of firearms by any law abiding U. S. citizen. Some believe that by controlling the people’s possession of firearms, the violent crime rate will decrease. However, this is not the case. The controlling of firearms, also known as an infringement of the second amendment, is irrelevant to the reduction of violent crime.
Instead, further investigation into the criminals’ motives and state of mind will better resolve the rate of crime in our country. The Second Amendment is a mere twenty-seven words long. However, both campaigns of the gun control debate obtain such different interpretations from those words. “The gun-control campaign interprets the Second Amendment as if it is specifically referring to militias. The Gun-rights supporters say all the other amendments focus on individual rights, as does ““2A. ” The Second Amendment helps protect what is promised in the other nine and that it is a line the government is forbidden to cross. ” (Kimberlin) Kimberlin also states that, “not many nations have firearms enshrined into their constitutions, but in 1789 the Founding Fathers thought that guns were important enough to deserve one of 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. ” If the possession of guns for our personal protection were not an important factor, they would not be included into such an important document to our country. What the Second Amendment means, more than two centuries later, seems to depend on which side of the gun issue you are on. ” (Kimberlin) This being so, further investigation of this amendment is necessary to becoming more informed on this fiery debate. Gun control is a very heavily debated topic at this point in time, especially since the shootings at Newtown and Sandy Hook have taken place. But this has been a topic of debate ever since the Prohibition Area of the early twentieth century. However, these mass shootings have triggered new debates on this controversial issue.
In the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza entered the school carrying multiple firearms and shot at students, as well as teachers, after shooting his mother at their home in Newtown, CT. These shootings prompted further debate on the rising issue of gun control and have brought a proposal to legislation in which the sale and manufacture of certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition would be banned, and reduced access to certain firearms would be enforced.
Although this shooting was a very tragic event, are firearms really the problem? Or should we be venturing further and investigating the minds of these criminals before they even pick up a weapon? According to Joe Wicked, “on the other side of this debate, there are concerns addressing the mental health aspect, addressing the illegal activities associated with firearms and that the law abiding citizens should be left the right to own the types of firearms and magazines that they desire and have the ability to maintain access to both the firearms and/or magazines that they choose. This side of the gun control debate points to a story in which, “a young man present when a gunman began shooting at the Clackamas Mall in Portland Oregon, Nick Meli, heard the first shots fired and pulled out his concealed weapon and confronted the shooter. He did not fire, as he did not want to risk bystander’s lives. The gunman then ran and took his own life (Benner, 2012). The latter side of the debate shows how civilians are capable of stopping a crime before the police are able to arrive. “Some even claim that more guns will help to control the crime and prevent mass shootings from occurring. (Wicked) After being subjected to so much information, how is the reader to know which side is right? According to Wicked, “This can be a difficult question to answer and requires detailed analysis to come to an informed decision. Studies that have been done on the issue of gun control have found many things that gun control affects and many things that it does not affect. One key item that studies have found is that gun control laws affect the use of specific guns in violent crimes, but do not affect the rate of crime itself. The controlling of firearms by either banning the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacture of, as well as controlling the amount of ammunition available and the storage of that ammunition, is irrelevant to the reduction of violent crime. When debating the effect that a particular law, or ban of item, has on the rate of violent crime, it is beneficial to look back at the effect that laws and bans similar to these have had on the crime rate throughout history. The 1994 Assault Weapons ban which Dianne Feinstein proposed and that of which Congress passed would be a prime example. This ban specifically selected fire arms that looked like the firearms militaries around the world used. These types of weapons are weapons not commonly used in crime. In 2010 handguns comprised 68. 5% of all gun murders in the United States (FBI, 2010). This means that in the remaining 31. 5% of gun murders, shotguns, hunting rifles, and the banned assault weapons. Rifles constituted 0. 6% of all murders by gun. The banned assault weapons make up a subset of these rifles. We know that less than 0. 6% of all murders were by these weapons that were banned. (Wicked) Another way to look at the effectiveness of prior firearm bans, according to Wicked, is to look at the crime rate after the ban was lifted or, as in the case of the 1994 Assault Weapons ban, the ban expired. “The FBI data from 2010 shows that the five year trend in crime is that it continues to decline. Further drill downs of the data show that on average the crime rates in all categories are on the decline in the United States. If the ban were effective on reducing violent crime, the expectation would be that the crime rates would increase when the ban is lifted or it expires.
Crime rates continuing to decline after the lifting of the ban suggests that factors other than the ban are affecting crime rates. (FBI, 2010). ” (Wicked) This information further supports the fact that there is no correlation between the controlling of firearms and the reduction of violent crime. Crime rates decreased after the expiration of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, and the evidence clearly shows that the banning of a certain weapon, causing that particular weapon to be more difficult to purchase, or causing a firearm to be too expensive to purchase will only ffect which weapon is chosen to commit a crime, not reduce the rate of crime. “Instead of deciding to ban a weapon as a response to a tragedy, the leaders of our country would better serve the people of the United States by conducting a study into the causes in society which create the situations that lead to violent crime and addressing those root causes, whether it be mental health, violent movies and games, lack of access to proper education, or whatever other root factor.
Addressing the causes of the crimes will produce better long-term results in reducing violent crimes. ” (Wicked) The shooters in these violent crimes were denied from purchasing firearms and in most cases resorted to taking them from a legal owner. How would gun control laws prevent this situation from happening in the future?
Perhaps a mental health screening and identifying there might be a problem with these citizens in a mental aspect would be more effective than further gun laws that already denied the shooter the ability to purchase these firearms. We should be focusing on the mental aspect of this situation rather than the firearms themselves. If someone is planning on killing a massive amount of people, they most likely are not concerned with the legality of obtaining firearms. No laws against or banning of firearms have worked in the past, and they will not work now.
Taking the politics out of the issue, and researching the true causes behind the crime while addressing them effectively would best serve both sides of the gun control debate. Jessica Vickers Dr. Jonne Akens Engl 1302 25 February 2013 Works Cited Kimberlin, Joanne. “The Second Amendment: two interpretations. ” Virginian Pilot. 02 03 2008: n. page. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. Wicked, Joe, ed. “Does Gun Control Reduce Violent Crime? ” Cold Dead Hands. Cold Dead Hands, 30 Jan 2013. Web. 2 Mar 2013.