Jessie Michigan

Gun Control

By expanding restrictions, gun control can be utilized to keep firearms out of the hands of high-risk citizens, yet still accessible to the law-abiding public.

Dear future president,

    Gun control is constantly deliberated in the United States. Each act of violence adds to the heated debate on whether arms reduction should be initiated. There are currently gun control laws in play, but these laws are lenient and permit a majority of the population to own a firearm. Arms limitation should apply to those with any past discretions and extensive background checks should be done before allowing purchase. By imposing greater restrictions on high-risk citizens, we can limit the amount of shootings and gun-point crimes.

    A majority of violent crimes in which guns are used are done by people with previous arrests, yet if their past crimes did not land them in jail for over a year, they do not stop the offender from being able to legally own a firearm. According to the DOJ's 1998 Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties report, “58% of all murderers had at least one felony conviction, 70% had other convictions, and 81% had arrest records.’’ If the criminal records of these offenders had kept them from owning the weapons in which they committed these crimes with, a majority of this violence could have been avoided. By expanding this restriction, the number of crimes committed can be decreased significantly. This also creates an additional consequence for even minor infractions. Violent crime is most likely to be done by past felons. The 1998 study by David Kennedy and Anthony Braga describes the fact that “‘murderers are almost invariably veteran criminals as a standard “criminological axiom.”’ This means gun control that targets average citizens will not change the brutality outcome. But these laws can be utilized to keep guns out of the hands of those most likely to commit crimes in the future.

    Background checks are currently present when applying to own a firearm. But these background checks are not nearly as thorough as they can, and should be. If the background check continues for longer than three days, the applicant is considered cleared. By imposing more extensive background checks, we can determine who should or should not be allowed the ability to own a gun. According to a New York Times study,  “‘of the 1,662 murders in that city between 2003 and 2005 found that “more than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records.”’ The more intense the boundaries to own a gun are, the less times a firearm will end up in the hands of dangerous people. Gun control laws currently prohibit people who are immediate threats to public safety from owning a gun. But these laws should be extended to keep anyone who poses any threat at all to collective security from accessing weapons.

    By expanding on gun control laws, but not prohibiting all citizens from having them, the United States can be made safer, and fear can be decreased. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, “467,321 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011.[1] In the same year, data collected by the FBI show that firearms were used in 68 percent of murders, 41 percent of robbery offenses and 21 percent of aggravated assaults nationwide.” The average citizens with no priors, and backgrounds that hint of no possible motivators, should be allowed the right to bear arms. This right allows people to protect themselves, and gives the feeling of security and preparedness. Determined by a 1993 survey conducted by researcher Gary Kleck, “American civilians use their firearms as often as 2.5 million times every year defending against a confrontation with a criminal, and that handguns alone account for up to 1.9 million defenses per year.” In many cases, guns have been used to stop crime instead of initiate it. By owning a firearm, citizens have the ability to defend not just themselves, but the people around them as well. Owning a firearm can also protect you without ever needing to fire it. It is the threat posed by potential victims that carry a gun that keeps the offender from attacking. This theory was proven by the law in 1982 in which “the Atlanta suburb Kennesaw required all households to have a gun. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole”. The threat of civilians owning firearms has a greater impact on public safety than the illegalization of guns.

    Guns control laws need to be expanded on, but they should not take away the right to bear arms completely. Law-abiding citizens should be provided legal access to firearms. High-risk candidates should be turned down immediately, and extensive background checks need to be done to determine who is or is not dangerous to public safety. Gun control does not need to apply to everyone to bring safety and security to America.

-Jessie C