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Gun Control - essay from college days a few years back
Gun Control Does Not Deter Crime
November 24, 2009
Thesis - Since criminals use illegal firearms, guns should not be regulated in an attempt to decrease crimes involving guns; doing so will only put the innocent at an unfair disadvantage in self defense.
Audience - pro gun control politicians
Purpose - convince politicians to support gun ownership by law abiding citizens
To remain safe in America, we must not let our right to own guns be controlled.
Each American must utilize the right to vote and place politicians in office that respect the right of self defense to all citizens by owning guns. Our communities are safer when law abiding people are allowed to own guns because every person is allowed the opportunity for self defense. Self defense is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution (Kates). There are a few citizens who should not be allowed to own a gun including under age citizens, and citizens with mental illnesses. Allowing law abiding, mentally stable citizens of legal age to own guns puts criminals at a disadvantage, provides a greater possibility of surviving a violent crime, and slows the crime rate. Furthermore, since criminals use illegal firearms, guns should not be regulated in an attempt to decrease crimes involving guns; doing so will only put the innocent at a disadvantage in self defense. A better way to help prevent gun related violence should be with stricter punishment for those who perpetrate gun crimes. Those who oppose the right of individuals to own guns claim limiting gun ownership will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The line of thinking that restricting gun ownership w»H keep guns out of the hands of criminals is not true. Regardless of gun laws, criminals will find a way to have guns (Stossel). After all, they are not concerned with obeying the laws.
Criminals don't have to buy their weapons at the local gun shop. They obtain
their weapons on the streets. When maximum security prisoners in New Jersey were interviewed about gun control, they said: "I'm not going in the store to buy no gun, ...so, I could care less if they had a background check or not. There's guns everywhere, ...If you got money, you can get a gun" (qtd. in Stossel). It stands to reason that law abiding citizens cannot easily go and find where to buy guns on the street. The people supplying guns to criminals would not want to be known by law abiding citizens as this couM blow their cover. Thus, by regulating guns the government would only be helping the criminals because they would be the only ones with guns.
Criminals are more worried about armed citizens rather than the police or prison.
One inmate stated that it was harder to rob a house of a stranger because he didn't know if or how they were armed (Stossel). If criminals had to worry about getting shot, the crime rate would show a significant decrease.
When citizens are allowed to own guns, the "bad" guys have to worry about
being shot. A citizen has a much better chance to survive when the attacker can be stopped before the attack (Levy). It is much safer to have many armed dtizens for safety and protection rather than only a few law enforcement officers. Law enforcement officers can't be in all places at the same time. Criminals know the limitation of law officers' ability to be in all places. Criminals look for officers of the law. They also know that an officer is trained to stop the crime without shooting the attacker if at all possible. Criminals don't know if a frightened citizen may fire a warning shot or if they will shoot to kill. It is clear that gun control laws work in the favor of the criminals. The government should not attempt to deter crime by controlling guns. The only thing that controlling
guns accomplishes is denying citizens their right under the Constitution to self defense.
Perhaps rather than focusing on limiting law abiding citizens' right to self defense by owning guns, the government should focus on the punishment of criminals who use guns. The government should turn their attention to increasing the penalties for crimes using guns. The government should also enforce these penalties to the maximum for each gun related crime committed. The National Rifle Association has issued statements suggesting that the government worry more about punishing criminals than limiting gun ownership to law abiding citizens (Jost). Crime by guns would decrease if criminals had to worry not only about their victim having a gun, but also the strong punishment that would follow the crime by the government's law enforcement system.
Although it is important to call for help and to call the proper authorities when a crime occurs, it is more important to first be able to protect yourself. When an intruder has entered the victim's home and holds the person at gun point, a weapon of equal power is more likely to save a life than dialing a phone. Once the phone is picked up, the intruder may shoot before the call is complete and most certainly before help arrives. If, instead, a gun is pulled and fired to injure the attacker, an innocent life is saved (Levy). Now is the time to call for help. Now that the intruder finds that he has lost the upper hand and is now under gun point, he is hoping that the authorities come to his rescue quickly.
