The gun control debate like any other debate should be clear about the issues involved. A healthy debate will present the gun control pros and cons with supporting information so that people who follow the gun control debate will be able to decide their own stand on the issue. Some of the issues to be considered in a gun control debate are gun control facts and the relative merits of the points made by either side.
A gun control debate should invariably discuss gun death statistics. What do these statistics reveal? Apart from showing the number of gun deaths per year and how the number of gun crimes in a region is related to the number of guns owned in that region, gun death statistics also indicate that gun crime impacts the economy as well. Every year, the United States is losing a whopping $3.7 billion as a consequence of gun crime.
One of the arguments we often hear in the gun control debate is the claim that crime can be reduced by equipping people with guns. This claim is not backed by any evidence. In fact, evidence only shows that having more guns results in increase in crime. gun control articles that contribute to a gun control debate should discuss such claims and bring out this fact so that people will not be swayed by such baseless claims.
Gun control debate should also examine some theoretical arguments presented by the pro gun control groups. One such argument is that gun control laws have no place in a democracy. This argument misses the point that tyranny is the antithesis of democracy and hence any kind of tyranny including the lawlessness created by gun violence should be curbed by laws. So, anti gun laws do not seek to prevent guns but only tyranny.
Gun control debate can be vitiated by taking the debate away from the real issues. This is often done by certain anti gun control groups including the National Rifles Association (NRA). The NRA, though considered to be an association of sportsmen, in practice, functions as a lobby. Participants in the gun control debate should also bring to light the fact that the NRA is not a political organization but just a lobbyist body.
Why should we look at gun crime statistics? The obvious answer is that by looking at gun crime statistics, we have a better understanding of the gun crime scene. But this does not happen with some people. For them, gun death statistics are just some numbers with no significance. This attitude may be assumed for two reasons. Some people do not understand the significance of gun crime statistics. For some other people, gun control facts are irrelevant since they do not support their side in the gun control debate!
The second category of people, as you might have guessed, belong to the anti gun control lobby. This lobby is led by the National Rifles Association (NRA). Though the NRA is an association by its name, it is little more than a lobby of people claiming the right to own guns irrespective of the consequences of uncontrolled gun ownership revealed by gun crime statistics. The NRA has a policy of not compromising on its rigid stand against gun control. Obviously, gun crime statistics will be of no concern to the NRA and its supporters.
Te picture presented by gun crime statistics will be disturbing for anyone but uncomfortable for the anti gun control groups. Let us take a look at just a few facts revealed by gun control statistics. The number of deaths caused by the use of guns every year in the United States is estimated to be in the range of 30,000. Another fact is that the gun ownership ratio is the highest for the US. People in our country own about 50 percent of the guns in the world though our country holds only about 5 percent of the population of the world. We can see a clear correlation between high rate of gun ownership and high rate of gun deaths.
Another disturbing fact revealed by gun crime statistics is that in places that have a large number of people owning guns, not only the number of murders but also the number of suicides is high. Thus gun crime statistics show that unrestricted ownership will result in not only a large number of murders but also a large number of suicides.
Everyday, several people become victims of gun death. We all know that death is inevitable but we cannot say the same thing about gun death. Gun death, after all, is very much preventable, if only we are willing to act.
Gun death statistics are staring at us from the newspaper pages but most of us just ignore it treating them to be of no concern to us. We should understand that though statistics are given in figures, they are not just numbers. Gun crime statistics should be read like a report on crimes committed by the use of guns. Such an attitude will make us identify with the cause of gun control instead of treating gun death as yet another crime report in a newspaper.
Who is concerned about gun death? If we look at the fact that a large number of articles being written about gun crime, we can understand that a number of people are concerned at the tragedy of gun death and want something done to check gun crime. On the other hand, we have certain lobbies that are keen on preventing any strong gun laws from coming into existence. These lobbies are led by the National Rifles Association (NRA).
