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Negative Impacts of Guns and the Importance of Gun Control

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Citizens with firearms have a sense of security especially when they carry those weapons with them. For some, it also provides a sense of safety and confidence. However, there are those who are not comfortable and believe that possessing a weapon only brings you closer to harm. While this could be an overreaction, those who are unnerved may have a basis to be concerned as the increased violence of shootings continue to grow each year. For these reasons, gun control laws should be strictly enforced to protect the safety of everyone.

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It is proven that firearms can be deadly when used incorrectly. Therefore, people turn to guns as a variation for self-defense. Unfortunately, the statistics could be farther from the truth. In a more recent report made in 2017, it was found that out of an average of 100,120 injuries related to firearms, nearly 76% of those injuries were from assaults. These guns were not used in self-protection, but with the intention to physically harm somebody. Furthermore, of the additional 23%, 4% of them were suicide attempts. This eventually leads to the number of deaths caused by suicide itself. According to the same report, the average death per year was 363,383. As a consequence of firearms being easily accessible, suicides make up most of those deaths with 22,274 people. Firearms are not used for safety but with the intention of harming either oneself or another.[1]

Which falls into another problem, wherein guns do not prevent crimes. As we have seen over the past few years alone, the amount of mass shootings has drastically gone up in percentage. In this year alone, we have already seen numerous amounts of incidents related to firearms.[2] The deadliest shooting of this year only being a month ago, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Twelve people had lost their lives due to a “disgruntled employee” opening fire.[3] There is no question that firearms are regularly used in criminal activity. It is constantly pushed towards the public that guns are ever so helpful in defending ourselves and those around us. This, unfortunately, could be farther from the truth. Despite those statements, more and more reports of increasing misconducts are piling against the small amount of research that proves guns are of no help. People believe that having guns on or around us make us safer but they could not be more wrong. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, there are more chances that there will be many deaths within a household alone.[4] Consequently, comedians have poked fun at America’s gun laws, pointing out many flaws that could be fixed easily had Congress been more persistent with these problems.

In an area with a large number of guns, it is proven to have more criminal activity than those areas with fewer firearms. After a study done by the RAND corporation, they were able to conclude that guns were more likely to be used with criminal behavior. They studied six homicides and found that four incidents included firearms.[5] With this problem, it is likely that law enforcement officers are more inclined to be killed by a firearm. RJ Kaminski, an associate professor at the University of South Carolina, found that most of the violent deaths in high gun areas were all, in fact, law officers.[6] Due to their dangerous tasks, they are trained in marksmanship and given equipment to keep the public safe. However, when the public that they are being paid to protect has the same weapons, law officers have no choice but to engage with their guns out. Researchers from well-known U.S. colleges did a study and investigated the gun laws of each state. What they found was nothing new. With every state whose firearms laws were less than strict, the mass shootings increased.[7] This is only possible because in all those cities where gun crimes are high in numbers, guns are more than easily attainable.

Even though Federal laws require those who purchase firearms should be 21, in many states of America the legal age to buy a gun is 18. Already there are many problems with this, considering the number of school shootings there has been over the past years. Of course, some people shoot guns as a way of bonding with one another, therefore allowing those to simply buy a gun whenever they please. However, they need to take into account what those people are buying. In every state where there was a mass shooting, take the Parkland Shooting as an example, the laws – at the time – required that the purchaser should be 18 years or older. A 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was able to obtain a gun and made Valentine’s Day a devastating moment in history.[8][9]

America’s gun laws are too passive and that brings another reason for doubt against firearms: they are one of the leading countries that add to the statistics of world-wide gun deaths. The problem lies within the structure of their views. No doubt Brazil towers over America in gun violence, but the fact that the U.S. takes pride in their weapons is absolutely inconceivable. Compared to other First World countries, the gun laws in America really catch the reader’s eye. In China, where the population is 1.8 billion, their gun violence is much lower than that of the U.S. It is the same for every well-rounded country. North America does not lead by just a couple hundred dead, it leads by thousands. If people take the time to look at Australia and their non permissive gun laws, they can see that their laws have worked extremely well for them. Ever since their last mass shooting in 1996, their government quickly took action in banning the weapons to the public. Of course, since then their laws have been slightly toned down. Nevertheless, their laws are much stricter than those of the United States’, requiring safety courses, background check done by police officers, and valid reasons to own a gun.[10][11]

One of the bigger problems in the U.S. is that firearms are too accessible to the general public. There are a plethora of objects that are harder to obtain than a gun and are more necessary to a person’s health. For example, it is easier to get a handgun than receiving mental health care. Mental care is crucial to those who are in a bad state of mind while a firearm is used most of the time for leisure. According to the Mental Health Care of America, more than 18% of the nation’s adults suffer from some form of mental illness.[12] However, not only do the adults endure the torture of mental health condition, but the children of America as well. With 34 psychologists per 100,000 citizens, there is no doubt that seeking help for mental turmoil is a task that should not exist.[13] As the mental health care system does not get the support it needs, it would be hard to aid those who are in dire need of help. It would only make sense, should firearms be harder to get than something that would help someone’s life improve.

