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The gun debate is one of the most discussed topics among both politicians and civilians. While some people argue that one should devise a set of stricter laws to regulate gun possession, others state that there is no need for these rules to be created. Both sides present their arguments to convince the public as well as the government. According to Swanson et al., “gun violence kills about ninety people every day in the United States” (1067). Thus, people are concerned with this rate and want to find out whether strict gun regulations can reduce it. This paper aims to prove that strict gun laws that regulate gun possession can reduce crime rates and positively affect people’s lives.
Stricter Gun Laws
One can present a number of arguments that support the idea of creating tougher regulations for gun possession. First of all, unregulated gun ownership allows people that do not plan on committing crimes to be involved in hazardous situations because of their arms possession. Individuals in states and cities, where gun regulations are not strict, can have guns in their homes. Thus, criminals or other people can easily get access to these firearms and engage in unlawful behavior. Cook and Goss state that most individuals that commit crimes obtain their guns by borrowing them from neighbors, friends, or family members, and by stealing them from other people’s households (57). Young people can have access to these firearms as well (Ruggles and Rajan e111893). Thus, stricter laws for gun possession would lower the rate of gun holders and, therefore, limit one’s access to firearms.
Secondly, guns often become the weapon of suicide. Swanson et al. note that gun involvement is prevalent in suicide rates because as many as 72 percents of people that committed suicide were allowed to possess a firearm weapon by the laws of their state (1071). Many of these individuals had a case of mental health issues, which did not limit their ability to obtain a gun. Thus, these people were subject to no regulations that could have limited their access to firearms. Creating a system that would assess people’s behavior and mental health to decide whether these individuals are allowed to carry or have a firearm may reduce the rate of gun-related suicides.
Finally, the use of guns can be linked to other types of violence. According to Cook and Goss, there is a correlation between gun violence and other types of crimes as their rates change in the same patterns (60). Mass shootings and other violence directed towards a large number of people can also be affected by these regulations (McGinty et al. 494). Thus, creating stricter rules to control one’s gun possession may lead to the rates of other crimes being affected as well.
Some counterarguments oppose the creation of stricter gun possession laws. One of them discusses the right of self-defense. According to Lott, people that have firearms can defend against various threats and prevent crime (237). However, this argument is undermined by the complexity of establishing moral grounds for people to use guns in dangerous situations. Spitzer highlights that the assertion of who can be considered “good” or “bad” is rather controversial (188). Moreover, self-defense cannot supersede the attack in its severity. Thus, this argument is hard to support legally.
Gun violence is a serious problem that plagues many countries. Creating stricter laws for people who want to possess a gun is a necessary measure to prevent crimes, lower the rates of gun-related suicides, and stop people from engaging in dangerous and risky behaviors. Moreover, one needs to reshape the public’s opinion on gun possession to change how they view firearms and self-defense.
Cook, Philip J., and Kristin A. Goss. The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. 3rd ed., University of Chicago Press, 2013.
McGinty, Emma E., et al. “Effects of News Media Messages About Mass Shootings on Attitudes Toward Persons With Serious Mental Illness and Public Support for Gun Control Policies.” American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 170, no. 5, 2013, pp. 494-501.
Ruggles, Kelly V., and Sonali Rajan. “Gun Possession among American Youth: A Discovery-Based Approach to Understand Gun Violence.” PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 11, 2014, p. e111893.
Spitzer, Robert J. Politics of Gun Control. 6th ed., Routledge, 2015.
Swanson, Jeffrey W., et al. “Gun Violence, Mental Illness, and Laws That Prohibit Gun Possession: Evidence from Two Florida Counties.” Health Affairs, vol. 35, no. 6, 2016, pp. 1067-1075.