Since 1364, with the first recorded use of the first modern firearm (Gun), the world has been deciding whether or not guns with their destructive power should be allowed to remain in our midst. On 1 October, 2017 this very question filled the hearts of many families around the world. As Jason Aldean filled the dark Las Vegas night with his song, shots sounded off. At first the audience of the Country Music Festival were unsure as to what they heard, but as the sound continued many began to realize what was happening. Men and women began dropping to the ground and chaos ensued. The gunman Stephen Paddock was firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, taking the lives of 59 and injured more than 600 people below. Paddock had with him 47 firearms which according to reports, had took him over 20 years to accumulate(Andone).
The question remains to this day how and why was he able to end up with these weapons. In Australia, after the 1996 massacre by Martin Bryant which ended in 35 dead and 23 wounded, the Australian Government banned all semiautomatic and automatic firearms (Calamar). This is one instance in which strict gun legislation seemed to accomplish its goal. Those in support of gun control argue that stricter gun legislation should be implemented as reducing the opportunity for criminals to get weapons would reduce the rate at which criminals use the firearms. This is supported by the gun ban in Australia which reduced gun homicide in the country by 23% (Kiely).
On the latter side, those that oppose gun control argue that enacting gun control would be infringing on the rights of the people. They argue that it is not just the guns which are sold all across the nation, but also rally under the phrase “Guns don’t kill people”. Thus the two sides of the topic both argue for the right to life, one the right to not be dead, and the other the right to freedom.In the United States there are roughly 112.6 guns for every 100 residents (Morris). However, with every mass shooting that the number rises greatly. Many believe that gun control is impeding on the personal freedoms bestowed upon them by the US constitution, as the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects the right to bear arms. In regards to this, the National Rifle Association (NRA). the number 1 supporter of no gun control was created during the Civil War by two Union soldiers who were distraught at the way poor training of the recruits (Elving), began rallying support against gun control since the Reagan years. Evidence used by the NRA is a study conducted by Ivy League researchers suggests that there was already a decrease occurring in crime rates in Australia before the 1996 massacre, and that the gun deaths that were majorly prevented were not murders, but instead suicides (New).
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The NRA argues that massacre and other events in which loss of life occurs at the hands of another will not be stopped by gun legislation. Another area to which people look to see the effectivity of gun control is Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is claimed by many, such as President Trump and Breitbart, to have the strictest gun laws in the United States, though with these claims statistics such as “4 000 victims of gun-related crimes,” as stated by Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the daily press briefing in the White House. 4 000 victims is enough for concern, the laws that are put into effect are placed to ensure that people are safer, which brings to mind the main tactic that this evidence is. The evidence is not solely to show that the laws seem to have no effect, but also to rally support from the 5 million supporters of the NRA and others in opposition of gun legislation.
When looking at the problem with gun laws and violent crimes many look question the relationship between the two, in a “ chicken and the egg” situation, where it is hard to determine what came first violent crimes or gun laws. This is supported by statistics such as in the Soviet Union there were a much larger amount of murders and violent crimes than in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, even though the Soviet Union had extremely strict gun laws as opposed to the US who has more guns than people. Assisting in supporting against the legislation are the first world countries, France, Germany, Finland, and Denmark who were able to sport low violent crime rates even though they contain a population of “heavy gun owners”(Gerbis). Gerbis suggests this situation is more of a loop that a country with higher gun ownership has lower violent crime rates, but countries with higher crime rates have, or first attempt to employ, stricter gun legislation. It is here where we run into the problem of finding a solution, if stricter gun laws lead to higher crimes but high gun ownership appears to lead to low crime rates what can be done?The National Rifle Association suggests that more guns would help solve the gun crimes, and that decreasing the amount of violence being seen in the media, to stop creating a nation of apathetic citizens.
In research conducted by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology has concluded that violence shown by media does lead to more aggressive behavior in viewers (Mugge). Huffington Post argues that enforcing better gun control would be more beneficial to all people, and would not infringe on the 2nd amendment which states that the right to bear arms should not be infringed upon. The author David Burke writes in fact that the proposed reinforcements to the current gun legislation would not infringe on the constitutional rights, as the proposed additions are stricter background checks and a federal ownership database. Contrary to the banning guns proposal which was introduced (Burke).
