Gun Control: How much is too much?
The U. S. administration has made it clear that it wants more stringent gun control laws, a move that has been followed by most states. The cause of this aggressive campaign is the rise in the number of shootings taking take at American schools. Those in favor of stricter gun control laws believe that they will lead to a reduction in gun related crime. However, these measures have been faced with protests on the part of gun owners as well as gun associations. This section of the society argues that, instead of reducing crime, gun control will only take away the ability of innocent civilians to defend themselves against perpetrators. The result of this opposition has led the government, especially in the state of New York, to review gun control.
In ancient Greece when someone committed a murder the weapon was destroyed because the Ancient Greeks believed that fate was decided by the gods so the murder was not as responsible for the crime as the weapon itself. Instrumentality when used in reference to weapons is the hypothesis that the increased availability of weapons in a certain area also increases that areas likelihood of weapon based offences.
Essentially the increased availability of guns increases the chances that a criminal will choose a gun as their weapon of choice for committing crimes, not to mention this also increases the range of crimes this criminal can initiate. The result of this is of course the intensification of violence, simply put more guns equals more gun crime (Cook, 1991; Zimring & Hawkins, 1997). The relevance of this theory is that the use of guns as opposed to knives is more likely to cause an injury or a death.
If a criminal substitutes a knife for a gun a robbery the likelihood that the victim may be hurt or killed increases because guns cause more serious wounds that knives, they are more effective at long range and they can be used to assault multiple people, not to mention gun accidents are a very real threat.
The instrumentality hypothesis does not in any way suggest that crime will increase because of increased gun availability just that the likelihood that criminals will substitute knives and other weapons for guns will increase thus resulting in more homicides.
There are also theories that suggest that increased gun availability decreases crime because it empowers the general public and discourages criminals from targeting innocent people that could be carrying a gun thus shifting the balance of power if the aggressor is unarmed or using a knife but further complicates things if they too have a gun.
This obviously does nothing to address the fact that this will no doubt increase gun related violence as a whole because two guns don’t make a right, you’re just increasing the likelihood of someone being shot and killed. Vice President Joe Biden talks about more thorough back ground checks, mental health checks, stricter checks at gun shows, penalties for straw purchasers, people who buy guns to give them to other people but why does it take a tragedy to have these issues addressed?
Biden comments on the ban on assault rifles active from 1994 to 2004 emphasising that it may have made policing easier but he goes on to say that assault rifles and the rate of fire aren’t the problem aren’t the problem. The actual problem lies in magazine capacity, Bide talks briefly on the Connecticut shooting perpetrated by Adam Lanza, stating the high body count was due to the fact he used a gun with a thirty round capacity. “ Maybe if he took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive” (Biden 2013)
Obviously both those argument are ridiculous, the rate of fire and the capacity of the gun have nothing to do with gun violence. Banning assault weapons won’t get rid of gun crime, it just means the killers can kill a little bit less. If they can’t get hold of an ak47 they’ll use a shotgun, if they can’t get a shotgun they’ll use a handgun and if they can’t get a handgun they’ll use a knife, if they can’t use a knife they’ll use a fork (Peter Squires 2013).
The problem isn’t how efficient America’s psychopaths are at killing; the problem is that they’re killing in the first place. We should be trying to prevent school shootings not trying making them nicer, this is not parking tickets we’re talking about, we’re talking about people killing each other, there’s no middle ground there’s life or death, all or nothing.
Changing magazines requires just a few seconds, barely enough for potential victims to tackle the gunman or run for cover. If, like Lanza, the perpetrator has multiple handguns, they would have several rounds at their disposal regardless of the legal limit. If a person has planned a massacre, he will quite obviously be prepared to shoot over a dozen or more people. If the intent is to murder one person, then 10 rounds are more than sufficient. Hence, limiting the number of rounds in a magazine is pointless (Newman).
