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Gun control is a topic that has been exhausted over the years due to many mixed beliefs. Our country has been divided on the topic due to mass murder rates and the basis of holding true to the United States Second Amendment. The Second Amendment states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The people should always have the right to defend themselves against a corrupt government. Therefore, we should not restrict gun ownership. Americans who pass a background check and do not have a violent criminal record should have the right to own any and all handguns, rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles.
Self-defense is a basic right provided to U.S. citizens by the Constitution. Our country was founded on the right to own firearms, and if we were to infringe upon that, we would not be the same country we were originally. When the constitution was founded, George Washington was asked if guns should be banned. Washington wanted the people to have guns in order to keep the government in check. When the United States declared its independence from Great Britain the Bill of Rights was founded in order to develop a better and happier way of living for the people. One of the rules put into place was that the people should have the right to properly fight back against a tyrannical government. Some may look at that idea as crazy or even outrageous. However, the harsh truth is that if you look at every civilization ever, they have all failed. More times than not, this happens due to a disconnect between the people and the government. Tyranny in government can happen in a short matter of time, as seen with the Turkish government. The Bill of Rights was created in order to ensure this wouldn’t happen in the United States. If we were to limit the people’s right to fight back against the government, how are we different from any previous civilization that has failed? Often in the past, governments have completely overpowered their people leading to destruction. The people of the United States currently have reasonable firepower to fight back against the government if needed. With the firepower the U.S. military has today, they could completely wipe us out if we were not to be properly armed. We cannot fight their power of fully automatic weapons, tanks, bombs, etc with sticks and stones, or even handguns.
It is often believed that if guns were to be banned, crime would go down significantly. Several studies have believed that with stricter gun laws would lead to less gun accessibility which in turn would lead to fewer mass murders. Researcher Gary Kleck noted that findings of the efficacy of gun control laws alone are inconclusive by themselves. Other studies, such as ones by John Moorhouse found that there is no evidence that gun control reduces gun crimes. This 2016 study examined the correlation between mass shootings and firearm ownership in 171 countries. Moorhouse states, “India ranked second highest in gun ownership, but didn’t even crack the top five countries in the world for mass shootings.” A good example of this would be to take a look at Australia after they banned semi-automatic weapons, pump shotguns, and rifles. Research paper about gun conctrol provided by Gary Kleck shows that following this ban there was insufficient evidence proving that this was a reason for the decline in mass shootings. This is a perfect example that the ban on firearms will not guarantee fewer mass shootings. People often believe that a reduction of available firearms will, in turn, lead to fewer homicides. However, researchers Chapman, Alpers, Agho, and Jones have proven these beliefs inaccurate due to insufficient evidence to verify the weapons ban lead to the decrease in mass shootings in Australia. The assault weapons ban of 1994 made it so Americans were no longer allowed to obtain assault weapons. This ban lasted from 1994-2004. A 2014 study by Mark Gius found that this ban had no impacts on homicide rates during this 10-year period.
A ban of guns would just turn people to committing crimes with other just as harmful weapons. Whether with knives or home-made bombs, if people want to commit violent crimes, they will find a way to do it. Information provided by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that you are 19 times more likely to be stabbed than shot.
Some of our nation’s deadliest and most tragic events were carried out without the use of guns. Just recently, the Boston bombings injured and killed many, leaving the world speechless. This was all done by a couple of backpacks loaded with explosives.
Or consider what is perhaps the worst day in American history, September 11, 2001. This event left over 3,000 people dead and another 6,000 injured. Mass murders will happen whether guns are legal or not due to all the different weapons available. The point is that if an individual, or group, wants to murder or harm others, they will find a way. To look at guns as the only problem in mass-murders is outrageous.