Gun ownership by law abiding citizens slows down crime because criminals are at a disadvantage. Suddenly, everyone has the potential of not only self protection, but also the ability to end a fife - including that of the perpetrator. In 1982, two cities passed gun ordinances with great differences in results. In the first city, Evanston, Illinois, enforced a near total gun ban. The increase in crime over the next year involving violent crime, murder, and gun related robbery indicates that even the most strict gun bans will not deter crime. In the second crty, Atlanta, Georgia, a gun ordinance was also passed. This one required every household to have a gun. In this example all crime dropped (Lee). WfVh these two examples alone, it is obvious that guns are a good way to control crime when they are owned by law abiding citizens. Those who commit crimes know that the victim cannot defend against a gun with anything less than a
firearm, and they also know that the victim can't outrun a bullet.
On April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech thirty-two people were killed and fifteen were
injured before the killer took his own life. On January 30, 2006, a bill died in the Virginia General Assembly. The bill was to allow students and employees who were property licensed for concealed weapons to carry guns at Virginia Tech. If this bill had passed into law, just one law abiding citizen carrying a gun on Virginia Tech campus April 16, 2007, could have stopped the killer before he completed his two hours of murders and injuries. The friends and family of those murdered and injured surely hold the people who allowed the bill to die responsible for those murders and injuries (Levy).
Similarly in 1991, 23 people were killed and 20 injured by George Jo Hennard.
After his massacre, Hennard ended his own life. Among those in that cafeteria in
Killeen, Texas, that day were Dr. Gratia and her parents. Her parents were victims. The doctor reached for her purse where she had previously carried a gun. She remembered it was left in her car. Dr. Gratia had a permit to carry a weapon in her car, but due to state law she could not carry it in her purse. The politicians who enabled that legislature should be made to feel guilty and responsible for the toss of lives and the injuries. Again if law abiding citizens, such as Dr. Gratia, are allowed to carry a gun some of the dead would still be living (Lee).
In Anniston, Alabama, Thomas Glen Terry legally carried his gun into a
Shoney's restaurant. Twenty people were forced into a cooler by three thugs. Terry was under a table when one of the attackers spotted and fired at him. Terry shot and killed one of the robbers, injured another, and the last robber managed to escape. Because Terry was armed, the twenty people were not harmed (Lee). Obviously, those people who kill innocent unprotected citizens have no regard for obeying the law. Gun control would not keep a gun from the killer's hands. It only keeps the guns from the victims. Thus, the citizens are left defenseless against violent attacks (Roleff).
In a study of guns used for self defense, it was found to be between 800,000 and 2.4 million times annually that guns were used for self defense. When guns are used in this manner, death and injury are minimal. Studies show 90% of the instances result with no wounds or death when guns are used in self defense. The study also showed that a majority of gun owners would fire the gun to scare the criminal away rather than shoot to kill the violator (Lee). Law abiding citizens do not want to live with the fact that they have taken a life. Instead, the citizens of America need to feel sate and able to protect themselves by having power equal to that of an assailant.
As wth every rule, there is always an exception. When considering owning weapons, the individual wishing to own a gun must be determined to not only be a law abiding citizen, but also of sound mind. A few citizens of the United States of America should not be allowed to own fire arms. Two groups of citizens who would be a possible threat to society or themselves include people with mental illnesses and people under legal age. Despite the attempts of the Brady Campaign to strengthen laws on carrying concealed weapons, the Campaign does contain two good points. The Brady Campaign works to have a background check that prevents people with mental illness or people under age from buying a gun. The Campaign also suggests regular ownership of some types of weapons (Jost). For self defense, it is not necessary <or/ citizens to own machine guns, or other types of terrorist weapons- Restricting gun ownership of non-military style weapons to mentally stable, law abiding citizens who are of legal age should be the only involvement the government has in gun control.