The NRA and its supporters counter the arguments in favor of preventing gun death by invoking the second amendment. Their logic is that the right of gun ownership given to us by this law should not be taken away. The flaw in this argument is that any law is subject to change. It is also relevant to remember that 99 percent of the information for the second amendment was prepared by people who never went to college, leave alone the fact that they had no legal background. The supporters of NRA also claim that in a democracy, we cannot have laws controlling gun ownership. They ignore the fact that democracy can survive only if anarchy is prevented and gun control measures are a way to prevent lawlessness.
Legislators who should be in the know of gun control facts are expected to weigh gun control pros and cons and act appropriately. But we have some pro NRA legislators who have no qualms about making rules to ensure that the National Institute of Health will be hampered in its efforts to study the problem of gun violence leading to gun death.
What is the role of gun control articles? In general some articles have the purpose of entertaining the readers and some have the purpose of enlightening them. Gun control articles fall under the second category. By discussing the gun control pros and cons, gun control articles help the readers have a clear understanding of gun control facts.
Gun control articles give a lot of statistics. The gun crime statistics given by them show the severity of the gun control issue. I read in a gun control article that gun death is not an isolated event affecting only an individual. It affects even the economy. The United States suffers an economic loss of 3.7 billion dollars every year on account of gun deaths. People who learn this kind of facts from gun control articles will definitely ponder over the need for measures to control gun ownership.
Why do people own guns? The reason given by the pro gun people is that owning a gun will protect us from possible attacks by criminals. But gun control articles reveal another side of gun ownership. They quote gun crime statistics to show that in about 40 percent of the households that have guns, children will be able to access the guns because they know where the guns are kept. After learning this fact, people will think twice about owning a gun. This is how gun control articles spread the awareness about the consequences of unrestricted gun ownership.
Gun control articles also highlight another fact by analyzing gun death statistics. The US fares worse than South Africa when we compare the ratio of gun deaths to the number of people living in the country. This is a shocking revelation about the perils of gun ownership. Gun control articles have also examined the claim made by the pro gun lobby that having more guns will help reduce crime and found that there is no evidence to support this dubious claim.
In spite of all such gun control facts discussed in detail by gun control articles, there are some legislators who are determined to ensure that the demand for strict gun control laws is weakened. They create rules which will prevent the CDC from studying gun violence and hence prevent more facts coming out. But the gun control facts already highlighted by gun control articles create sufficient ground for stricter gun control.
The internet and the airwaves are flooded with gun control articles these days. Since the tragedy in Newtown there is a new energy to confront failed gun laws. However, most people feel that the gun control pros and cons debate is decidedly skewed in favor of those who are pro weapon. We deserve to know ALL the gun control facts.
A recent well investigated gun control essay in Huffington Post sheds some light on the situation. While the the sentiment of millions upon millions of Americans is for stricter gun laws, they are unorganized. On the other hand, the tiny minority that favors easy access to extremely devastating military assault weapons and fewer rules for handgun purchasing is highly organized.
The reason for the imbalance in the debate is the NRA. The National Rifle Association grew from a harmless sportsman’s group dedicated to promoting gun safety into one of the loudest, most well organized lobbying corporations in America. The NRA is the marketing arm of the $12 BILLION arms industry. They do not want Americans to know gun control facts.
The NRA now has a 300 million dollar annual budget. With only about four million members paying $25 a year, the balance of $299 million comes from corporations, endorsements and the donations of arms manufacturers.
The NRA has worked relentlessly to both frame and confuse the debate. Gun control facts are distorted and replaced with false constitutional issues. They encourage a small army of gun extremists to write internet stories that confuse the public. They have established themselves as the voice of gun owners while in fact their policies directly oppose the wishes of even their own membership. NRA members are as horrified with the number of gun deaths in America as anyone else. A poll conducted in 2012 by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, found that 74 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases. The NRA is adamantly opposed to this simple rule.
Americans deserve to get all the gun control facts and to hear a debate presented on an equal footing. That means the NRA, as an industry lobbyist, must be excluded from the conversation.
