The gun control debate has raged on for decades, with both sides of the argument fronting their strongest points. Incidences of mass shootings spark off these debates only to subside till, God forbid, such incident occurs again. Are these mass shooting incidences and gun related homicides triggered by access to guns or does the problem lie with the gun users? Perhaps addressing this question will guide the policy makers in formulating sound laws and regulations aimed at mitigating losses and casualties resulting from the use of guns. Gun ownership is a constitutional right, and it would, therefore, be an infringement if controls were imposed on this constitutional provision. The dwellers of the nation have to be allowed by the government to own guns to protect themselves; after all, people kill people and not guns. There are 88.8 guns in every 100 individuals in the United States, making it the highest ownership rate in the world (Masters). This widespread ownership of guns can, in part be attributed to the countrys colonial history where the citizens used guns to fight for their freedom, the spirit of frontier expansion and perhaps most importantly, the Second Amendment which states that a well-regulated militia, being essential a state security, the human rights for the citizens to keep guns, should never be overstepped. The dwellers of the nation have to be allowed by the government to own guns to protect themselves; after all, people kill people and not guns.
In the United Kingdom, the sale, purchase, ownership and possession of almost all handguns is totally banned. T. Hamilton for instance marched into rudimentary school in Dunblane and indiscriminately shot dead 16 children aged 6 and below and a teacher before pulling the trigger and ending his own life. The killer used four handguns to commit this horrific act. This saw the Second Firearms Act of 1997 being passed in response to such incidences. Did this ban on handguns helped in the reduction of crimes? Murder rates at the time of the Dunblane massacre stood at 1.12 per 100,000. It shot to 1.24 in 1997 when the Act started taking effect and stood at 1.43 in 1998. It rose to an all-time high of 2.1 in 2002 and plunged to 1.23 as at 2010. From the rates, it is clearly evident that homicides for gun use have dropped drastically. Murders have however increased ("Gun Control - Procon.Org"). The fact still remains that more people are still killing themselves in the UK after the ban as compared to when guns were allowed. The numbers could only be higher in the United States, not surprisingly, due to the larger population.
In 2005, statistics show that intentional murders in the UK stood at 765, most of which were committed using knives, poisoning, fire, strangulation and blunt objects. In the US, the corresponding number stood at 10,654 in 2004. People still kill each other, whether the ban on guns is imposed or not. With this fact in mind, wouldnt the rate of killings drop had the people been armed and could defend themselves? Wouldnt an armed civilian bring down a killer on a rampage shooting spree and save a couple of lives? After all, the killer would end up killing himself or taken down by the police.
Proponents of gun control have come out strongly against the use of assault rifles. An assault rifle fires high-powered rifle rounds and not pistol rounds. They can either be semi or fully automatic. The rifle reloads ammunition on its own; all the user has to do is just pull the trigger. The weapon is best suited for warfare, though it can also be used for hunting. Those who are for gun controls insist that assault rifles should have magazines that can hold at most ten rounds of ammunition. They claim that the use of an assault rifle in a self-defense scenario would be overkill. This argument holds some water, but it does not grasp the spirit of the Second Amendment. Arming of the civilians goes beyond mere protection from petty burglaries and violent crimes; it was solely made as the last line of protection for the nation from foreign and military invasion. The civilians would chip in to protect the sovereignty of the nation if all the five branches of the US military were all taken down. An enemy can easily maim and defeat a population armed with knives and bolts but would find it hard to bring down a civilian population armed with guns that can defend themselves.
Mass killings have evolved into sophisticated forms that require more than the normal combat training. Take the University of Austin shooting for instance. The killer, Whitman, was on a rampage sniping spree atop a watchtower which made it difficult for the authorities to bring him down. The police were at their wits end on how to stop the killer as snipping scenarios were new to them. Before the August 1, 1996, incident, SWAT was non-existent. In fact, SWAT came about as a response to the Whitman shooting incident. One of the officers who brought down the shooter reports that students and other civilians who did not take cover rushed to their cars to grab their hunting rifles and come to the aid of the police. They took cover with the police and shot at the observation deck from where the killer was shooting. Whitman was forced to retreat and take cover to save his life. His shooting frequency reduced, so did his accuracy. The killer was eventually taken down, thanks in part to the help of civilians who came to the help of the police. More innocent civilians would have certainly fallen victim to Whitman's rampage had it not been for the intervention of brave armed citizens. It would be disheartening to imagine how the outcome would have been had there been a ban on gun ownership by civilians ("Gun Control - Procon.Org").
