Gun control is one of the most important issues in making our country a safer place. Through the use of gun control, we are able to regulate the use and purchasing of different types of firearms. If the purchasing of these firearms is more difficult, then the purchasing and use of these firearms would be discouraged and many firearm related crimes could be greatly reduced. According to George D. Newton, “Firearms make some attacks possible that simply would not occur without firearms.”. Handguns are one of the most lethal firearms concerning the gun control issue. The power of handguns are taken too lightly and they can often be used irresponsibly. “Approximately 60 percent of homicides each year involve firearms.
Handguns alone account for three fourths of all gun related homicides.”(Marjolin Bijefeld). In addition, when firearms are used carelessly or incorrectly they can be very dangerous and even lethal to innocent lives. The misuse of handguns are yet another reason they can be considered so unsafe. People often use handguns as intimidation instead of using them as protection, as well as to commit crimes instead of protecting themselves from crime. Through the use of gun control we can restrict the use of handguns used in committing crimes by using stricter background checks, longer waiting periods, and adding enforcement to people who own illegally purchased or stolen handguns.
Out of all handguns used for protection, ninety percent are used just to scare and not to actually use. This means that only ten percent of people carrying licensed handguns are actually using them for protection. Protection is one of the biggest reasons to own a handgun; however and they are rarely being used for that purpose. More guns are made available to be used in crimes than for their original purpose protection. What may be considered even worse the same guns being purchased for protection are those also being stolen and used by criminals. Gun control laws can be used more effectively if implemented to better protect the innocent people that live in this country.
To start making our nation safer from criminals we must work at a better gun control plan. One step towards gun control would be much more careful who we allow to purchase handguns. “..There is not one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia that does not have gun laws.”(William Weir, pg.206). Some might argue that criminals do not go through gun dealers to purchase their handguns. Sarah Brady however states,”…a 1985 Department of Justice study entitled “The Armed Criminal in America” found that over 20 percent of criminals obtain their handguns through gun dealers.”(Sarah Brady, pg. 207). Although background checks are conducted and waiting periods are followed, we need to do something more. Not every one who purchases a handgun intends on using it right away. Most states require a seven-day cooling off period however, some have adopted a fifteen-day waiting period that has shown to be more efficient. “…According to a police official in Memphis, Tennessee, the states fifteen day waiting period screens out about fifty applicants a month, most of whom have criminal records.”(Sarah Brady. 207). Something more is needed than background screenings. People who plan on using a gun in their first criminal act can pass a background check and be approved to buy a handgun to use in a crime. Furthermore, people have found illegal ways to get handguns. There should be some thought given to this and laws passed to stop this from happening. Only twenty seven percent of handguns are actually bought from retail stores. The other seventy three percent of handguns are obtained illegally, through family or friends, the black market, and theft. This means that seventy three percent of handguns in the United States are owned illegally and can be used illegally without being traced to the person actually committing the crime. Someone with a gun in their own name would be much less likely to use it in a crime. Some kind of enforcement is needed against people who have a handgun that was purchased illegally from an authorized retail store. Stronger enforcement of laws already in place can be an immense help towards getting illegal guns off the street, as well as making it harder for criminals to get handguns. We also could be much more strict on gun dealers who carelessly sell firearms without doing thorough background checks.
With fewer criminals in possession of handguns, fewer criminals will have the ability to commit handgun related crimes. “Guns and crime are often linked. Guns are frequently used to commit robbery and murder, crimes in which human lives are either threatened or taken.”(Barbara Klier). This is proven by the facts that handguns are used in approximately two-thirds of all homicides, half of all suicides, over one-third of all robberies, and one-fifth of all aggravated assaults. Handguns are used in forty-two percent of these violent crimes with over twelve percent of these gun attacks resulting in death. These statistics alone show the importance of creating stricter gun control laws.
