Some people seem to believe that we do not need gun control laws. While there has been a demand that we need a stronger gun control law to check the growing incidence of gun crime, the anti gun control group will like to have uncontrolled gun ownership. This group is led by the NRA (National Rifles Association)whose cherished objective is to make gun ownership free of any restrictions. The NRA does not bother about participating in the gun control debate and has made no secret of its decision to stick to its stand, whatever gun crime statistics may say.
To the supporters of NRA, gun control pros and cons are of no value. They just keep harping on their pet argument that owning guns is a right given to the people of the United States by the 2nd amendment. But the fact is that nearly 99 percent of the second amendment was based on the inputs provided by people who had no college education. While this fact does not make their contribution unimportant, it does indicate that there may be nothing wrong in amending this law. The 2nd amendment itself being an amendment, what can be wrong in amending a provision of this amendment?
The need for strengthening gun control laws is clearly shown by gun death statistics. What is the picture presented by these statistics? The figures show that every year, there are 30,000 deaths in the US on account of gun violence. Gun control facts also show that in a majority of homicide crimes, guns are being used as murder weapons. Guns are used in as much as 60 percent of the murders. Another disturbing fact is that nearly forty percent of the children living in the houses that have guns are aware of the places the guns are stored by their parents. This brings in the dangerous possibility of kids taking possession of guns and using it wrongly.
Though these facts have been brought to light by a number of gun control articles, some legislators supporting the NRA have turned a blind eye to them. They seem to be working against stricter gun control laws by their action in drafting rules that will block independent bodies like the National Institute of Health in their efforts at studying gun violence.
There are very few issues that have remained in the public arena with no progress for such a long time as gun control has been. This topic seems to evoke strong feelings with some people stubbornly opposing any move towards gun control and other people, perturbed by the picture presented by gun crime statistics, demanding immediate action on the part of the government.
We need to find answers to two questions. One, why is gun control such an important issue? Two, why is it that this issue has defied a solution for such a long time, with the gun control debate going on eternally?
To understand the importance of gun control, we should take a look at the gun death statistics. We will pick out just a few gun control facts to understand the present scenario. Gun control facts show that the United States owns a very high proportion of the privately owned guns in the world. In terms of percentage, 50 percent of the guns of the world are in our country. Yet, our country holds only 5 percent of the population of the world!
The second fact that may interest people studying the gun control pros and cons is that in the US itself, regions that have a high proportion of gun ownership report a high proportion of children becoming gun death victims. Both these facts put together go to show that the higher the gun ownership, the higher are the crimes. This is confirmed by another study which has found that areas with a large number of guns also have a large number of suicides occurring.
Coming to the second question as to why the gun control issue has remained unsolved for a long time, the answer lies in the fact that there is a strong anti gun law lobby operating in our country. The campaign against gun control is spearheaded by the National Rifles Association (NRA). The NRA claims to be an association of sportsmen but behaves like a lobby because of its unreasonable stand. It will not be moved by facts like the one that Australia has been successful in bringing down its crimes by 60 percent as a result of a strong anti gun law implemented by the government. Following a policy of no compromise, organizations like the NRA have been successfully scuttling all moves towards better gun control.
Why should gun control be such a controversial topic? The word control indicates some kind of restriction and is likely to instill at least some resentment in the mind of anyone. Gun control is resented by people who believe that buying, owning and carrying a gun is their sovereign right. But gun crime statistics show that the price paid by our country for conferring the right of gun ownership on its people is very high. It appears that the gun control debate has to shift its focus from whether we should have gun control to how much gun control we need.
Take the gun crime statistics that reveal that the number of people getting killed by guns in our country every year is 30,000. Gun control articles will give more detailed gun death statistics like the ratio of gun deaths to total deaths etc. We have to accept the fact that gun death has grown to be a big problem and the only way it can be tackled is through tighter gun laws.
We have success stories from countries that have implemented gun control laws effectively to substantiate the efficacy of gun control on crime. Australia is one country that has been able to curb gun violence by 60 percent by implementing strong gun control laws. We will be able to find such stories from other countries also if we look at the gun control facts of different countries in the world. Effective gun control measures, apart from bringing down murders, will also result in decrease of suicides. This fact is borne out by studies.
Opposition to gun control comes from some organizations like the National Rifles Association (NRA) who use the right of gun ownership given to the American citizens by the 2nd amendment as a point in their favor. People who look at gun control pros and cons will point out that given the fact that 99 percent of the provisions of this act were written by people without a formal legal education, invoking the 2nd amendment to claim gun ownership as a right is unjustified. This kind of approach to gun control by the NRA makes us doubt whether it is a political organization or a lobbyist body.
Gun death statistics cant be taken lightly as other kinds of statistics, sometimes, are. Human life is precious and death is a word that will create an instant feeling of discomfort in anyone. Gun death is not like any other death because it is a death caused by murder. So what do gun crime statistics say?
Though people are used to read reports about crimes in the newspapers everyday, reports of homicides invariably cause revulsion and panic. Taking a human life away using a firearm is perceived as gruesome by everyone. So whether the victim of a gun death is someone known to you or not, you invariably sympathize with the victims family and develop a feeling of intense contempt towards the killer. Statistics relating to homicide show that more than half of the homicide deaths are caused by firearms. In terms of percentage, gun deaths are 60 percent of the homicide deaths.
Another factor relating to deaths caused by firearms is that if we consider the number of gun deaths for 10,000 people, America is ranked below South Africa. The fact that a larger proportion of US citizens are killed by guns than their counterparts in South Africa is bound to stir our collective conscience as a nation. Gun control debate gets hotter with the issue of gun control itself coming to the fore.
Children are the precious treasure of our nation. They are our future. Therefore anything adversely affecting the safety or future of children should be a cause of concern to all of us. Gun control statistics reveal that American kids can get hold of a gun very easily since most of them know where the guns are kept in their houses! This raises the question of making our children vulnerable to the use of guns and causing a gun death without their being aware of the consequences of their action. Another aspect of the childrens vulnerability is revealed by the finding that wherever we have more households possessing guns, we have greater number of children among homicide victims.
A gun death is not an isolated event affecting an individual. It affects the nations economy also. You may be surprised to know that gun deaths result in a loss of about $4 billion per annum to the US Economy.
Gun control facts should urge us to woke up to the gun death threat.