Has gun crime reached such high proportions that people have chosen to accept gun death as a normal event? Though such a development will be shocking, the reality seems to indicate this to be the case. If we were perturbed by gun death, we will not be sitting on gun death statistics. We, the people of this country have a responsibility to the collective welfare of all of us. The attitude that I will not be concerned with gun death as long as someone close to me is not a victim, cannot be considered healthy.
People who have a nonchalant attitude towards gun death should look at the following gun control pros and cons.
1)Supporting gun control, we have the gun crime statistics revealing that about 60 percent of murders in our country are committed using guns. Does this not show that gun is perceived as a convenient death weapon by the law breakers and is preferred over other weapons like knives, clubs etc?
2)Opposing gun control, we have the familiar argument claiming the right to own guns as a sovereign right gifted to us by the 2nd amendment. But this argument is fallacious for two reasons. One, no law can be considered unchangeable. There is nothing wrong in amending a provision of the 2nd amendment. Secondly, most of the 2nd amendment, about 99 percent of it, was written by people who had never been to a college. So, there can be nothing sacrosanct about a law created by such people.
3)Another argument advanced against gun control is that, in a democracy, we cannot have laws against gun control rights. The weakness of this argument is that the very foundation of democracy is the rule of law. Hence preventing tyranny that can lead to people becoming victims of gun death is also a function of democracy.
While we can present any number of arguments in a gun control debate, the reality of gun death and the imperative need to prevent it should not be overlooked. But the National Rifles Association (NRA) which closes its eyes to the gun death tragedy, functions not like a club but like a lobby by influencing our legislators. The NRA even threatens to defeat the legislators in the primaries, if they do not support the NRA. There is no wonder that our legislators remain unmoved by the recurrence of gun death.
Can gun control facts be interpreted in different ways? I had never thought it was possible. But I am surprised at how some people look at gun control facts and pretend as if they have no significance. If this were not the case, some action would have been taken on the basis of control facts to check the growing occurrences of gun death.
Gun control facts present gun crime statistics in a way that the message conveyed by them cannot be missed. Gun control facts, apart from presenting gun death statistics, also reveal some information which can be shocking. For example, gun control facts show that there is a risk of guns getting into the hands of children who may handle them inappropriately. You may wonder how kids can have access to the guns. Gun control facts show that in 30 percent of the cases, children living in the homes of people owning guns are aware where the guns are kept. Nothing can be easier for these children than taking the guns into their possession if they want.
New gun control facts are being presented in gun control articles that are being written almost everyday. According to one gun control article, strong gun laws will be able to prevent not only murders but also suicides. This is not a speculative conclusion but a conclusion arrived at by studying the developments in countries that have enacted effective gun control laws.
Some people choose to ignore gun control facts and present strange reasons for opposing gun control. One of the arguments emanating from these people is that gun ownership is a right conferred by the second amendment which cannot be taken away. I call this argument as strange because any law is subject to change. Moreover, people who were behind framing about 99 percent of this legislation had no legal background. They did not even have a college education. So, a law created by such people cannot be considered unchangeable.
One of the reasons why the gun control facts have not produced the results they should have, is that some legislators supporting the National rifles Association (NRA) do whatever they can to prevent a strong gun control law being brought in. These legislators even prevent gun violence being studied by organizations like the National Institute of Health. Gun control facts are lost on these people.
Traditionally, a gun control debate will use general arguments to support or oppose the cause of stricter gun control laws. I think some new issues should also be covered in these debates. One thing that should invariably find a place in a gun control debate is gun death. When I say gun death, I am referring to gun death statistics. A gun control debate will become more meaningful if it quotes some relevant gun crime statistics and use these figures to drive down a point.
For example, a gun control debate can bring out the startling information that the United States has about half of the privately owned guns in the world. People listening to you will not understand the significance of this data unless you add that the US has only 5 percent of the population of the world. So, what will happen if a country with such a small share of the population of the world has such a large share of the firearms of the world? By raising this question, the gun control debate will trigger a thinking among its audience. The audience should then be presented with another information that will unravel the consequence of disproportionately large gun ownership. The fact to be brought to light by the gun control debate is that when the number of gun deaths for a population of 100,000 citizens is calculated, our country ranks below South Africa, a country than ranks below us under various other parameters.
