The United States has a strong gun culture, and it is estimated that there are over 300 million privately owned firearms in the country. With this number, the US is a developed country with the highest proportion of private gun ownership. In recent years, there have been calls for the government to impose harsh gun control policies to limit the number of firearms in private hands. These calls have been made in light of some highly publicized incidences of gun-related violence in the country. Cases of mass murders carried out with guns such as the Sandy Hook Killings and the Virginia Polytechnic shootings have been used to support the adoption of a stringent domestic policy on gun control. This position paper is against the imposition of gun control by the Federal and State government. The paper reveals that the relationship between gun ownership and violence in the US is misleading, and in addition to this, the government does not have the constitutional right to control gun ownership.
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Advocacy for Gun Control
Most of the calls for the government to implement gun control have been in reaction to tragic incidents involving the killing of individuals by attackers possessing guns. Butkus and Doherty (2014) confirm that the mass shootings that occurred in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary and in 2007 at Virginia Tech University have brought firearm violence to the forefront of national discussion. Supporters of gun control argue that the perpetrators of these deadly shootings would not have been able to carry out the crimes.
Another reason why stringent gun control is called for is that guns are assumed to result in increases in criminal activities. Butkus and Doherty (2014) document that homicide by firearms results in 11,000 deaths each year. In addition to this, criminals exploit the ease with which guns can be accessed in the US to acquire the weapons and use them to commit robberies. Advocates of gun control, therefore, declare that stringent policies on gun ownership would increase security by making it harder for criminals to access firearms.
Why the Government Should Abolish Gun Control
Arguments that guns lead to mass killings are made in spite of the fact that there is no research showing that the likelihood of mass murders increases with the increase in private gun ownership. Metzl and MacLeish (2015) reveal that the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook shooting suffered from mental illnesses, a factor that contributed to his actions. Gun control cannot make the murderously insane abandon their plans to inflict damage to society. Instead of calling for gun control, society should look for ways to identify and address the underlying issues that lead individuals to commit mass murders. Changing the US domestic policy on gun control would only make the society more vulnerable to the actions of the murderously insane.
Many citizens acquire guns to protect themselves and their families. Vernick (2007) documents that most gun owners feel that guns provide them with self-protection from dangers such as muggings or home break-ins. Excessive gun control would deny citizens the chance to acquire weapons. This would have dire repercussions for the personal security of many individuals who are able to protect themselves more effectively because of the current gun ownership policies. Trotter (2013) reveals that minority groups and women, who happen to be more at risk of criminal attacks, are afforded greater protection by having guns. Without guns, it can be expected that these vulnerable groups will be at the mercy of criminals. The deterrence effect that the mere possession of a gun has on criminals will be removed if gun control is implemented.
It is important to note that the constitution guarantees the Americas the right to possess firearms. Barnett (2013) asserts that the Second Amendment declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” (265). The imposition of gun control by the government essentially infringes on this right. The government is supposed to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens, and as such, gun control is unlawful. Proponents of gun control argue that the right to bear arms was given in a military context since it was meant to ensure that ordinary Americans possessed the means to defend their country. Since the US has a strong military force that can effectively fulfill the role of defense, supporters of gun control state that the individual’s right to bear arms is unnecessary. Legal scholars object to this claim by noting that at the time the Second Amendment was made, the term “bear arms” was not confined to the military context (Barnett, 2013). The government should, therefore, respect the constitution and desist from any attempts to prevent private gun ownership.
This position paper reaffirms the need for the government to abandon attempts to impose gun control in the country. Calls for stringent gun control are made in reaction to mass shootings in the country. The paper has shown that mental health issues rather than gun owners are responsible for such events. The paper has also underscored that gun control would be a violation of the constitutional rights of Americans and should therefore not be adopted. The government should, therefore, abandon all attempts to impose gun control in order to enhance the benefits of private gun ownership and uphold the constitutional rights of all Americans.
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Barnett, R. (2013). Was the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Conditioned on Service in an Organized Militia? Texas Law Review, 83(1), 237-277.
Butkus, R., & Doherty, R. (2014). Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States: Executive Summary of a Policy Position Paper from the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160(2), 858-860.
Metzl, J., & MacLeish, T. (2015). Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms. American Journal of Public Health, 105(2), 240-240.
Trotter, G. (2013). Should Congress Pass Stronger Gun Laws? Congressional Digest, 92(3), 25-31.
Vernick, J. (2007). The Ethics of Restrictive Licensing for Handguns: Comparing the United States and Canadian Approaches to Handgun Regulation. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 32(1), 668-678.