“Getting the Facts Straight”

BillNye By BillNye, 28th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/17ba9ho5/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Crime

A research report that takes a stance on the issue of gun control.

Getting the Facts Straight

Over the years there have been many different opinions on whether guns should be legal or not. This has spurred a lot of issues in today’s society. With each new President that becomes elected, gun-owners worry whether guns will become harder to own or if they will stay the same. With every new incident, such as the recent Denver shooting, questions of gun control arise. On one hand the Bill of Rights says that Americans have the right to bear arms, and on the other the government is trying to pass laws that basically say that Americans do not have this right. There are also individual people on both sides of the issue. There are the people who think that guns are the reason that there is violence in America and that guns are a major source of crime. There have been many incidents in America’s history with gun violence that often lead people to the impression that guns are the biggest problem with this issue. Some of these incidents include the Virginia-Tech shootings, Columbine, and Ohio shootings. Gun-enforcement supporters say that if there were harsher laws on guns, it would be harder for them to end up in the wrong hands and shootings would be reduced. There are also those who realize that owning a gun can actually reduce crime and that crime will exist with or without guns. The issue of gun control is a huge one as it can save or take lives away from Americans. The real problem with violence in America actually does not stem from guns. Regulating guns assumes that guns are the main cause of crime, that Americans will obey the gun laws, and that regulating guns will prevent further human casualties. In reality, all of these assumptions are false. Although there are many sides to this issue, this paper will focus on just two sides of the argument and specifically present evidence and personal testimonies that guns make America a safer place and that doing away with them would make America a more dangerous place to live.
There are a lot of people in the world who feel that gun laws should be stricter. This group of people thinks that guns are the main cause of crime. The very fact that these people try to fix the problem of violence with laws that prohibit owning and using guns gives away that they think the problem stems from guns. A lot of times the gun control advocates have lost someone they love or care about due to a gun accident or a shooting. It is understandable that through such a loss someone might blame guns rather than assessing the real issue. Those who are for gun control simply want America, their home, and their children’s schools to be safer places. Often these people are great people who are simply misled in their thinking.
These people make three general assumptions about gun control that are false. The first assumption of gun control includes thinking that guns are the main cause of crime. The truth is that the main cause of crime is men who desire to steal or do harm to another. In European countries where handguns are illegal and gun regulation is very harsh, the crime rates are actually higher than they are here in America (Bamber 1). The thinking is that if guns are taken away, crime will go down. The truth is that if there are no guns, crime will continue but thieves will use knives or blunt objects. Less than one percent of homicides involve assault weapons (Agresti 4). Criminals will find a way to get what they want done with or without a gun. When Washington D. C. made handguns illegal for the years 1976-1991, its homicide rate rose 200% (Agresti 2). America’s rose 12% (Agresti 2). Looking at former civilizations also says that guns are not the cause of crime. In previous centuries and eras when there were no guns, crime still existed and sometimes at an even more astonishing rate than it does now. The truth of this issue is that crime does not stem from guns.
If America started harshly regulating guns, the underlying assumption is that Americans would obey these laws and that they would get rid of their guns. In truth, most law abiding citizens probably would get rid of their guns, but the people that we do not want to have guns are the criminals. Criminals are criminals because they break the law so what would make a criminal not own a gun because it is against the law? Criminals would continue to own guns and law-abiding citizens would get rid of their guns, which would only make it impossible for them to protect themselves against criminals. Assuming that making guns illegal would do anything for the safety of our country is a naive belief and trumpery. Criminals would have no hesitations about owning guns because they were illegal. This would simply create a black market for illegal weapons and allow thieves to have the upper hand against an un-armed civilization. Police officers would have one more thing to regulate and a lot less time to take care of domestic matters which would most likely lead to a civilization of utter chaos and disaster. Criminals would never choose to obey a law that said that it was illegal for them to own guns; gun control does not address this problem.
Gun control and regulation also lastly assumes that if the American government were to regulate guns, American lives would be saved. This assumption is false for a combination of reasons. Believing that gun control would save Americans also relies on the other two issues which have already been addressed and proven false and also relies on the premise that if there were no guns, murder would cease to exist. This premise in and of itself may actually be true. The reason regulating guns would not work with this premise is because as addressed earlier, criminals will continue to have guns leaving only law-abiding citizens unarmed. The problem with this is that about 764,000 times a year, Americans protect themselves with a gun (Agresti 2). There have even been many cases where Americans have actually saved others’ lives with the use of a gun against an armed criminal (Wilson 2). Many of my friends have personally told me stories about their dad defending their home and family from criminals with the use of a gun. Taking away guns from Americans would only perpetuate the violence that is now “stemming” from violence. This act would only leave our citizens defenseless against the criminals that would never obey gun regulation. Gun control would not prevent American deaths it would actually create more.
A perfect example of someone who is a pro gun control supporter that made these three faulty assumptions is Bill Clinton. It is easy to see how if one powerful Democrat says that guns are a problem and an issue that we need to do away with, a lot of other weaker Democrats would jump on the bandwagon. Bill Clinton speaking on the issue of gun violence said, “…So I think there are basically three problems. You have more kids that are kind of at risk of violence. You have a culture that desensitizes and glorifies violence, and desensitizes people to it. And it’s way too easy to get guns” (Haerens 120). It’s always good to know that Bill Clinton has it figured out. In reality, Clinton knows very little about how guns work in society, or at least appears to have given very little thought to his policy reforms. Clinton appears to have given these reforms about as much thought as his, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the American military. After Columbine, Clinton said that he knew for sure that if more gun laws had been in place, less children would have died in this tragedy (Roleff 26). The truth is that Columbine was in a “gun-free” zone and what Clinton fails to realize is that this very law prevented anyone from being able to protect these children with a gun (Roleff 26). A couple of Clinton’s ridiculous reforms include mandatory gun locks and prison sentences for adults whose weapons are used illegally by minors (Roleff 27). Mandatory gun locks is a law that requires everyone who owns a gun to keep it locked up because Clinton said that it would save the lives of children (Roleff 27). Roleff says that more children have died from drowning in a water bucket than children that have been killed by accidents having to do with guns (27). Roleff also makes sure to note that when a gun is locked this makes it impossible to be loaded, and unloaded guns do nothing to defend people (27). Roleff says that very often young children are actually defended by their parents using a gun and with these guns locked up the deaths of children will probably go up instead of down (27). Not only this, but Clinton also made a law that any adult over the age of 21 had to serve a minimum of three years in jail if a weapon of their possession was used by anyone under the age of eighteen illegally (Roleff 27-28). This law applied even if the adult had no knowledge that someone else was using their gun or even if they had not given their consent (Roleff 27). This law is absolutely ridiculous. Tamara L. Roleff wrote a very insightful paragraph concerning the media and Clinton:
