Pro Gun Control
After the recent shootings in the United States, the issue of gun control has been a divisive issue in the world of national politics. Recent events should shed light on how our current gun control systems are not working effectively and need to be drastically altered. Contrary to the views espoused by many political leaders in the country, I believe that the only way to reduce gun deaths in America is to increase gun control.
The most common, and frankly most obvious, point used to defend gun control is the argument that an increase in gun control will reduce the amount of deaths caused by guns. Citizens who are unable to pass basic background checks have no business owning guns in the first place. In 2016, guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (70% of all homicides) and suicides (60% of all suicides). Firearms were the 12th leading cause of all deaths in the United States, topping liver disease, hypertension and Parkinson’s disease, as well as deaths from drowning, fire and machinery accidents. Even a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that “legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death.” This argument seems straightforward: if guns are harder to get a hold of, and people who shouldn’t own guns do not have them, there will be less gun violence.
Gun control laws have also been proven to reduce the amount of domestic abuse and stalking cases. Between 2001 and 2015, over 20,126,410 people were killed with a gun by an intimate partner in the United States. This is drastically higher than the amount of United States soldiers who were killed in action in the Afghanistan wars. 57% of mass shootings involve some sort of domestic violence; for instance, the 2011 mass shooting in a Seal Beach, CA hair salon originated from a dispute over the shooter’s custody battle with his ex-wife who was a hair stylist at the salon. If these people did not have guns in the first place, these tragedies may have never occurred.
When approaching this issue from a more fiscal and financial perspective, increases in gun control reduce the governmental costs associated with gun violence. In agreement with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 2010 gun violence cost each person in the U.S. around $564 in tax money. This costs the government 45.5 billion lost in tax revenue, $4.7 billion in court cases, $224 million in insurance claims processing, $133 million for law enforcement and medic response, and $1.4 billion in Medicare and Medicaid costs. In 2014, there were a total of 25,024 hospitalizations for gun injuries; 84% of those injured by firearms were uninsured, which leaves taxpayers responsible for most of those bills. As referenced by the World Health Organization, if there is an increase in gun control, there will be significantly fewer costs associated with violence among civilians.
Many argue that guns are required for citizens to feel safe; however, guns are rarely used in self defense. According to CNN, of the 29,618,300 violent crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, .79% of victims protected themselves with the use or threat of any sort of gun. Of the 84,495,500 property crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, only .12% of victims protected themselves with a gun. This suggests that the claim that people need guns in order to protect themselves is erroneous.
Most people in favor of the lack of gun control explain how the second amendment protects their right to own a weapon, and it is unconstitutional to take that right away. While the second amendment clearly outlines the rights for militias to own guns, it does not expressly state the right for individuals to own guns. Michael Waldman, JD, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, stated, “…there is nothing about an individual right to bear arms in the notes about the Second Amendment when it was being drafted, discussed or ratified; the US Supreme Court declined to rule in favor of the individual right four times between 1876 and 1939; and all law articles on the Second Amendment from 1888 to 1959 stated that an individual right was not guaranteed.” I believe that the constitution is a living document, allowing us to amend it in ways that evolve with modern circumstances; since we do not need militias anymore, it is time to question the historical interpretations associated with the Second Amendment.
Inexorably, there are valid arguments to diminish gun control; however, the fact that more gun control not only reduces the amount of deaths caused by guns, reduces governmental costs associated with gun violence, and leads to less violent conflicts, are indisputable facts.
– Maggie Di Sanza
Why Gun Control Won’t Work
With the outrageous number of mass shootings in the United States over the last few years, it seems clear that we as a society need to make new rules. Seeing how easy it is for Americans to buy guns compared to the rest of the world, the obvious connection is that the lack of gun rules is leading to these shootings being so frequent and so deadly. Gun control seems like a very reasonable option. But looking at historical data and trends, this seemingly obvious choice makes less sense.
Proponents for gun laws see how easy it is for guns to be bought in the United States, and immediately assume they are the reason for shootings and gun violence in general. What they miss is that mass shootings within America have become increasingly deadly and frequent over the last twenty years, and the rate of deaths due to guns has stayed relatively constant over the last 50 years. This has many implications. Because gun laws in America today are lax compared to the rest of the world, they are certainly more stringent than American gun laws in the 1970s. Since 1970, the percentage of households with guns in America has steadily decreased from 47% to 31% in 2014. Yet during this time, mass shootings in America have been deadlier and more frequent, and overall gun violence has stayed almost the same. So controlling the gun supply really will not solve anything, because we have already been doing that for the last 30 years with no success. Observing Chicago, a city with some very strict laws on guns that yet boasts more gun homicides than any other major US city, furthers this argument.
Looking closer into how exactly guns are used to kill people, it becomes even more clear that gun laws would be ineffective:out of the 33,000 gun violence deaths last year, a whopping two-thirds were due to suicide. And unfortunately, it is very likely that many of these people could die anyway, whether or not they have access to a gun.
So if gun laws do not prevent mass shootings or overall gun deaths, are they really worth it? This seemingly obvious solution to our country’s problems becomes harder to defend.
– Amit Rajesh