The final argument, the one every gun control battle leads back to, is the Second Amendment. Due to Americans being overly proud of their freedom of owning guns, they constantly use the amendment for protection for their weapons. However, as the amendment was made, it says, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As a result of those multiple breaks in that sentence, many people have argued and debated whether or not the amendment protects the right of the individual. Many problems have arisen from this amendment as republicans have tried getting people to see what they see and vice versa. The problem even dates back to the 1800s in which even the courts would debate what the amendment truly states. It indeed is very messy and hard to keep up with but if we really read the amendment, it is obviously and only applied exclusively to the militias.[14] They are people of America’s nation and therefore have the right to own firearms in the necessity to protect the country.

In the end, America’s goal is to protect themselves from any danger, even turning to guns for protection. Unfortunately, facts prove that guns are no better protection than those of criminals with knives. With high crime rates related to firearms, high areas with said weapons are more dangerous for people living there. All the while Americans are desperate to keep their badge of honor, taking away different things from the Second Amendment and trying to save face. Even so, there is no defense against firearms being protection. People have lost loved ones because of incidents like the Parkland Shooting and the October 1 Shooting. One shooting is one too many shootings to experience in a lifetime. This is why gun control should be implemented quickly.

[1]  “Gun Violence in America.” Every Town Research. April 9, 2019. https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-america/ (June 11, 2019).

[2]  Bump, Philip. “More Americans were shot to death by March 6 this year than died on

D-Day.” The Washington Post. June 6, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/06/more-americans-were-shot-death-by-march-this-year-than-died-d-day/. (June 12, 2019).

[3]  Holcombe, Madeline. Morales, Mark. Yan, Holly. “New details emerge in the Virginia Beach mass shooting that left 12 people dead.” CNN. June 3, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/02/us/virginia-beach-shooting-sunday/index.html.  (June 14, 2019)

[4]  Wenner Moyer, Melinda. “More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows.”

Scientific American. October 1, 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/more-guns-do-not-stopmore-crimes-evidence-shows/?redirect=1 (June 11, 2019).

[5]  Karimov, Rouslan I. “The Relationship Between Firearm Prevalence and Violent Crime.” RAND Corporation. March 2, 2018. https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/essays/firearmprevalence-violent-crime.html. (July 27, 2019).

[6]  Swedler, David I. “Prevalence and Homicides of Law Enforcement Officers in the United

States.” NCBI. October 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566543/#bib13. (June 14, 2019).

[7]  Lopez, German. “Study: where gun laws are weaker, there are more mass shootings.” Vox.

March 8, 2019. https://www.vox.com/2019/3/8/18254626/mass-shootings-gun-violence-lawsstudy. (June 14, 2019).

[8]  Chapter, Casey. “How Have Florida’s Gun Laws Changed Since Parkland?” WFSU Public 

Media. February 14, 2019. https://news.wfsu.org/post/how-have-floridas-gun-laws-changedparkland (June 14, 2019).

[9]  “In many U.S. states, 18 is old enough to buy a semiautomatic.” CBS News. February 16,

2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/in-many-u-s-states-18-is-old-enough-to-buy-a-semiautomatic/ (June 14, 2019).

[10]  “Death by Gun: Top 20 States with highest rates.” CBS News.

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/death-by-gun-top-20-states-with-highest-rates/21/ (June 14, 2019).

[11]  Lopez, German. “America is one of 6 countries that make up more than half of gun deaths worldwide.” Vox. August 29, 2018. https://www.vox.com/2018/8/29/17792776/us-gun-deaths-global. (June 14, 2019).

[12]  “The State of Mental Health in America.” Mental Health America. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america (July 27, 2019).

[13]  “Psychologists.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. April 12, 2019. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm. (July 27, 2019).

[14]  Waldman, Michael. The Second Amendment: A Biography. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2014. 69-72.


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