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.
Some people seem to think that gun death is like an accident and has to be accepted as an inevitable event we have to face as and when it occurs. They are right in a way since both a gun death and an accident are preventable to a great extent. We have traffic rules to minimize the incidence of accidents. Should we not have gun control rules to check the occurrence of gun death?
Just as figures for accidents are compiled, studied and used for monitoring the situation, gun death statistics should also be studied and analyzed. Gun crime statistics reveal the shocking information about the incidence of gun death in our country. There are about 30,000 deaths occurring every year due to gun violence. If this is not shocking enough, more shocking information is revealed by gun control facts. One such information is that in the regions where more people have guns, more children are killed by guns. People who keep arguing that possession of guns will be the best protection to our families against attacks by anti social elements have to ponder over this question. Do we have to risk the precious lives of our children just for asserting our irrational beliefs?
People interested in learning about the gun control pros and cons will like to know about the impact of gun control laws. Has strict gun control legislation helped reduce gun crime in other countries? The answer is a resounding yes. We have the example of Australia which has been able to bring down gun related crimes by nearly 60 percent after tightening gun control laws.
Though the gun control debate is weighed heavily in favor of gun control based on gun control facts, opposition to gun control comes from some quartets. The National Rifles Association (NRA) has been particularly carrying on a campaign against gun control. The activities of NRA and its indifference to the tragedy of gun death make one wonder whether it is an association of sportsmen as claimed by it or it is a lobbyist forum.
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.
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.
When we read the newspapers, we often come across gun crime statistics. I have often felt that compiling statistics may not be of much use since most of the statistics are never used. But I feel differently about gun crime statistics. They are of great use in understanding the factors behind the crimes and give the authorities the needed information to take appropriate steps to curb gun crime and thereby prevent the unfortunate phenomenon of gun death from becoming a serious problem.
But unfortunately, I find that the arguments used in a gun control debate are not always based on gun crime statistics. In the name of discussing gun control pros and cons, people engaged in this debate bring in extraneous factors and sentimental values to support their stand against a strong gun control law. One of the often heard arguments advanced by certain groups is that the gun ownership rights conferred on us by the 2nd amendment are not to be tampered with under any circumstances. Apart from countering this specious reasoning by revealing the fact that the 2nd amendment for most part was the work of people with no legal education, we should use more of gun crime statistics available in gun control articles, to turn the gun control debate in the right direction.
The information that 30,000 people in America are killed by guns is more relevant to the gun control debate than sentimental objections like the one above. An organization like the National Rifles Association, (NRA) which is in the forefront of blocking any tightening of the gun control laws follows a policy of not compromising on its rigid stand against gun control measures. It has the support of some legislators who have been blocking the efforts of independent bodies like the CDC even from making a study of gun violence. But not withstanding all the efforts put up by the anti gun control lobby, gun crime statistics like the evidence of countries with fewer guns having fewer crimes bolster the case for a stringent gun law.
It is difficult to say when the gun control debate started but we can see the gun control debate going on forever as if it will never come to and end. The only way the debate can be ended is by the lawmakers taking some concrete action that will address the problem of gun death. Till that time, the gun control pros and cons will keep making the rounds by way of gun control debate. What are the gun control issues being debated?
1) People who are against any tightening of the legislation on gun ownership cite one popular argument by invoking the 2nd amendment. Their logic is that since the 2nd amendment has given us the right to own and bear guns, that right should not be taken away. By rising this point in the gun control debate, these people expect to silence the protagonists of stricter gun control laws. But the other side can effectively counter this by pointing out that people who wrote 99 percent of the 2nd amendment had no legal qualification and hence there is no legal basis for this point.
2) On the other hand, people advocating stronger gun control back up their stand citing gun crime statistics. In fact, there are several gun control facts in support of legislation to put restrictions on gun control. One such fact is that the gun owning population of the US is very high. America contains just 5 percent of the world population but it has 50 percent of the private guns in the world! Gun death statistics pointing out that gun control laws, in addition to preventing murders, also prevent suicides. With such strong points in their favor, the supporters of gun control laws seem to have an edge in the gun control debate.
Starved of points in their favor, the opponents of stronger gun control take to other methods to scuttle legislation coming up. The National Rifles Association (NRA) is known to be issuing threats to legislators that if they support gun control legislation, the NRA will work for defeating them in the primaries. In the background of such threats, some legislators cannot take a stand based on a healthy gun control debate.