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Gun control has been a huge controversy for many years, so many people believe that if we have strict gun laws then crime rates drop. Is that true, if we control guns, we control violence? Is gun control necessary? And what research and testing is needed to find the answer? These are a few of the many questions that I have come across while doing research on the topic, and I have found many explanations that help better the understanding of gun control.
Being someone who is pro-gun always hears one of the biggest debates in today’s society regarding gun control with the famous quote of the National Rifle Association which say, “Guns don’t kill, people do.” Guns were originally designed for the military, yes, they were made to produce a certain type of violence, but for strong defense against enemies. People today have taken guns and made them into a bad thing, they are misused, and they are a big factor in many crimes, from robbery, to murder, and even for suicides, but does this mean the blame should be on the gun?
Bill Whittle, is an American conservative blogger and political commentator. After the 2012 presidential election, Whittle came out with a speech known as the “Virtual President of the United States,” he wanted to bring common sense into modern politics. He speaks about how we deny the obvious by wanting to ban guns because we know deep down that we cannot ban violence, murder, and insanity, which are the actual reasons for crimes. As I listened to his speech I thought about how we believe that we can control something like guns. Society is always going to look for something or someone to blame.
Let us say that we somehow found a way to control guns or even get rid of them completely, people are then going to try and ban pocket knives, or even something as common as a wrench or hammer, we will always look for something to blame, something other than the obvious which is, if someone wants to murder, they are going to find a way.
The huge want for banning assault rifles is a big topic when it comes to gun control, saying that they are dangerous and are constantly used in gun related murders. In 2016 there were 374 murders that involved all type of rifles, when murders with knives was at 1,604, that is 5 times more murders. So, does that mean we need to now have knife control?
Now many us believe that we have to choose a side either we oppose guns, or we support them. In a journal article written by Hugh Lafollette titled Gun Control, Lafollette explains that we don’t need to decide if we support or oppose, but to decide “who can own which guns under what condition.” Being pro-gun I don’t believe gun a necessary action, completely. To explain, I think we need to have a little stricter process when purchasing a gun, we should control the parts available to turn your gun into an automatic weapon, but we don’t need to ban them completely. I believe that there are many other factors that come into play when it comes to gun violence including religion, race, age, poverty levels, violent media, drugs, and parenting.
In 1992 the Bureau of Justice Statistics ran statistics on homicide rates for teens ages 15-19 years olds due to firearms from 1985 to 1990, and the numbers more than tripled for African-American teens, when they barely doubled with all teens. Per 100,000 all teens taken as a whole was 5.8 in 1985 and rose to 14.0 in 1990 while homicides for African-American teens was 37.5 in 1985 and rose to 105.3 in 1990, meaning that most of the homicides were African-American teens. This showing that race can be a huge factor when it comes to gun violence.
The Bureau of Justice ran statistics on Annual rate of Handgun victimization from 1987-1992 they tested ages by their race and gender, white male, black male, white female, and black female, it started low in all, but there was a huge noticeable spike with all ages between 16-19 and then it begins to decline from ages 20-24 all the way to 65 and up, but black male and black female continued to stay a little higher than the white male, and white female. (Carter) Now racism is also a huge problem in the united states, and causes many controversies in our society, but in my opinion if we were able to stop all the racism it would also lower gun related crimes.
Video games have also shown a huge impact on teens over the last 20 years. Open fire massacre’s including the columbine high school shooting, and the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting had one thing in common, violent video games. Now psychologist from Iowa State University say that violent media though it is one factor, it is not the largest. Violent games can stir short time hostile urges and aggressive behaviors, but they are only short term. But I believe that these small urges that are received from violent games spark other emotions that cause the someone to get to the breaking point which cause them to commit these terrible massacres.
When it comes to testing gun control there are a couple research methods that can be used, one is cross-sectional, which is data collected from many geographical locations within the same year. There is also time-series research, which is data collected from one particular area over many years. Though these are some of the best methods of testing, there are also some flaws in them.
John R. Lott Jr wrote a book called More Guns, Less Crime Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, in his book he talks about these methods, he brings up an example that helps us understand the difficulty of testing gun control. “Let’s say we decide to study an area that had high crime rates and adapted stricter gun laws that eventually lowered gun crime, but it was still higher than another area that had low crime rates and didn’t adapt the strict gun laws, would it then look like stricter gun laws still cause higher crime rate?”
Gun control is a never-ending fight, and I know that there will never be a for sure yes or no on gun bans, but I think that we can improve how they are used, by trying to get rid of the other factors involved. The Nations society has so many problems and so many people believe that violence is the answer. Yes, guns are easy to obtain, yes, they make criminals feel like they can control any situation, and yes, they bring fear to many people, but they are also a good thing. Now I’m not saying that we are going to live in a perfect world of happiness, and there is no way to ban human emotions, but with all the problems of racism, drugs, control from gangs, and bad parenting, we are creating an environment that is pushing people to turn to guns.
When we realize guns can be a good thing and can stop violent acts from happening, used for defense against an offender, and I believe that if a criminal is faced with a gun and is stopped from doing whatever he was planning, then it could also possibly scare that same criminal from committing future crimes. I know we can’t know for sure that everybody is mentally sane enough to have a gun and use it for good and not bad, but just how violent offenders use guns to scare, if they know people have guns for defensive purposes, then they know there is a bigger chance of being injured or dying if they try to commit a crime.
In conclusion, I know that being a gun owner makes me partial to the argument, but I am not completely one sided. I find that there are flaws on both ends of the argument, but I am going to do my part to be a safe owner of guns.
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