Gun Ownership Should Be Seriously Controlled
The United States have experienced a series of gruesome shooting incidences ever witnessed in the world. Going down the memory lane from the Columbine High and the Atlanta shooting incidences of 1999, the 2002 gun attack involving two men in Washington DC, to recent series of shooting incidences like the horrifying shooting spree at a movie theater in Colorado, the Newtonian elementary school shooting in 2012 and the fresh incident on September 16 2013 where a gunman opened fire at the U.S Navy Yard in Washington killing 13 civilians (Rucker N.P), tells us that something is not going well with our guns. Gun control simply involves regulation of sale and use of guns within a population. According to Khan (N.P) there are over 310 million guns circulating in the hands of civilians in the United States which is more than a quarter of guns in the world. This means that we are yet to see the worst if gun control is not emphasized.
The unregulated number of guns in the United States has led to increased killings in the country involving homicides, suicides and massacres as experienced in the recent incidences in schools and public place shootings. As stated by the president of the Brandy Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Mr. Dan Gross in a rejoinder to the Colorado Theatre Shooting incidence in 2012, the incidences of shootings are a clear indication that guns are enablers of killers (Hughes N.P). The rise in crime in the United States is linked to lack of gun control. Most crimes including terrorism, rape, kidnappings, drug dealings, bank robberies to mention but a few are committed with the help of guns. Most of these guns are either registered or non-registered. Even though some people believe that gun control should be targeted at preventing illegal guns, most crimes are committed using legally acquired guns. According to (NYAGV N.P) more than 3,800 people died from accidental shooting from licensed gun owners between 2005 and 2010 with more than 33 percent being below the age of 25, which is another reason why we should consider gun regulation. This is a very alarming number of deaths that could be prevented if only guns could be controlled in our country.
Opponents of gun control argue on the ground of The Second Amendment of the U.S Constitution which provides people with the right to self protection in case they feel threatened. This provision has permitted and enabled millions of people throughout the United States to acquire guns legitimately or illegitimately. This uncontrolled weaponry among the population has only proved to be dangerous. According to Eric Holder the U.S Attorney General, the average number of mass killings using guns has tripled in the recent years in the United States (RT N.P). According to the AG, between the years 2000 and 2008, the number of killings has risen from an annual average of five to unimaginable 12 shootings in 2013, a factor that reflects the increase in the number of guns in circulation in the country (Andres and Hempstead 4). The constitution upholds life and anything that threatens human life should not be entertained, including guns.
Lack of gun control is to blame for guns that fall in the wrong hands including children and teenagers, mentally unstable individuals, people with questionable character and criminals. If gun control is exercised, perpetrators of merciless killings may find it difficult to have access to guns, hence reduced crimes and bloody killings. Introducing tough measures for gun ownership such as certification procedure, examining a citizen closely before allowing them to own a gun, prohibiting automatic rifles to citizens and limiting the number of ammunitions or magazine size to civilian gun owners could largely help suicide, massacres, homicides and other forms of crime in the country. In addition, the government should control gun usage across the country. This include guns for hunting and prohibiting gun possession in public places such as learning institutions, social places, churches, public parks or in any social event. Regular stops and search practices can help reduce the instances where criminals carry guns to harm others or to commit other crimes (Andres and Hampstead 2). Gun control will also enable the government to account for the guns in the hands of its citizens through this strict certification procedure of gun ownership and use (Andres and Hempstead 5).
The United States has become most dangerous part of the planet as far as careless killings are concerned. The world over knows the United States` culture as a “gun culture” as depicted in the media particularly in the movies, video games and more importantly in the news exposing shooting incidences that have become a trend. The question is why are other countries not experiencing this madness? Well the answer is gun control. Australia is a very good example that we can emulate, since it is a first world country and a close ally of the United States. In 1996 an incident involving a 28 year old man who opened fire with a semi automatic rifle in public killing about 100 people prompted John Howard, the then Australia Prime Minister to introduce gun control (Schifrin N.P). Gun control involved buyback program to disarm the public and the enactment of fresh laws such as tightening gun ownership certification, banning assault rifles, and establishing national uniform registration standards. Amazingly, the risk of dying by being shot have reduced by half in the last 16 years due to these gun control measures (Schifrin N.P). Today, Australia is a safe place and there are rarely cases of shootings. How many more massacres does the U.S need to experience to adopt gun control?
Conclusively, the debate of gun control in the United States has been politicized over the years. With massacring of innocent people including children, we tend to wonder when the congress is going to act. The National Rifle Association plays a great role in opposing gun control bill, whereas an overwhelmingly 90 percent of Americans are in support of gun control. We have lost one too many lives and the time to act is now. To achieve gun control, it is the role of every caring citizen to act and compel the legislators to support gun control bill and make the U.S not only a great country, but a safe place for all to live. When Howard introduced gun control in Australia, he was afraid he would be rejected by the people, but alas! the laws worked and Australians today credit him for that. America needs such heroes to achieve gun control.
Andrés, Antonio and Hempstead, Katherine. Gun control and suicide: The impact of state firearm regulations in the United States, 1995 – 2004, Journal of Health Policy, Vol.101 No.1 (2011): 95-103. http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/20728/1/MPRA_paper_20728.pdf
Hughes, Trevor. Colorado shootings reignite gun control debate, USA TODAY. Web. July 23, 2012.http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-07-22/aurora-gun-control-debate/56419042/1 (23/11/13)
Khan Sabith. 4 Reasons It Has Become Clear We Need Gun Control Laws. December 18, 2012. Web. http://www.policymic.com/articles/20940/4-reasons-it-has-become-clear-we-need-gun-control-laws 23/11/2013.
NYAGV. Fact Sheet: Accidental Shootings. Web. http://nyagv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Accidental-Shootings-NYAGV.pdf 23/11/13 (23/11/13)
RT. Average number of mass shootings per year in US has tripled – AG Holder. October 21, 2013. Web. http://rt.com/usa/holder-mass-shootings-triple-519/ (23/11/13).
Rucker Patrick. Factbox: Major shooting incidents in the United States, September 16 2013. Web. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/16/us-usa-navy-shooting-factbox-idUSBRE98F0ZN20130916 23/11/13 (23/11/13)
Schifrin, Nick. Will Lessons From Down Under Stem the Undertaker Here? Web. December 19, 2012 http://abcnews.go.com/International/australia-model-successful-gun-control-laws/story?id=18007055#.UX7sRVJ4PIU (23/11/2013).
Gun Ownership Should Be Seriously Controlled