Much of the debate over gun control these days is conducted without regard for the facts. For example, the press reproduces pictures of a Tech-9, the so-called assault pistol used in the Columbine attack. The pictures show a much larger ammunition clip than was actually used, making it look as frightening as possible. Few reports even mention that at most one of the thirteen Littleton victims was killed with this gun. In spite of all the rhetoric and despite its appearance, this “assault weapon” functions no differently from other semiautomatic pistols sold in the U.S. It is no more powerful, it doesn’t shoot any faster, and it doesn’t shoot any more rounds. One pull of the trigger fires one bullet.
Good intentions don’t necessarily make good laws. What counts is whether the laws will ultimately save lives. The real tragedy of Mr. Clinton’s proposals is that they are likely to lead to the loss of more lives (28).
Clinton obviously does not think about things a whole lot before he does them (can you say Lewinsky) and is but another pro gun control supporter who made the three faulty assumptions.
There actually is substantial evidence that guns make America a safer place. In Pearl, Mississippi, a sixteen year old boy stabbed his mother and then killed two students at his school and injured seven other students as well. The assistant principal at this school, Joel Myrick, ran to get his Colt .45 handgun and pointed it at the boy as he was driving away, which caused him to crash (Stevens and Zelman 282-283). Myrick held him at gunpoint until the police arrived and saved many lives because the boy was headed to another school to wreak more havoc (Stevens and Zelman 283). In another event, a fourteen year old boy in middle school shot one of his teachers (Stevens and Zelman 283). An owner of a nearby restaurant who had a shotgun came and held it to his head until the police came, thus saving the lives of anyone else this boy desired to kill (Stevens and Zelman 283). Stevens and Zelman note that in both of these cases it was guns and honest people that prevented these incidents (283). There are also statistics that prove guns make America a safer place because of the self-defense factor. Stevens and Zelman put together what they call the “Seven Basic Truths” of self-defense:
1. There is a difference between good and evil, and evil exists among mankind.
2. Aggression means initiating force against people to deprive them of life, liberty or property without just cause.
3. Aggression by one person or group against another is evil.
4. All things being equal, an aggressor with superior force will defeat a victim who employs less force in defense.
5. Evil people who aggress will generally prevail over good people who cannot defeat the aggression.
6. For good people to protect their lives, liberty and property, they must be able to use superior force to defeat aggression.
7. Ideas that inhibit good people from being able to defeat aggression are ideas that confer an advantage to aggressors, and thereby reduce good people’s ability to protect their lives, liberty and property (279).
As addressed earlier, about 764,000 times a year, Americans protect themselves with a gun (Agresti 2). There are many incidents in American history that could have been prevented from happening if someone had been armed with a weapon to stop them. If a teacher or adult had been carrying a gun at Columbine or the Virginia Tech shootings, the stories probably would have ended very differently.
There is also evidence that if America did enforce gun control laws, we would end up with more crime like Europe. In an address to the House of Representatives, U. S. Representative Jack R. Kingston talks about how in Britain there are very tough laws on gun control. He says that these laws have been in effect for anywhere from 30-45 years and yet the murder rate in that country has gone up since those laws went into effect (Haerens 126). If America were to adhere to what gun control advocates want and make guns illegal or make gun control very strict, most likely crime would only go up. In another section of his address, Jack R. Kingston also talks about how guns were made specifically illegal in Jamaica and the crime rate only went down for about half a year before it rose to a rate higher than before the laws went into effect (Haerens 126). This leaves the impression that taking away guns only creates more of a demand for them until eventually they are more prominent than before they were illegal. As earlier addressed, not only do European countries have higher crime rates than America, they indicate that taking away guns does not lower crime and indicate that the answer lies within some other solution.
The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed (Spitzer 26). This right has given rise to the great debate that is now the issue of gun control. Some personal testimonies back up the side of the right to bear arms. When addressing the issue of school shootings and the mystery of why they seemed to have taken place at predominantly white, upper-class schools and not more violent schools, Dr. Thomas Sowell said, “There are likely to be more armed people in or near schools…some have armed guards …some have armed gangs” (Stevens and Zelman 283). Dr. Thomas Sowell went on to say that in a violent neighborhood someone who uses a gun is more likely to get shot back at or killed but only in a rich, white school would a gun give you such an upper hand (Stevens and Zelman 283). Stevens and Zelman say that Sowell counted this issue as the “high cost already being paid for the fetish of disarming law-abiding people” (283). The father of a student who died at Columbine said, “I wonder: if two crazy hoodlums can walk into a “gun free” zone full of our kids, and police are totally incapable of defending the children, why would anyone want to make it harder for law-abiding adults to defend themselves and others?...Of course, nobody on TV mentions that perhaps gun-free zones are potential magnets for crazed killers” (Stevens and Zelman 282). These are just a few of the testimonies that support the American right to bear arms. There are so many more horrifying stories of people that have suffered traumatic experiences or even died because they did not have access to a gun or gun laws prevented them from having quick access to them. From these testimonies it’s obvious to see that stricter gun laws will not make America a safer place. America needs the right to bear arms to be able to protect itself.
The idea of gun control is a treacherous idea and is based on the three faulty assumptions of crime incentive, criminals obeying the law, and American lives being saved. American lives are at stake with the decision of this law. Americans will no longer be able to protect themselves against criminals. Law-abiding citizens will be shot in cold blood without defense. Anyone can look at the history of other countries and see that gun regulation is not the answer to crime. Gun control is just another faulty idea in the minds of naïve Americans who think they can save the world.