Gun control facts also indicate that women and children are more likely to suffer gun death if a household has a gun. Not only that. A study of homicide crimes reveals that in about 60 percent of the cases, guns are used as murder weapons. A gun control debate will be effective only if it makes the audience look at all these facts together and understand the big picture which is that more guns will result in increase in crime.
A gun control debate should not stop with discussing the pros and cons of gun control. It should also look at the credibility of the people who oppose gun control. For example, the fact that the National Rifles Association (NRA), which leads the anti gun control campaign is not an association of sportsmen but is only a anti gun control lobby.
Gun crime statistics are compiled for a purpose. People who take the pains to study gun control facts and compile gun crime statistics intend that these statistics are taken note of by the people concerned and appropriate action taken to rectify the picture presented by these facts. But our legislators do not seem to be concerned about gun death statistics. The only people who seem to be interested in knowing the gun control pros and cons are those who have been keeping the gun control debate alive by bringing in new information as and when such information comes to their notice.
If you are one of those interested in gun crime statistics, you will see some presented in this article. Though there are innumerable facts and figures related to gun violence, I will mention only four of them here.
1) Every year, 30,000 people in our country are killed by the use of firearms. Why does this have to happen? When people can get free access to guns, the chances of some of them using the weapons for committing crimes will always be there.
2) Sometimes, comparative gun crime statistics provide us a better understanding of the gravity of a situation than absolute figures alone could. if somebody thinks that 30,000 gun deaths per year is not a big figure for a country like the United States, he is mistaken. Because, another study reveals that the US is placed in a worse position than South Africa, if the ratio of gun deaths to the population is considered.
3) Another disturbing piece of gun crime statistics is that the number of children becoming victims of gun violence is higher in those regions that have a high rate of gun ownership. The news about the safety of our children should definitely be a cause of concern to all of us.
4) It has been found that strict gun control laws can act as a deterrent against not only murders but also suicides.
Unfortunately, gun crime statistics like the above seem to be falling on deaf ears, if we consider the attitudes of our legislators. Some of them seem to be driven by the fear of losing their primaries if they do not toe the anti gum control stand of the National Rifles Association (NRA), since the NRA has been threatening them that it will work for their defeat in case they do not support its stand.
Gun death statistics have been constantly staring at us for long but we seem to be looking elsewhere. The idea of making gun control laws stronger just remains an ideal with no concrete action being taken. Yet gun control facts cannot be ignored pretending that they do not concern us. Gun death has been assuming serious proportions over the years. Gun death statistics are getting updated with every new crime committed by the use of guns. The big question is whether these figures will succeed in awakening us from our slumber and give life to stronger gun control laws that have remained in the realm of discussions for too long.
One item of gun death statistics reveals that guns have been used in about 60 percent of homicides. This data alone should have settled the gun control debate in favor of giving more tooth to the gun control laws. But it has not happened. Deliberations on gun control pros and cons are still going on as if talking about the issue itself is a way of solving it.
Gun death statistics show that the problem has other dimensions in addition to the loss of precious human lives. Gun deaths have taken a toll on our economy as well. You may not believe it but gun crime statistics do not lie. The loss to the US economy on account of gun violence is huge. It is estimated in the range of four billion dollars per year. Should our legislators not act at least on this count? They do not even seem to be ashamed by the revelation that our country has a more dismal record of the ratio of gun deaths to population than a country like South Africa has.
Gun death statistics disturb everyone except organizations like the National Rifles Association (NRA). Though it is an association of sportsmen in name, it has been functioning like a paid lobbyist for the anti gun control groups. Gun control opponents counter gun death statistics by claiming that in a democracy, there is no place for gun control. What they fail to realize that gun control is needed to protect democracy by preventing the tyranny resulting from gun violence.