Looking back ten years, about 39 percent of households in America owned firearms. The last recorded percentage of gun-owning households was just above 43 percent. These percentages have bounced around over the past 20 years,reaching highs of 45 percent in 2011, and lows of 37 percent in 2013. Statistics show that in 2011 there were just above 32,000 deaths by firearms. These numbers include intentional, unintentional, suicide and legal intervention. However, According to ProCon.org, a website providing neutral and credible research, in 2013, with nearly eight percent fewer households with firearms, deaths by guns increased to nearly 34,000. So, with fewer percentages of households with guns, the number of gun crimes actually went up. If we were to just look at this evidence, it would be fair to say that an increase in households with guns would not lead to an increase in deaths by guns. The last recorded number of guns in the US was just over 393 million. Ten years prior to this, in 2007, there were just under 300 million guns. The population in 2007 was just about even with the number of guns sitting around 300 million. Sarah Mervosh, a researcher for the New York Times reported that “Gun deaths in 2007 were 32,000 and gun deaths in 2017 were 38,000”. Yes, there was a 6,000 increase but if we are to look at this per capita, the numbers look a little different. The number of guns increased, but so did the number of people. The number of guns increased far greater than the number of guns, so with an increase of over 90 million guns and only 6,000 more deaths, the increase in deaths is not as alarming. Also, with the population increasing nearly 25 million over those 10 years, there is bound to be an increase in deaths by guns. To add on to this, there were about 1.31 guns per person in 2017. In 2007, there were only 1.03 guns per person. By doing basic math, the numbers are clear that with the increase in population along with the increase in guns, the number of deaths by guns is actually fewer than it was with fewer guns per person.
Gun ownership is essential for Americans because good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. The National Safety Council states that including suicides, there were about 40,000 gun related deaths in 2018. Taking away suicide, there were anywhere from 12-16 thousand homicides from guns. However, The National Safety Council also recorded that anywhere from 500,000 (lowest estimate) to 3,000,000 (highest estimate) lives were saved from guns.
The numbers here prove that far more lives are saved rather than lost due to guns. Defensive use of firearms highly outweighs the negative use. An active shooter can do an extreme amount of damage within a matter of minutes. These valuable minutes could be the time it takes for law enforcement to show up on the scene. Now, what if one or maybe two people are near the scene of the crime and are armed as well? The threat could be eliminated far before things get really out of hand. If the active shooter is stopped by an armed civilian, the number of casualties could go down significantly. All it takes is one armed civilian to stop a possible deadly shooting. If we look at one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, Pulse nightclub, the shooter was able to kill nearly 50 people within a matter of minutes. If one person was equipped to fight back, this threat could have been eliminated with far fewer casualties. This idea was proven by a man named Stephen Willeford who is also an NRA firearms instructor. In Sutherland Springs, Texas a man walked into a church and killed 27 people. However, this number was limited by Stephen Willeford when he shot the active gunman with an AR-15 forcing the shooter to drop his rifle and flee the scene. Although 27 people did lose their lives in this tragic event, it was cut short by one man equipped with an AR-15.
If criminals want to get guns, they will and it will be relatively easy for them due to the strength of the black market. No matter what laws we enact to prevent people from obtaining firearms, they will still find a way to get them. An example of this would be drugs. Drugs are illegal, yet they still have a massive presence in the world today and are very easy to obtain. This would be the same case with firearms. If they were to be banned, they wouldn’t go away, it would just be harder for law-abiding citizens to get them. This would lead to more bad guys with guns, and fewer good guys with guns. If criminals have access to firearms and law-abiding citizens do not, how is anyone supposed to stop the criminal with a gun? This is exactly like the idea of a tyrannical government. If people have no way to fight back against an opposing threat, it is simply unfair and serious damage can be inflicted. Examples of this are the Aurora movie theater shooting and Sandy Hook Elementary. A shooter armed to harm was able to just that with their victims like sitting ducks. They were forced to hide and pray they were not caught by an oncoming bullet. If law-abiding citizens are not allowed to have guns then there is no way to stop these threats. Criminals are the ones committing a majority of gun-related crimes. Civilians should have the right to properly fight back against an opposing threat if the time comes.
Legal gun owners are not the problem with mass shootings. There are over 40 million legal gun owners in the United States today. Information from everytownresearch.org shows the evidence gathered by several researchers. The information provided evidence about the number of mass shootings by legally prohibited gun owners in 2018. Out of 307 mass shootings, one in three were by shooters legally prohibited to buy firearms. Out of all the gun owners in the U.S., there is an extremely low percentage of mass murders by legal gun owners. It is not fair to punish all gun owners by the negative decisions of some. When guns are in the hands of responsible owners we can limit the number of crimes involving guns. With proper background checks and mental health tests rejecting anyone from purchasing a firearm with any sort of violent background, we can limit the number of guns in the wrong hands.
