Since 1982, at least sixty-two mass shootings have occurred, thirty-two of them since 2006. (Aronsen). Jared Loughner was sentenced to life in prison after shooting nineteen people in January of 2011. Last July, fifty-eight people were shot and twelve killed while watching the new Batman movie in a theater in Colorado. In December, twenty-six people were murdered, including twenty first-graders, in a Connecticut elementary school (Follman).
The issue of gun violence only becomes relevant after a horrific event such as these, then fades from public concern after about two weeks. The number of injuries and murders using guns in the United States is a large number, which can hopefully be lowered by implementing statewide, or even nationwide gun buyback programs, stricter carrying permit laws, and making it harder for the mentally unstable and convicted felons to legally obtain guns.
The argument for or against gun control has been an ongoing battle since the beginning of the nation. The Second Amendment gives people the “right to bear arms.” When arguing for this Amendment, the factor that is not considered is that it was made so one could protect their person in case of an emergency. There was no police force when this law was created; therefore it was almost every man for himself, the people protected themselves. Now the police force is incredibly large, and is always patrolling the streets to make sure all is well and everyone is safe. Carrying a small handgun in one’s car is reasonable, but is keeping ten different models of machine guns and semi-automatic rifles at home just for fun?
Every year, eight million small firearms and ten to fifteen billion rounds of ammunition are manufactured worldwide. Over eight hundred and seventy-five million firearms are in possession in the world, and 75% belong to the people (Alpers). In the United States, approximately 6.1 million guns are produced each year and there is a ratio of 89 guns to every 100 people (“Firearms Death Rate per 100,000 by State, statehealthfacts.org”).
According to a Gallup poll, the majority of gun owners possess guns for three main purposes: 67% for self-defense, 66% for target shooting, and 62% for hunting (Velasco). If one decides to own guns, they should be kept locked up safely in a private place, so there is not easy access for children in the household or someone incapable of properly operating a firearm.
ARMED FELONS/MENTALLY UNSTABLE
In 2005, Erik Zettergren shot Jason Robinson in the head for attempting to have sex with his wife. He then forced Robinson’s fiancée to assist him in dragging his dead body to the river for disposal. Zettergren was a man with a history of mental health problems, and was a convicted felon who had his rights to possess a gun barred. Two months before the murder, a judge reinstated his rights without even holding a hearing (Luo). Felons commit 90% of all gun crimes, yet most of their rights are given back with little or no review. Juveniles and the mentally unbalanced primarily carry out the remainder of the crimes (Kates Jr.).
A German Neurologist claims he has found the “dark patch” of killer’s brains that is associated with wicked behavior. He classifies these people into three groups. The first he classifies as ‘psychologically healthy,’ people who grow up in an environment where it is ‘OK to beat, steal and murder’. The second type is the mentally disturbed criminal who looks at his world as threatening. The third group is pure psychopaths, a group in which tyrants such as Hitler and Stalin belong. (Hall)
WILL IT SOLVE ANYTHING?
Over thirty-eight thousand people use guns to commit suicide each year. If the guns are taken away from them, they will just find another way to kill themselves. Suicide is a problem that can’t really be solved. On the other hand, guns are also used to kill over eleven thousand people a year (Becker). Again, if the guns are taken away, murderers will find other methods to kill, but if they aren’t using guns, there hopefully won’t be as many deaths. If a man goes into a building with a gun, he can kill an almost unlimited number of people, but if he only has a knife, for example, it’s going to take a lot longer to kill that many people by the time help arrives.
One of the most famous anti-gun organizations is the Brady Campaign,
established in 1974, which has played a major role in the control of guns. Their main goal is to make it more difficult for convicted felons, the mentally unstable, and other such people to obtain guns (“About Us: History of the Brady Campaign”). They presented the Brady Act, passed in 1993, which would “impose a waiting period of up to five days for the purchase of a handgun, and subjects purchasers to a background check” (“Brady Act”). Since the imposition of this act, over one hundred million background checks have been conducted, and more than seven hundred thousand attempted purchases have been denied (“National Instant Criminal Background Check System”).
Another major group is the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, or the CSGV. Their mission statement is “The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.” They are composed of forty-seven national organizations, including religious and social justice organizations, child welfare advocates, and public health professionals. This diversity allows them to reach a wide variety of grassroots in the world (“About Us – Coalition to Stop Gun Violence”).
If people like teachers had carrying permits, they could keep a gun locked up in the classroom, so if a person with a gun comes bursting through the door and threatens to shoot people, or does shoot someone, the teacher can run to grab the gun, and protect the lives of all the children and him/herself. Through further investigation, it has been found that the gun murder rate can be lowered through proper enforcement of carrying permit laws, better help for the mentally unbalanced, and increased gun buybacks.