Attitudes toward and opinions regarding stricter gun control laws in the United States seem to be growing following the dreadful reality of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting ("edition.cnn.com"). There now seems to a nationwide discussion going about regarding the issue of stricter gun control as if it is the solution to prevent such tragedies in the future. People on the news and everywhere else have started talking about the second amendment of the US constitution, which states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (Alstyne). The issue of addressing gun control has even created a lot of buzz on social media sites. Numerous people are starting to feel that the second amendment is only applicable to the army and defense forces, and that ordinary individuals must not own and/or carry armed weapons. Is this the answer? The purpose of this essay is to explore whether there should be stricter gun control laws in the United States.
The truth is that stricter gun control laws is not the answer to preventing the problem of violence in the United States. It may seem like the right answer but it is definitely not the solution. Making firearms inaccessible to mentally unstable individuals is not the ultimate solution, even though it may be a part of the overall solution. This is just not the solution because ever since 2011, 47% of the adult population in the United States own guns (Saad). The level of viciousness of the tragic incident that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School goes beyond any explanation or solution we could ever come up with, especially stricter gun control. Although the statement, “Guns don't kill people, people kill people” is contested by many, but the bottom line is that indeed the gun does not kill but the motive and finger that pulls the trigger that kills.
Men have been killing their fellow men from a very long time, ever since Cain and Abel, when guns certainly did not exist. Yet, Cain was able to murder his brother because he wanted to and because he had access to something that he was able to use to kill him. So it is obvious that if someone wants to harm another fellow human being, they can use whatever weapon might be accessible to them to do it. It must be noted that wearing protective gear has become a recent trend among criminals who commit crimes involving the use of firearms. Their concern is not their own life but to inflict as much damage as they can, and soft areas, especially, where the chances of return fire are least likely, become the target of such criminals. Killings like these will still persist because criminals will continue to break the laws, and stricter gun control will only steal the public’s ability to defend themselves under such circumstances.
Most people agree that indeed people kill, but they believe that guns make it easier for them to kill. The same day that the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting incident took place in which more than 20 people were shot, the same day a man also entered a school in China and stabbed more than 20 people (Bodeen). The point that people potentially argue is that nobody died in the stabbing incident in China, but most of the victims in the Connecticut school shooting were instantly killed. Thus, they argue that regardless of whether people need guns to hunt or to defend themselves, guns, especially semi-automatics and automatics, happen to be lethal weapons. These people believe that today, military-grade firearms are too readily and easily available to the general population of the country. Unfortunately, they are under the misconception that people will not commit a crime if they are not able to obtain a gun.
If criminals want to procure guns, they will not stop. Thus, stricter gun control laws will only make it difficult for people who need to protect themselves from such criminals to carry guns. The fact that handgun possession needs to be deregulated is demonstrated by the gun laws in Texas ("dallasnews.com"). Ever since Texans were allowed to legally carry a firearm in public, there has been a decrease in the number of ‘mass killings’ in the state. If more citizens own a firearm, and vow to use them responsibly, solely for self-defense, then they will be able to defend themselves against a criminal firing a gun. Regardless of stricter gun control regulations and restrictions, criminals will find a way to procure a gun if they need one. Even though gun control seems to work in Europe, the American culture is absolutely different from the European culture. Disorganized crime is prevalent in the United States and the government cannot protect everyone, so people need to have a way to protect themselves.
During the aftermath of incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting incident, gun proponents have often been criticized of having a conservative view of humanity and it is argued that the American culture is intensely tied to guns. Nonetheless, the truth cannot be denied. For all of history of mankind, people have gone on killing sprees, and inflicted violence using whatever tools they had access to, whether knives, swords, or even their bare hands. Violence is unavoidable because people will keep on finding ways to kill, so controlling guns just will not work. With or without guns, society would still have to keep their fingers crossed that they do not end up becoming the victim of a crime, but having a gun in one hand can make them feel safer and enable them to defend themselves. Controlling guns is simply a sign of giving up a liberty out of fear. On the other hands, having a firearm is a way of relying on oneself for protection and to stop being scared.
Not only is the notion of having stricter gun control not a viable solution to reduce gun violence in the United States, but is also quite ludicrous. Moreover, unlike Europe, there are several reasons why achieving stricter level of gun regulation in the United States will be difficult. The most obvious issue is that the citizens of United States are not united on the issue of guns. In a recent poll it was discovered that 42% of Americans are strongly in favor of stricter gun control, while 37% of Americans are in favor of gun rights rather than gun regulation ("people-press.org"). Furthermore, a large number of Americans are strongly against even the most basic restrictions on gun rights. Therefore, gun proponents, who believe in gun rights, vote for candidates accordingly. Thus, conflict among American citizens themselves is one of the main reasons why stricter gun regulation will not succeed in the United States, but that is not all.
It is apparent that many Americans are in favor of gun rights and they are also backed by well-funded gun advocacy groups, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) ("topics.nytimes.com"). Perhaps this is why even though a majority of Americans support gun regulation, but it is the rights of political minorities that is being protected by the American political system. So if it came down to a fight, gun rights groups such as these would have the resources to opposite any kind of gun regulation resolution. Another thing that many Americans might not be aware of is that the NRA and GOP are deeply connected. Apparently, a majority of the NRA’s political contributions go to the Republicans ("opensecrets.org"). Gun rights supporters and advocacy groups already believe that gun rights are under threat, and fighting over gun control will be like adding oil to fire. Thus, the attempt to implement stricter gun control legislation would be a waste of resources and time, and will most likely not succeed.
Supporters of stricter gun control continue to argue that the reason we do not hear about gun violence in countries such as China, Europe, Russia, etc. because of their stricter gun regulations. However, these people do not see the other side of the picture. The truth is that gun crime has been displaced in other countries. Nonetheless, crimes are still taking place, but instead, you hear of things like knife crimes. Australia has strict gun control laws, and in the past 10 years, there has been more than a 40% increase in knife assaults. Even though owning a gun is very difficult in Russia, but the rate of murder in the country is four times higher than that in the United States. The bottom line is that every Americans should have the right to protect themselves. Law abiding American citizens are the only ones affected by stricter gun regulation. Criminals will not be affected they will find illegal ways to procure a gun and continue committing crimes. So it is up to us to decide whether we want our fellow Americans to be sitting ducks when a criminal points a gun to their forehead, regardless of stricter gun regulation, or grant them the liberty to defend themselves through the use of firearms.
"After Newtown, Modest Change in Opinion about Gun Control." people-press.org. Pew Research Center, 20 2012. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
"Editorial: Texas’ gun laws work; open carry wouldn’t." dallasnews.com. The Dallas Morning News Inc., 27 2012. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
"National Rifle Assn: Totals." opensecrets.org. The Center for Responsive Politics. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
"National Rifle Association News." topics.nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, 21 2012. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
"Sandy Hook shooting: What happened?." edition.cnn.com. Cable News Network. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
Alstyne, William Van. "The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms." scholarship.law.duke.edu. Duke University School of Law, n.d. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
Bodeen, Christopher. "China School Attack: Knife-Wielding Man Injures 22 Kids, 1 Adult Outside Primary School." huffingtonpost.com. The Huffington Post, 14 2012. Web. 10 Jan 2013.
Saad, Lydia. "Self-Reported Gun Ownership in U.S. Is Highest Since 1993." gallup.com. Gallup, Inc., 26 2011. Web. 10 Jan 2013.