Another thing we should focus on are gun shows. Most guns shows make it fairly easy to obtain a firearm of any kind because of a lack of rule and regulation. For example the gun shows in the Astro Arena are not required to conduct background checks or commence to a waiting period. Yes this does make buying handguns faster and easier but to what extent, and to what loss. Not everyone selling items at these gun shows are required to have a license to sell guns or are authorized dealers. Many people at these gun shows do it as a hobby and not a business. The only regulations these groups are required to comply with are age limits. Someone purchasing a rifle or shotgun must be at least eighteen years of age and a person purchasing a handgun or semi-automatic weapon must be twenty one years of age. This makes it relatively simple for anyone over the age of eighteen to purchase a firearm. If we made more restrictions for these types of gun dealers then perhaps we could keep more guns out of criminal hands. By making it more difficult for criminals to buy guns at these gun shows we can help reduce the amount of violent crimes committed in America.
Another one of the principal arguments against gun control is that it takes away our constitutional right to bear arms granted to us in the second amendment. However, this can not be considered a true statement. According to Trudy A. Karlson,” Court cases make clear that the second amendment applies to state organized militias not individual citizens or informal groups that call themselves militias.”(Reducing firearm injury and death). Although we still have the right to bear arms it is not intended for us to use them for personal encounters. “…the framers of the constitution clearly intended ordinary citizens to posses arms and to be prepared to carry these arms into battle in defense of the state.”(Gregg Lee Carter). This last statement supports the idea that we have the right to bear arms but those rights that were given to us many years ago do come with restrictions. We can not take away some ones right to protect themselves but strict gun control laws will not result in this. Strict gun control laws will however; take those rights away from those who use guns to take the lives, and loved ones away from others, maybe even our own.
An additional reason that handguns are a target of the gun control movement is because they have been built and designed to kill human beings. “Three specific design features enhance killing power: the “three deadly C’s” of concealability, capacity, and caliber.”(Josh Sugarman, pg.6). The concealability of a handgun refers to its small size which makes it easy to carry secretly or without people knowing. This makes them more dangerous because they can be carried around and used without being seen. The capacity of a handgun refers to the amount of shots it can fire. Since handguns are difficult to shot accurately they were designed to hold several bullets so it has the ability to fire several rounds quickly. Finally, caliber shows the size of a bullet. Bigger bullets have a higher caliber and are designed to make a bigger wound, which increase the lethality of the handgun. This brings an abundance of fear to the average American citizen. Some may begin to think about the kind of people that will own a gun if strict restrictions are placer on the purchasing and owning of firearms.
Citizens have shown a concern against gun control because as Pheobe Courtney states,” When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.”(Phoebe Courtney). Courtney explains that people are concerned that if criminals obtain handguns and handguns are outlawed people will begin to feel as if they can not protect themselves. This however should not be described as an attack against gun control, but gun banning. With gun control civilians should be able to purchase a weapon for protection only after licensing and extensive background checks for any type of criminal activity have occurred and these individuals have been cleared. These background checks should also include charges against people who have not yet been prosecuted and any reported confrontations that have recently occurred involving the person purchasing the gun. If we become more strict against criminals purchasing weapons and the average citizen and gun owner would become willing to protect themselves more responsibly we can take violent crime hostage.
Furthermore, people against gun control feel that it is an attack against the handgun itself instead of the people using it. We should ask our selves, why would one need a gun if there not going to use it? When a handgun is put into the hands of someone who has no intention of using it, it has become another gun that can be easily stolen and used to commit a violent crime. This gives the criminal another opportunity to steal a gun, instead of attempting to buy one. Stealing guns instead of buying them makes it much easier to surpass the screening process that comes along with legally purchasing a firearm. Every handgun someone buys that they think they will use for protection is another handgun that has passed through our states gun control screening and has been made immediately available for criminals to use in a violent crime such as a murder, rape, or aggravated assault.
At last it has been made apparent that through the use of gun control, stricter purchasing of different types of firearms, using stricter background checks, and adding enforcement to people with illegal handguns and the people they purchased them from, can significantly lower crime rates and increase safety in our nation. Making the purchase of firearms more difficult can significantly lower the number of criminals carrying a legal handgun. Stricter laws towards illegal handguns will help prevent people from using and possessing them. Handguns are the most lethal firearms concerning the gun control issue and much consideration should be given to making the ownership of one more difficult. Our nations criminals have proved again and again that the privilege, not the right, of owning a handgun is too much of a responsibility for them to handle and like anything else they should lose the privilege. There is no reason not to focus on a stricter gun control plan when it is for the safety and well being of our loved ones and us.