According to POLITCO the amount of people in support of stricter gun control has increased. They also stated the control or constant that seems to occurs every time the gun control debate is revived, which is that gun control support and opponents always seem to rally to the call. Yet as of February of 2018 the amount of people in support of gun control seems to has risen, but the more essential point is that the rise in support is for the banning of item such as bump stocks, which increase a weapons rate of fire, and high capacity magazines. Though the number of those supporting an outright ban of guns has risen as well, the change isn’t as dramatic as people are concerned with doing more to ensure that those that shouldn’t have weapons, such as mentally ill and those with a history of a pull towards violence, don’t get their hands on a weapon.
Burke also addresses other arguments presented by the opponents of gun control, such as guns for private citizen protection. Burke address the claim that if stricter gun control is implemented citizens won’t have the protection that they had with their weapons, but as shown before gun control will not outright ban weapons for that exact reason. The only reason that a gun owner would lose his weapon would be if he failed to pass the background check, or if he has an excess amount of guns. Burke says in his article, “the average gun owning household in America has more than eight guns.” He further shows this to be unreasonable as there has been no situation in which a gun owner had to use all of the weapons in his household to protect himself from a criminal, and if it has happened the percentage would be so insignificant that using it as a statistic for allowing gun owners to own more weapons would be counter intuitive and would not provide a stable backing.
In all of his article David Burke analyzes the arguments presented by the opponents of gun control. His media outlet Huffington Post is notorious for presenting articles that are heavily biased towards the liberal viewpoint, but Burke provides an analyzation that addresses both sides of the argument. It is expected that his article would be a rebuttal of the argument due to the title of his article “Why The Arguments Against Gun Control Are Wrong.” Thus the article is placed in the liberal media do to its view on gun control. It would be wise to address the fact that Burke addresses the fears of gun control and does not completely call the conservative viewpoint trash, as much of the liberal media seems to have begun to do. In conclusion stricter gun control should be implemented due to the fact that by decreasing the amount of guns in total has brought down the amount of gun related deaths in not only Australia, but also Japan (Weller).
According to an article by Business Insider, Japan was one of the first countries to implement gun control and was not using a limiting tactic, but a prohibition tactic attempting to have no guns amongst the population, even wanting to not have police carry firearms. Japan’s regulations are indeed strict, when a citizen wishes to acquire a firearm, they have to go through an extensive process that contains an all-day class, written test, an active shooting-range test, a mental health evaluation, and a background check into your history. on top of that every three years they have to redo the class and exam (Weller). The regulations put in place ensure that those that gain access to the firearms are in top mental shape and understand the responsibility of having a firearm.
Although this is a remedy to gun violence criminals still whether they have a gun or knife still remain criminals. Due to the fact that a very small portion of the population contains guns and can only use them in sanctioned events, the fear of being shot is very low along with the likelihood of being shot. This means that criminals will have a higher success rate of killing with weapons such as a knife, though that cannot be said as a certainty, as other factors could affect the action. Yet we can still look at the attack of July 26, 2016 in where a man attacked a mental hospital and killed 19 people with a knife (Serhan). This is essential as it shows that strict gun control is not a solve all solution it will only attempt to solve gun crimes, yet it may have some effect on other rates as well. Business Insider is a trusted international news outlet that tends to lean towards a more liberal outlook on topics, this brings a bit of bias to the article they wrote as stricter gun control is generally a more liberally supported idea.
Though the information provided is reliable and is used by many others when attempting to discuss this topic. Based on this evidence I would lean to support the implementation of gun control. Though I feel that the United States has placed themselves into a trap where the Constitution prohibits the Federal Government from eliminating guns, but also as guns are as widespread as they are now taking them all away and ensuring the safety of the citizens would be near impossible as not only would criminals attempt to keep their weapons and probably begin using them more in retaliation, the citizens who support the 2nd Amendment would take a firm stance against the government to protect their right.
I believe action should be taken to implement more regulations, I support this because I am a follower of the statement “ All men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These words support the idea the we all have the right to choose how we live our lives, and how are lives can be affected by others. I would not have had an issue with gun control, but now not only are guns taking more lives today, but a cloak of fear is descending upon the nation, with children of all ages wondering if they are going to be the next school shooting statistic.More research needs to be studied to look at how cultural influences determines the mentality of a nation. The major issue with the topic is that most of the arguments used by others are more centered around emotion, while in order to make a efficient and well versed decision statistical facts would need to be presented and these facts would have to be from nations that are culturally similar, as, especially in Japan, culture seems to be a large driving factor in the actions both good and bad of a nation.
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