Who has not listened to a gun control debate? Almost everyone living in this country should have witnessed such debates. Some people might not have listened to a formal debate. But an informal gun control debate is being carried on by many groups and individuals. It is very unlikely that you have not listened to one. Recall the occasions when you were traveling or waiting somewhere when you have heard your neighbors discussing gun control pros and cons. These conversations are also gun control debates in the wider sense of the term. After all, a debate does not have to be a formal one.
The question where the gun control debate is heading to arises from the fact that there have been innumerable rounds of this debate but no conclusion seems to have been reached. Gun control facts show what has been happening around us. So, what more is needed to arrive at a decision on gun control? Gun crime statistics show that guns are used in about 60 percent of the homicide crimes. But how do we react to these kinds of gun death statistics? If we are going to accept these facts passively, then gun control debates will end up only as an academic exercise. Gun crime statistics should make us sit up and evaluate the gun control pros and cons. Does the fact that guns are increasingly being used for committing murders not contradict the argument of the pro gun lobbies that guns are for protection?
Another shocking data is that the number of suicides is higher in regions that have a larger number of gun owning people. So, gun ownership, far from protecting people from crime, only seems to be helping people commit suicides in an emotional moment by making guns readily available to them! On the other hand, it has been well established that gun control laws help prevent murders as well as suicides. This has been the experience of those countries that have implemented strict gun control laws. But how do the anti gun control groups respond to these arguments? They just do not participate in the gun control debate. They have made it clear that they will not be moved by gun crime statistics. The NRA (National Rifles Association) has made no secret of its stand of not compromising on its opposition to gun control. The NRA seems to be acting like a lobby, not like a club.
One remarkable thing about the gun control debate is that though this debate has been carried on for the past few decades ever since gun control became a serious issue after President Kennedy was gunned down by an assassin, it has been able to sustain the interest of the people. We have listened to many gun control pros and cons but somehow, people engaging in the gun control debate have been successful in keeping the debate lively and engrossing. The debate itself has been kept alive because of our failure to bring in a strong gun control regime in spite of going over a volley of gun control facts again and again.
One reason for the gun control debate remaining lively is the emergence of new gun crime facts. With the gun crime continuing to take its toll everyday at several places, gun death statistics are getting updated. The updated statistics can be effectively used in a gun control debate to make the debate contemporary and interesting. Here are some gun control facts used in the debates.
The United States has a disproportionately large number of guns relative to its population. This can be seen from two sets of data. The US has 89 guns for a population of 100. It is easy to see that this works out to almost one gun for every person living in this country. Another data reveals that the US has about 50 percent of the number of privately owned guns in the country though its share of the population of the world is only 5 percent. Together, these two data show that there is a high concentration of guns in the US.
In addition to mentioning these points in the gun control debate, the protagonists of gun control should also bring to light the fact that the children and women living in houses where guns are present are under a greater risk of becoming victims of gun crime. If we contrast this with the fact that countries that have introduced strong gun control laws have reported a drop in the number of both murders and suicides, we can understand the connection between unrestrained gun ownership and the incidence of crime. An argument often heard in a gun control debate about the 2nd amendment giving people the right to own guns ignores the fact that 99 percent of this law was written by people with no legal background.
Of late, we have been hearing reports that strengthening the gun control laws has been engaging the attention of the government. This should be heartening to those who have realized the importance of bringing in laws to check the growing incidence of gun crime. We cannot keep ignoring gun control facts that show the gravity of the situation so clearly that no one can miss the reality. We have been debating the gun control pros and cons for too long, without taking any action and allowing the situation to deteriorate.
People who have been watching the gun control debate will be aware of the facts relating to gun death. Gun crime statistics cover a range of factors from the extent of gun ownership in our country to the impact of gun legislation on crime in those countries that have brought in an effective gun control regime. The gun ownership data shows that the ratio of guns owned to the population is very high for the United States. This is revealed by the fact that people in our country own about half of the total guns available in the world, while the US population is only about 5 percent of the population of the world.
Another item of data that will strongly support the need for greater gun control is that countries that have taken the decision to go in for strong gun control laws have seen a significant decline in the number of murders. Gun control facts thus show that more guns lead to more gun violence and that greater gun control leads to decrease in crime.
In contrast, the arguments advanced by the anti gun control groups lack conviction. One of the claims made by these groups is that the right to gun ownership granted by the 2nd amendment in an inviolable right. The weakness of this argument stems from the fact that almost the entire law was based on the inputs provided by people who had no legal background. Another argument of these people that gun control has no place in a democracy ignores the fact that for democracy to survive, tyranny has to be curbed. Gun control laws are aimed not at preventing people from owning guns but at checking tyranny. But such arguments will have no impact on bodies like the NRA (National Rifles Association) who follow a policy of no compromise.
Facts are facts and so are gun control facts. Then why do we choose to ignore them? Though gun control facts are made available to us almost continuously and the picture presented by the gun crime statistics show that gun control is the need of the hour, this issue still remains unresolved. We can ignore gun death statistics and keep enjoying uncontrolled gun ownership only if gun control facts are not facts but lies. But everyone knows that only gun control facts are for real and they show how the gun crime scene of our country has been worsening every day.
Let us take just two gun control facts and see what message we can logically derive from them. Let us also examine how certain groups react to gun control facts.
1) Gun control articles have brought out the information on gun ownership of Americans. When we look at the number of guns available in the United States and see how this number is related to the population of the country, we are faced with an astounding revelation. For every 100 people in our country, there are 89 guns. This means that the number of guns in the US is very close to the number of people living in the country.
2) Gun control facts also indicate that countries that have made gun laws stronger are able to bring down the number of guns. Comparing this information with the gun ownership in the US, we can see that gun death is directly proportional to gun ownership!
How does the National Rifles Association (NRA)react to these gun control facts? The NRA has placed two arguments in the gun control debate. First, it says that since the right to own guns is a right given to us by the 2nd amendment, it cannot be touched by any other law. The NRA is not unaware of the fact that close to 99 percent of this amendment was based on the data prepared by people with no legal education.
Another argument presented by the NRA to counter the gun control facts is that in a democracy, there cannot be a restriction on people owning guns. The NRA has ignored the fact that gun control measures have the aim of curbing anarchy that may result from uncontrolled gun ownership and the idea is not to prevent people from owning guns. Gun control facts should be understood in their perspective.
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.
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.
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.