Rarely do we hear of incidences where rampage killers exact their vile acts in military camps or banks, primarily because these spots are well secured and protected. It is not because they are scared that they will die; they are ready for death. Their only fear is dying before killing as many people as possible. The more people their bullets fall, the merrier they become. The Whitmans, the Lanzas, and the Chos are on a rage mission to beat the last record, and this cannot be achieved in a bank or a military fort. Their best spots are the malls, schools and churches because they throng with masses whose majority are unarmed. They prefer soft targets. Suppose a church congregation was properly armed to the teeth-pistols, shotgun and assault rifles-and had the proper training on how to use these weapons ("Encyclopedia Of Gun Control And Gun Rights" 49-2442-49-2442). The probability of a rampage killer wanting to take out such a congregation is very dismal. Some schools in the state of Texas have gone a notch higher by arming its staff as a warning to potential maniacs to keep off. Janitors, secretaries, and teachers alike can all take down a raged killer on a rampage killing spree.
Washington D.C politicians and the affiliates of the Temperance Movement were vehemently opposed to the sale, production and distribution of alcohol within the United States. They passed the Eighteenth Amendment, which was to prohibit alcohol consumption. The response elicited when the Act took effect took everyone by surprise, more so its proponents. The public reacted by consuming and producing more alcohol in total disregard of its criminalization. Alcohol consumption soared to uncontrollable levels such that the police could not even stop its production, sale or consumption. Criminals took advantage by forming cartels and creating monopolistic empires to supply the commodity to cities. People resorted to brewing their own alcohol, resulting to many deaths from poisoning. A replacement of alcohol with guns in the above scenario would only lead to the same results but this time round the results would be catastrophic ("10 Arguments Against Gun Control - Listverse"). Career criminals will spring up to form cartels that will control the illegal importation of firearms into cities, and worse street wars will be experienced. Public outcry in condemning the nationwide ban on gun ownership might not lead to nationwide revolt. If the government, however, enforces the ban by conducting home raids, there is a high likelihood that clustered uprisings might arise and spread quickly. Some large cities might experience the imposition of martial law, which might lead to secession by some states, especially Texas since its constitution has a clause that allows it to secede. Civil war might arise but this time round with more destructive weapons. Those who refuse to surrender their firearms might resort to guerilla tactics and terrorist cells. The military will be of course step in to quell the situation but with horrific and long lasting results ("Michael Moore: 'Guns Don't Kill People, Americans Kill People'"). This is an over-stretch of the wand of possibilities, but it might be an outcome if a ban on guns is imposed and enforced in the wrong way.
The exercise of imposing controls on guns seems to be one in futility. Gun control laws are aimed at reducing crimes by limiting civilian access to guns, thus making the nation safer. No law can, however, deter a criminal who has resolved to kill as many as he could before he is killed or commits suicide. There is no law that can prevent a burglar from breaking into a home to steal. Their only mission is not to be caught. With this perspective, it is illogical to impose newer, more stringent gun laws on people that is law abiding. The sale of weapons is banned within the city of Chicago. This ban was imposed as from 2010. The number of murders in the city in 2013 stood at 374, 432 in 2010 and 500 in 2012. From these figures on murder, it is clearly evident that the ordinance on the sale of weapons did not deter criminals from committing murders. There is, therefore, no logic in infringing the peoples right to gun ownership yet this infringement will not and cannot stop the criminal-minded individuals from committing crimes.
From the Snowden leaks on the operations of the government, a vast majority of the American population lost trust in their government, or rather on the individuals holding some of the governmental dockets. Edward Snowden leaked information that proved the government was spying on its own citizens as well as on other nations. The government, of course, distanced itself from blame and at other times even justified that its activities were not criminal, a justification which contradicts with the constitution. It is for this reason that social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have installed firewalls to stop the NSA from snooping for information about its users. Proponents of gun ownership are skeptical regarding the imposition of controls on what is their constitutional right. They fear that the government will bit by bit strip them of any power to defend and protect themselves, thus rendering them vulnerable to government manipulation. In this regard, gun control is deemed as a threat to liberty where the rights of the citizens are slowly taken away. Citizens do not trust the governments motives behind the imposition of gun controls because of skepticism regarding reports on its spying on civilian affairs (Masters).
The debate on gun control is unending. Partly because it is protected by the constitution and partly because rage-filled maniacs will commit horrific crimes with their guns, rekindling the gun ownership debate. It is an unending cycle. The problem, however, lies not in gun ownership but on the gun owners and how they use it. It is not guns that kill people; it is people who kill people. Guns can be used to enforce safety. Had civilians been banned from owning guns, the Austin University shooting would have been worse. Mass shootings in schools would be abated. It is good for civilians to own guns so as to prot...
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