Significance of Gun Control in the United States
Opinions are divided on whether or not gun control should be approved in the United States. The opponents of the significance of gun control have argued against any legislation targeting gun access and use in the United States. The issue of gun control has thus attracted discursive and policy significance because it has succeeded to tear the United States’ society merely in the middle in terms of opinions. Although there are several justifications that have been advanced by gun rights proponents and champions, the risks of unregulated gun access and use are far-reaching and provide justifications for gun control in America.
Many people arguing against gun control have maintained that guns are not the only means through which people can harm, kill or maim others. They argue, in rebuttal, that beating, stabbing, or even strangling can kill or cause permanent injury to a victim or victims (Wilson 172). However, it also true that it is much easier for such a person to fire a gun at his or her target from a distance than it could have been to go right up to where the target is and stab or strangle him or her. Besides, chances of survival for a victim of knife stabbing or strangling are very higher depending on how the situation is and how fast an intervention takes place. However, the use of a gun threatens many people as an aggrieved person can kill and maim more people within a short time through spray bullets. Gunshots would also inflict more damage than would stabbing or strangulation (Goss 67; Gold 110).
Guns are a real threat to human life and safety. Although gun right movements have maintained their slogan that “guns do not kill, people do”, easier access to guns around the house presents other dangers such as suicide (Gischler 9). Cases where frustrated and angry people have committed suicide or killed using guns are on the rise as a result of unregulated gun access. There are instances when spouses have caught their partners in bed with their best friends and literally used the most accessible weapon, a gun, to either kill themselves or terminate the life of their spouses or the targeted enemies (Kleck 251-252). Thus easy access to gun really threatens the very life of the gun owners and the victims of their frustrations or anger. One unforgotten event is when a 13 year old boy in Vermont, who was a victim of cyber bullying took the advice of his tormentors to kill himself if he could no longer cope with the stress (Wilson 184). The boy took his father’s loaded shotgun and killed himself. Thus easy access of the gun made it easy for the boy to commit suicide. This provides a picture of just how regulation of gun access, through gun control legislations, would be very important in saving many lives.
Gun rights supporters have maintained that gun control policies contravene the provisions of civil liberties and rights (Gischler 8; Magoon 16). However, this argument must be balanced with the dangers that unregulated gun access poses. For example, people who know one another may, most often than not, get into very nasty verbal exchanges and aggressions that end up becoming deadly when firearms are easy to come by. The presence of too many guns that often come illegally or through male orders have increased the cases of gun-related murders, thus threatening the life of law abiding citizens. puce and Clyde (81) argue that the United States is considered to be having the highest rate of murder by use of handguns per capita in the vast Western Hemisphere. This is due to lack of clear gun control regulations and policies (Carter 56).
As the debate on gun control in the United States rages on, those aggrieved by advocates of gun control have been quick to point out the fact that such a move is likely to deprive people who simply need guns for target shooting sports and hunting of their chance. Nonetheless, it is more significant to protect the life and interest of many poor civilians who cannot access guns and are easily being the target of gun-related crimes. Gregg (89) maintains that lack of gun control and the consequent ease with which such guns are accessed has promoted crime in the United States. . Besides, there is so much armed weaponry in the hands of criminals. Most of these weapons are stolen by criminals from private homes. Burglars make guns their first target when they peak into homes (Lott 59; Gold 123). These are in return used in organized armed robbery, assault and homicide. This situation could be contained if there were more structured and strict policies that regulate gun access and use. Therefore, gun control is an idea whose time is long overdue in the United States.
Strict laws on gun control are one of the ways of saving a significant number of lives that are vulnerable and at risk of gun-related violence and injuries (Kleck 251). Those opposed to gun control movements have asserted that guns are needed for self-protection. Despite the relative relevance of this assertion, such critics have also conceded that automatic guns are not necessary for self-protection, target shooting or hunting. Such dangerous weapons have the potential of killing 20 innocent people at the same time. Gregg (147) asserts that gun control would protect so many lives and no matter how many lives are saved through gun control, it still matters that their lives should be actually saved.
Critics of gun control initiatives have maintained that claim of irresponsible use of guns due to lack of self-control are far-fetched and victims of gun violence in such situations are relatively few (Goss 117). However, it is imperative to consider that priority must be given to the need to save even that one life that is victimized as a result of easy access to guns. Besides, such arguments are ignorant of the number of people who are killed by gun users with mental instabilities. Due to lack of personal sense of moral judgment and mental health issues, gun owners have ended up killing so many people. Such deaths would be averted with the existence of stronger gun control laws (Jacobs 70). Tragedies such as Newtown, Colorado massacres could have been prevented if there were better gun control policies in the United States.
Opponents have also maintained that gun control is likely to prejudice other people who have been able to use their guns responsibly without violating the rights and liberties of others. They argue that 84, 995, 467 people who own guns in the United States have not killed anybody to date (Gregg 147). Besides, they argue that there are instances when gun control has translated into higher crime rates. However, the push for gun control is a worthy course. This move will ensure that the trend of massive public shootings in the United States is reversed. For example, 29 people died in Aurora in a movie theatre when a person opened an automatic weapon on them. These deaths could be curbed with stricter rules focusing on gun control and regulating who is allowed to own and use guns.
Although the American society is divided over the significance of gun control, this is one of the significant ways through which the ills caused by unregulated access and use of guns can be reversed. As society changes, patterns change and so should policies be continually reviewed to address the challenges bedeviling the society from time to time. Gun control is thus a measure whose time has come and should be supported by all to ensure safe and secure American society.
- Bruce, John M, and Clyde Wilcox. The Changing Politics of Gun Control. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. Print.
- Gischler, Katrin. Why Has Gun Control Become Such a Contentious Issue in American Politics?Mu%u0308nchen: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2007. Internet resource.
- Gold, Susan D. Gun Control. New York: Benchmark Books, 2004. Print.
- Goss, Kristin A. Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. Internet resource.
- Gregg L. Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Internet resource.
- Jacobs, James B. Can Gun Control Work?Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Internet resource.
- Kleck, Gary. Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. New punswick, N.J: Aldine Transaction, 2005. Print.
- Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.
- Magoon, Kekla. Gun Control. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub, 2008. Internet resource.
- Wilson, Harry L. Guns, Gun Control, and Elections: The Politics and Policy of Firearms. Lanham, Md. [u.a.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.