Works Cited
Agresti, James D. "Gun Control Facts." Just Facts. 10 June 1999. 29 Jan. 2009 <http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp>.
Bamber, David. "England has worst crime rate in world." Taking on gun control. 1 Dec. 2002. 29 Jan. 2009 <http://hematite.com/dragon/gcgunfreeuk1.html>.
Haerens, Margaret. Gun Control: Restricting Rights or Protecting People. Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Roleff, Tamara L., ed. Guns and Crime. San Diego: Greenhaven P, 2000.
Spitzer, Robert J. The Politics of Gun Control. 4th ed. Washington D.C.: CQ P, 2008
Wilson, James Q. "Gun control isn’t the answer." Los Angeles Times 20 April 2007. 29 January 2009 < http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-wilson20apr20,0,4514008.story?coll=la-opinion-center>.
Zelman, Aaron, and Richard W. Stevens. Death by Gun Control. Hartford: Mazel Freedom P, Inc., 2001.

Tags

Crime Statistics, Denver Shooting, Gun Control, Guns, Shooting

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My hobbies are hunting, fishing, and weight-lifting

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Comments

author avatar A K Rao
28th Jul 2012 (#)

That is a fantastic wrk on the Guns and the laws governing to keep them! In India we have strict rules to own a gun! But in spite of thet there are many illegal guns and crimes are being carried out with out any fear by the criminals!

In fact the rules are meant for gentle people and not for the criminals as they manage to get and use the guns to conduct the crimes any way!

Very nice article! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar Denise O
28th Jul 2012 (#)

I so agree with you on just about all you have stated. As a gun owner in the past (bad economy, had to pawn gun) and in the very near future (getting one for the hubby for his B-D Aug. 3), I must admit, I have yet to hurt a soul with my gun and I have no intention of doing so, unless some fool decides to enter my home unwanted, then it will be used, if need be. As a woman that has been violently raped in the past, I take all the precautions I can, for this not to happen. To be honest, women are just not as powerful as men, we can fight (as I did) until we are at pure exhaustion yet, the man will always have every advantage in this situation and I for one, do not plan on giving them a helping hand what so ever. My stance has always been, if you decide to come into my home (uninvited) and my dogs don't get ya, I got their backs and I will protect my family and home. To me, it goes back to that old saying...Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Nice read. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Tranquilpen
31st Jul 2012 (#)

With murder and violent crime on the rise in South Africa.For whatever reason, the predominantly white farmers have had their numbers reduced steadily to 40%. Most have been brutally murdered while others have sought refuge in other countries like Uruguay, Brazil and Georgia USSR where they are not only safe from attacks, or having their centuries old family ranches seized by the government and given to black people. They have been invited as a result of many incentives like subsidies and low cost loans etc. This is because their skills are valued by these countries. This article is very appropriate right now.

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