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Gun control has been a topic of debate for almost a century due to the increase in gun violence. There has been an outcry from the public to political officials to place limitations on citizens’ rights to own guns. These limitations force anybody who legally tries to purchase a firearm to get a background check. In some states there is a waiting period that makes people wait a certain amount days before they can receive their guns. Background checks restrict people who have a history of mental illness or who have a criminal record from purchasing a firearm. The response to this issue has been both positive and negative. In recent years the public has been in favor of more gun laws because of the multiple mass shootings that have occurred in the past 7 years. The shootings that killed multiple school children really touched the hearts of many Americans.
People who are in favor of gun laws believe that placing restrictions on citizens gun rights or banning guns all together will make America a safer place to live. However, people who are opposed to this issue believe the more guns the better. The argument of self-defense is the oppositions leading argument against gun control. They even believe that teachers and students should be armed in schools.
The National Firearms Act of 1934 was the first gun control law that was passed in the United States. The NFA was created because of the increase in mafia crimes in the early 20th century. It was later revised after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. In 1993 the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act made states wait 5 days before handing over a firearm to an individual who doesn’t have a gun license.
There have been hundreds of federal and state laws that have been created to reduce gun violence but are these laws making an impact on gun violence. My essay is going to determine if gun control laws are effective or not. Most gun laws that have been passed recently were created in response to mass shootings, but I will provide persuasive arguments to look at how gun control affects all types of gun-related homicides.
According to research, gun control laws can be effective if the offender doesn’t have a single intent to kill. A single intent to kill is when the offender’s primary motive is to kill their victim. Frank Z states if the offender has a single intent to kill the offender will find an alternative weapon to kill their victims. Zimring found that 82% of all homicides committed in Chicago were situational killings which means the motive for these homicides were caused by altercations over things like money or drugs. In his study, Zimring compared the amount of fatal and nonfatal attacks that were carried out by guns to nonfatal and fatal attacks that were carried out by knifes. He found that 2.3 times as many serious knife attacks were reported to police than gun attacks. Although there were more knife attacks recorded, more people died from gunshot wounds. Zimring concluded that if firearms were taken away the homicide rate would drop drastically.
However, even after the removal of firearms people would find alternative weapons to use to commit their crimes such as knifes or their hands and feet. Most of the substitute weapons used in place of guns won’t produce nearly as many homicides as guns do. Naturally like Zimring stated the homicide rate will decrease.
According to research, The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was created in 1993 , required anybody who purchased a handgun to get a background check and be placed on a waiting list before they received their handgun. Jefferey Monroe states that the Brady Act has a chance to affective because it will deter felons and others who are presumed to be dangerous from purchasing a firearm. However, most criminals obtain their guns illegally from friends, relatives, or dealers. The states that were used in Monroe’s study added the Brady Act in 1994 or they had pre-existing Brady-like standards before the Act was passed in 1994. Jefferey Monroe’s research suggests the states that implemented the Brady Act adult homicide rate decreased while the juvenile homicide rate increased. The overall homicide rate decreased more in Brady states than Pre-Brady states. Moore claims that since the decline was so small, the decline could’ve happened by chance.
The targeted group for Monroe’s study were adults because only adults can get background checks since it’s illegal for minors to purchase handguns. Adults are responsible for most of the gun-related homicides that were committed in Brady States. 50% of all homicides were committed by adults in Brady states compared to 39% in pre-Brady states. However, the offender’s age wasn’t found in 33% of the cases. The adult to juvenile homicide ratio could be a lot more similar in the Brady and Pre- Brady states than the data shows. In 1994 after the Brady act was implemented the homicides that were committed by adults in Brady states dropped in 1995 but increased in 1996 and 1997. In Pre-Brady states the adult homicide rate increased in 1995 but decreased in 1996 and 1997.
The Brady act was originally created to reduce handgun use in America. Monroe took this into account while conducting his research and looked at how many non-handguns or other types of guns were being used in homicides during the time of his study. Surprisingly, Monroe found there was a decline in non-handgun use in Brady States, while the number of handguns used in homicides increased slightly. He claims the rise in handgun use was caused by juveniles.
I argue that gun laws won’t affect the overall homicide rate because most criminals don’t buy their weapons from gun dealers legally. Criminals typically buy their guns from illegal sources. Although I don’t believe the overall homicide rate will be affected, I do think that certain types of homicides or gun-related deaths will be affected. The suicide rate should decrease because when a gun dealership does a background check and finds out a person has attempted suicide on numerous occasions, the gun dealers won’t be able to give that person a gun.
Therefore I am against gun control as states with strict gun laws will have a higher gun-related homicide rate than states that have lenient gun laws. Criminals that live in states with strict gun laws will most likely travel to neighboring states that have more lenient gun laws and purchase their guns or they’ll look to use an alternative weapon to carry out their range.
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