Lastly, we do not live in a perfect world and we never will. Crimes will happen, deaths will happen, guns will be obtained by criminals and guns will be used to kill innocent people. With that being said, we can only do our best. This includes keeping guns in the right hands, having ways to fight off attacks if needed and lastly and most importantly, holding up what our country was built and founded on; the right to bear arms. Once we start changing and amending what our country was built on by stripping our natural born rights clearly stated in the Bill of Rights, that is when we will fail. Owning a gun is a fundamental right to protection. Whether this is self-defense, our property, or the government, every civilian deserves the right to protect themselves. Crime will happen and people need to realize that we do not and never will live in a utopian society. Guns give us the power of freedom. Abigail Abrams, New York Times writer, conducted a study surveying a number of Americans and their beliefs on what freedom is to them. “Many people believe that if you are stripping their right to rebel, that is not right by the constitution”. Her research went on to show that 74 percent of gun owners say owning a gun is essential to their freedom.
The United States broke free from the world’s greatest superpower at the time, Great Britain, by fighting and doing what other civilizations could not. The country was born off of a violent revolution leading to strong gun culture. The constitution was put in place in order to never let this happen to The United States. George Washington saw the importance of the people owning guns and found it essential in order to have happy people and prevent the possibility of a tyrannical government. This strong gun culture in The United States remains true today because of what the country was founded upon.
A common argument that favors stricter gun control is that more guns lead to more gun violence. Vermont is one of the most lenient states with guns and gun owners, with a permit, have the right to open carry of their firearms. With that being said, evidence provided by Bindu Kalesan shows that Vermont has some of the lowest gun violence rates in the country ranking just behind Hawaii and Rhode Island while Chicago, where gun control laws are some of the strictest, Gun crime rates are very high. Other evidence from The Center for Disease and Prevention Control shows that “states, where people are more likely to carry arms, are less likely to be attacked”. This is because, in many attacker-victim situations, if the victim shows a firearm, the attacker flees. Without guns available, it can be projected that rape, burglary, and other crime rates would go up.
Steve Byas a researcher, and blogger on gun violence reported on the Gun violence in the United Kingdom reports that ever since England banned guns, the murder rate has increased drastically. “Following the ban, one year later, death by knives increased 21 percent”.
It is easy to jump to a false conclusion that with more guns, more deaths will come. However, with more responsible gun owners, it is proven that more lives are saved by guns than lost.
One of the most common arguments for gun control is on the availability of assault weapons and how they are not necessary. Many believe that there is no valid reason for a civilian to own an AR-15 style weapon. Many of these people believe that these weapons are the majority of the problem. These beliefs on assault rifles are flawed by their knowledge. An assault rifle is a semi-automatic weapon. Meaning when you pull the trigger, one shot fires. This is the same exact function of a handgun. One shot, one bullet. One of the deadliest shootings in history, Texas Tech, was done by one man with handguns. A mass shooting is defined by a shooting killing more than four people. Data recorded by the FBI shows that 56 percent of mass shootings are committed with a handgun and only about 26 percent are from a rifle. This evidence shows that contrary to popular belief, assault weapons are not leading weapon choice for mass shootings. Handguns are actually capable of firing a higher caliber bullet, leading to more damage than an AR-15.
The topic of gun control will probably never come to an end, and no one would ever be happy even if we did. The U.S. is currently very divided in their beliefs and neither side is budging. The purpose of my research paper is to shed some insight to those who may be pro-gun-control and hopefully open up their mind a little bit into why I believe what I believe. Many won’t agree, and some may call gun advocates crazy. This is a very important and relevant topic in today’s society and one that can save lives around the world. Whether you believe guns end or save lives, they are part of what this country was founded on, and many Americans believe we should hold up the basis of our country in order to prevent what has happened to every other civilization, great or horrible: collapse.
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