Cameron F. Indiana

Why Gun Laws Don't Work

A look at why gun laws are not as effective as people would like to believe.

Dear President,

I am a high school junior in the small town of Salem, Indiana. I have been exposed to guns my entire life. I shot a BB gun for the first time at a very young age in my grandfather’s backyard. I shot my first gun, a Ruger 10/22 rifle, sometime during my elementary education. Since then I have shot many guns, including the falsely labeled assault rifles that people are pushing to be banned. I have researched many things about firearms and I am fairly knowledgeable on weapons throughout history as well. I have never once felt danger around other people with guns as I have been around them all my life. People are scared of what they do not know and I understand that, but attacking guns is not the answer to gun violence. Preserving the second amendment is a necessity to our country as without the ability to own firearms and acquire them without our life histories poked and prodded, our people will become helpless, defenseless sitting ducks waiting for the predators to pounce.

Guns have for a long time been one of the primary means of self-defense for a number of American citizens. Without their second amendment rights, many of these people would have no ability to protect themselves and their families. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968, which is roughly 300 million guns (NPR). According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. gun-makers produced nearly 11 million guns in 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. That's twice as many as they made in 2010 (NPR). Many people are buying guns and a lot of it is spurred by these tragedies that spark politicians to ask for stricter gun laws. Also, firearm sales seem to spike following any mention or attempt by Congress or the President to introduce stricter gun laws. Why is this you may ask? Maybe many people in the United States actually prefer to have a way to defend themselves rather than relying on police response times, which even for some of the best and fastest police departments, can be 9 minutes or more. To break this down, it can take only seconds to break into a home. If caught by the home owners they can immediately call the police. Still even with the earliest possible call to the police, many things can happen before they arrive. A rape, a murder, a robbery, and also a kidnapping can all happen within seconds. Now calling the police means that there is a much greater chance of these people being caught eventually. Now I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have my life than to be murdered and there still be a chance that my murderer can get away.

Also, it has been proven time and time again that gun control does not work in the United States. It has worked in other countries I will admit, but with the state we are in with the violence in Chicago, Detroit, and other cities that have the strictest gun laws in the country, it is blatantly obvious that gun control does not work in the United States of America. All firearm owners in Chicago must carry a Firearm Owners Identification Card or concealed carry permit to be able to buy a gun from any licensed dealer, and even from private citizens. In Illinois, you must be 18 to buy any long gun and 21 to buy a handgun with a 24 hour waiting period on long guns and a 72 hour waiting period for handguns. Compare this to my home state of Indiana where there are no waiting periods and a handgun can be bought at 18 and a long gun at any age from a private seller willing to sell to someone who is younger. In Chicago there are 402.66 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In the entire state of Indiana this number is approximately 365 violent crimes per 100,000, which is a fair amount lower than Chicago. Indiana also has much less restrictive gun laws. Also, in Chicago, statistics show that only 3% of firearms used in violent crimes are actually obtained legally. This means that criminals are obviously ignoring gun laws and obtaining them illegally when they can’t acquire them legally. What makes people think that laws restricting guns can work when laws restricting drugs have not worked? In Indiana, I live roughly 20 minutes away from the county where the HIV epidemic due to drug use took place. I have lived so close to the best example of how poorly restricting drug laws work for my entire life. The police have actually had to help these people do drugs by giving them clean needles just to stop the epidemic rather than trying to stop the drug supply. So having seen this so closely, I can’t see a single way that restrictive gun laws can work in the United States, especially when considering how poorly restrictions and complete bans on drugs have worked in this country. All of this just points towards criminals getting guns illegally while law abiding citizens are left with no way of defense.

In conclusion, stricter gun control laws can’t work in the United States as criminals will always find ways to get access to firearms, and taking away guns from law abiding citizens can be you signing the death certificates of many of the people you are sworn to protect. Also, for the instances when the SWAT teams have to be called to confiscate a gun from someone who won’t surrender theirs you risk putting people in danger more than needed. So, President, if you are willing to be the point man on that breach team, the first person in to the room, the first person to have a weapon pointed at you and the first one to make contact with the threat, most likely the first person to be attacked or fired at, then go ahead and take the guns away. If not, then you are playing Risk with the lives of fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, and YOUR citizens. These guns, these things you are fighting against, these are our primary means of self-defense. Without them, what stops home invasions? What stops enemies from invading the country. I will leave you with these words from a Japanese admiral 15 years after World War 2, “We did indeed know much about your preparedness. We knew that probably every second home in your country contained firearms. We knew that your country actually had state championships for private citizens shooting military rifles. We were not fools to set foot in such quicksand.”