In order for a Brady style type of background check to work, a system would need to be devised to have instant access to an individual's records. The National Rifle Association supports legislation to find a system to prevent gun sales to people who may be harmful to themselves or others (Jost). It would be necessary to have all information pertaining to criminal activity or mental illness to be reported to the background check system. To make background checking more effective, congress is looking at offering financial rewards to states that keep their reporting up to date (Jost). The background check system would need to work with law abiding citizens to ensure their right to own fire arms is protected.
Gun control does not work. In studies by Don B. Kates, murder was shown to
have dropped by a third when gun ownership by responsible citizens doubted. This summary was taken from a thirty year study from 1974 to 2003. The summary also showed a correlation where a one percent increase in gun ownership had slightly over four percent drop in crime (Levy). What would be the result of a five percent increase in gun ownership by law abiding citizens? Would crime drop by twenty percent? Since criminals fear being shot, it stands to reason that crime would continue to drop in an inverse relationship to gun ownership.
Owning a gun is more than a freedom of choice. It is a way of survival. Creating
laws to take away guns only encourages crime (Roleff). Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and burglars benefit from the regulation of guns. They are relieved from fearing what will be waiting for them on the inside of the house, they don't worry about grabbing the lady walking from the supermarket to her car, and criminals have no concern when they shoot an innocent bystander. Attackers do not fear mace, personal tazers, or knives. These items cannot protect against a gun.
The government must allow the law abiding citizens the right to protect
themselves by not regulating guns. The right to bear arms is provided to the citizens in the Constitution. Americans must not allow the government to take away this right. It is the responsibility of the elected politicians to uphold the Second Amendment. Since tine criminals buy their guns off the streets, regulating gun ownership will not prevent them from having guns. Thus the right to bear arms must not be taken away from citizens by the government. Benefits of law abiding, mentally stable citizens of legal age owning guns include reducing gun related crimes, allowing self defense to law abiding citizens,
putting the criminals at risk, and a enabling a greater chance of a citizen sur><N\ng an attack. A more effective way to control gun crimes would be to create and enforce move harsh punishment for the criminals who commit gun crimes, not by taking guns away from law abiding citizens.
Jost, Kenneth. “An Overview of Guns an Crime.” At Issue: Guns and Crime.
Ed. Louise Gerdes. Greenhaven Press. 2008. Opposing Viewpoints Resource
Center. Tri-County Technical College Library. 19 Nov. 2009 <:http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>
Kates, Don B. “The Right to Own a Gun Is Guaranteed by the Constitution.” At Issue: Is Gun Ownership a Right? Ed. Kelly Doyle. Greenhaven Press,2009. Online. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Tri-County Technical
College Library. 7 Oct.2009 <http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>.
Lee, Robert W. "Gun Control Does Not Reduce Violent Crime." Opposing Viewpoints: Gun Control. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. Greenhaven Press, 1997. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Tri-County Technical College Library. 7 Ocit. 2.009 <http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>.
Levy, Richard A. "Gun Control Does Not Reduce Violent Crime." At Issue: Guns and Crime. Ed. Louise Gerdes. Greenhaven Press. 2008. Online. Opposing
Viewpoints Resource Center. Tri-County Technical College Library. 7 Oct.2009 <http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>.
Roleff, Tamara L.. ed. Opposing Viewpoints: Gun Control. Greenhaven Press, 1997. Online. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Tri-County Technical
College Library. 7 Oct.2009 <http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>.
Stossel, John. "Gun Control Laws Have Not Reduced Violent Crime." Current
Controversies: Guns and Violence. Ed. Debra A. Miller. Greenhaven Press, 2005.Online. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Tri-County Technical
College Library. 7 Oct.2009 <http://liboc.tctc.edu:2052/ovrc>.