The president also aims to provide ‘ incentives’ to schools that hire school resource officers. This law is meant to safeguard schools that are willing to make the investment. Those who oppose gun control, however, argue that it will not protect all schools. Instead, if the president had revoked the Gun Free Zones Ban, allowing teachers and administrative staff to carry concealed weapons, they would be much better equipped to defend themselves as well as students. A great example can be seen in Joel Myrick, assistant principal at Pearl High School, Mississippi, who used his . 45 semi-automatic to subdue and restrain a gunman who killed two students and injured 7 in 1997 (Keller). Calls for banning guns were raised back then but did not prevent the December 2012 shooting in Connecticut. If school staff was allowed to carry weapons, schools will not have to make any investments and the government will not have to spend tax payer money on ‘ incentives’.
Another reason given by those against gun control is the scope of such laws. Criminals are unlikely to opt to purchase a registered weapon; it is law abiding citizens who do so. Hence, stricter gun control laws would result in fewer citizens bearing arms to defend themselves, while criminals who target them will still have access to arms through the black market. Instead of protecting citizens, gun control would leave them all the more vulnerable to attacks, as an unarmed civilian is more likely to fall victim of a premeditated attack than one who owns weapon. Gun control would, hence, not have a substantial impact on lowering violent crimes.
In Britain there has never been a ‘ gun culture like in the U. S but there were, in Britain 200, 000 legally registered handguns before the ban caused by the dunblane school shooting. Heavy fines to prison terms of up to 10 years were put in place for anyone found in possession of illegal firearms.
” It was one of the most shocking things that has ever happened in this country and it united the country in a feeling that we had to do something,” Gill Marshall Andrews, of the Gun Control Network, told CNN. ” And I don’t think that it would have been possible to make the kind of progress that we have made without that tragedy”
The ban seemed to have no real affect at the beginning, the crimes involving guns in England and Wales actually rose during the late 1990’s peaking at 24, 094 offenses in 2003/04. Since the number has fallen each year. According to official crime figures in 2010/11 11, 227 offenses were reported. Despite this Britain’s gun laws have been under constant scrutiny, in 2010 12 people were killed in a four hour shutting spree in Cumbria, northern England.
Peter Squires a member of the Gun Control Network and professor of criminology at Brighton University said there is a small but significant decline in the use of firearms since Dunblane. The figures aren’t everything but ” the murder rate has fallen and all the indicators are moving in the right direction.”
” Any weapon can be misused in a crime. Gun control will never be a complete solution to events like the mass shooting we saw in Connecticut. The swamp of gun use has not been fully drained and while tighter gun control removes risk on an incremental basis, significant numbers of weapons remain in Britain.”
Peter Squires (2013)
The conclusion is although decreasing the amount of guns or banning certain types of guns may slightly decrease the amount of gun violence, any weapon can be used to commit violence, the root cause of violence is more important than taking away the tools used to commit violence. On the other hand metal detectors in schools might limit shooting taking place in school but it doesn’t actually stop them. It’s just a way to limit the schools culpability in gun violence and make a school like a prison. In the same way giving the college professors guns and introducing armed guards into schools as some schools are suggesting will just add to the problem, these are schools no concentration camps. As I’ve displayed through this essay more guns’ increase the likelihood of serious injury, the positives of deterrence do not outweigh the negatives of serious injury and death. In short; when guns are the problem more guns are not the solution.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
Keller, Ryan. ” Politicians call for new gun bans after Connecticut shooting.” 17 December 2012. Examiner. 11 February 2013
Newman, Alex. ” Gun Owners Refuse to Register Under New York Law.” 25 January 2013. New American. 3 April 2013
Susman, Tina. ” New York state adopts toughest gun laws in U. S.” 15 January 2013. Los Angeles Times. 2 April 2013
Ungar, Rick. ” Here are the 23 executive orders on gun safety signed today by the president.” 16 January 2013. Forbes. 11 February 2013
” Violent Crime Control annd Law Enforcement Act of 1994.” 2013. Government Printing Office. 3 March 2013
Wiessner, Daniel. New York reviewing changes to recently passed gun law. 20 March 2013. 3 April 2013