Gun Control Won’t Deter Criminals, It Will Only Encourage Them
I’m scared. I’m afraid for my family, my friends, and my fellow citizens. There have been seemingly countless news reports all over the world of terrorists gunning down innocent people, mentally ill citizens slaughtering those crowded in theaters, police shooting presumed non-guilty victims, and gangs along with other protesters taking revenge on the police. There has been considerable debate in the past few years about whether guns should be legally owned by the public. There is a widespread belief that stripping the United States of firearms will drastically reduce violent deaths and criminal activity. This is what frightens me the most, not the criminals. The misunderstanding that so many people believe that gun control will protect them. This is not the case. Disarming America will only leave us vulnerable for the bad guys to take advantage of.
In America, there is a startling statistic. About 30,000 people are killed from guns on average every year. But an even more shocking fact is something the media doesn’t talk about. Over two-thirds, more than 21,000, of these deaths are actually suicides, not mass shootings or police shootings. So what does this mean? The American government has proposed that guns be banned from the public. This, however, goes against the Second Amendment. From the beginning of our country’s formation, the Founding Fathers secured our rights. They wanted a “more perfect union” that would offer the freedom of opportunity for it’s people. They aimed for a Constitution that would ensure American citizens their religious, educational, and professional rights and freedoms. They also set up the governmental system to have minimal and restricted control over the people. It divided the executive powers so that corrupt leaders could not have complete and utter dominance in controlling the public. This has safeguarded the freedoms that we know today. Equality in opportunity, the chance to become the best and most successful person one could be is what made our country the greatest. This is what gives us the freedoms to choose what occupation we want, which religion to practice and live by, who to marry, and whether to own land. And whether to own a gun.
Knowing that corrupt and selfish people may and will rise to power, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and several others understood the importance for the government to fear the people and the people to distrust the government. Furthermore, there are muggers, burglars, predators, and terrorists that would seek to take advantage of others. What is the point of freedom if you can’t stop someone from harming or even killing you? Gun control will not eliminate crime, it will only encourage it as criminals will become more fearless if they think they have the upper hand.
Pro-ban supporters have argued that illegalizing these weapons will, indeed, stop mass murder and other life threatening crimes. They argue that by banning the public ownership of guns, criminals will not be able to access these weapons. Yet, haven’t there been countless illicit drug dealings throughout the United States? But wait, I thought drugs were illegal to own and deal. I reiterate, criminals don’t care about laws.
If the problem is “too many people are hurt/killed from people with guns,” why are we trying to ban guns from everyone including the good guys? That is like saying we take away cars from everyone because of drunk drivers. It doesn’t make sense. We would try to prevent drunks from driving, make sure people know how to deal with a situation if drunks were on the road with them, etc. The same is true for gun ownership. Not every owner is reckless and criminal. We need to educate our fellow citizens to not just know how to call 911. We need to teach how to protect oneself in a life threatening situation. People shouldn’t be afraid to fire a gun if the need arises. Knowing gun safety regulations when firing and when being threatened should be taught.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the suicides in the U.S are actualized through a firearm. Some would contend that the eradication of guns in the home would cut our suicide rate in half. However, as heartbreaking as it is, this is not the case. Those who are at the point of committing suicide would just find another method. Suicide is not caused by guns, but by social and cultural struggle. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that the leading method of suicide in men is guns, while poisoning is the leading method for women. National Academies’ Firearms and Violence pointed out,
“States, regions, and countries with higher rates of household gun ownership have higher rates of gun suicide...The risk of suicide is highest immediately after the purchase of a handgun, suggesting that some firearms are specifically purchased for the purpose of committing suicide. Some gun control policies may reduce the number of gun suicides, but they have not yet been shown to reduce the overall risk of suicide in any population.”
The important point in this report is, which many informants skim over, is that,
“...even if you remove guns from a home, a person who wants to commit suicide will still find other means. As previously mentioned, women mostly kill themselves with poison. Removing guns will do nothing to help most women who struggle with depression that leads to suicide. And while it is true that guns are more lethal, and men use guns more than any other method, suicide statistics in countries that have tight gun control laws don’t support the argument that removing guns will reduce suicide rates on the whole,” (Goldie, 19).
Japan, for example, has the world’s most restrictive gun policy but their suicide rate is twice that of the U.S. Gun control will only limit the actual sum of suicides actuated by guns to go down, not the total suicide count to fall.
To quote D.C. McAllister on the Federalist,
“Ultimately, government would have to ban everything to prevent suicide—cars, cliffs, water, you name it. Instead, we must realize that the means to kill ourselves are not really the problem—the grief that causes us to think suicide an appealing option is.”
The disputed studies that declare suicide more common in gun owning homes demonstrate that this is merely correlation and not causation. Guns do not heighten our nation’s drive to commit suicide, the depression and grief which haunt people does.
Aside from the statement that gun control will reduce suicides, there have been several arguments in the past which contend that there are no good reasons for owning guns. However, if an armed thug mugged you or broke into your house, the only thing that would realistically stop that person would be the threat of a gun in your hands. You don’t have to shoot the person to stop them in their tracks. Oft times, seeing that they do not have control over the situation will be enough to halt the attacker. Still, if the assaulter does not stop or threatens to continue hurting you or your family, you have every right to shoot them and stop them. If someone has invaded your home and is holding you at gunpoint, there is no time to or even a chance the invader will let you call the police.
Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, PhD, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated in 2014,
“Examples from many countries clearly show that a legal framework to control the acquisition and use of firearms has led to a dramatic reduction in violent crime.”
Basically, he is saying that countries that have strict gun regulations have lower crime rates. Yet, evidence shows that U.S. states with a high concentration of law-abiding concealed carriers have shown less violent crime. Florida’s homicide rate dropped from 36% above the national average to 4% below it when it sanctioned concealed carry. Adversely, Australia’s crime rate has risen since they enacted anti-gun laws. While there is ample evidence that gun-related crime has been reduced, statistics from the Australian government itself have shown that “manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery” have peaked since the gun ban. Additionally, according to recent statistics a Harvard study claimed “that firearm-related suicides are down 57 percent in the aftermath of the ban,” but “Lifeline Australia reports that overall suicides are at a ten-year high.” This demonstrates that guns are not the instigators of crime.
Furthermore, if the U.S. dumped all our country’s firearms into the ocean, criminals could still arm themselves. Do you remember the estimated one million Rwandan men, women, and children who were slaughtered by machetes and knives in 1994? Extreme ethnic prejudice led to the genocide that occurred and ended within roughly 100 days that summer. Guns are not the only weapons people will use to hurt others.
In summary, the solution to our criminal activity and our safety is not to disarm those who need to protect themselves, but to make it harder for criminals to have access to these weapons. As our former President Ronald Reagan himself put it,
“You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There’s only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time… It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience.”
Reagan was shot at six times and was hit once from a revolver’s bullet.
If we take away guns from the public, we will just be sitting ducks for the mentally ill to hurt and take advantage of us. If guns kill people, then spoons have made America obese and pencils misspell words. We need to have background checks of course, but we need to not violate our fundamental rights. The entire reason our country was formed in the first place was to escape tyrannical leaders that controlled our ways of life. We need to educate our people to defend ourselves and not look to guns as the enemy. Our common adversary are the people who seek to instill terror and hurt in people like us. Let us not make it easier for them to do whatever they want by minimizing our ability to defend ourselves. We must come together and seek to protect our families and our country from the bad guys.
Creative Commons image by Aldaron https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_in_Minute_Man_National_Historical_Park.jpg