The issue of gun control in United States of America has faced number of ups and down. Sometimes it becomes so stronger and important for all the citizens as well as authorities of States and sometimes it becomes so weak that it has no importance for the discussion to be hold at all. The latest brutal killing in Newtown during December 2012 has once again prompted the entire nation to discuss the gun laws and to have a serious debate on the issuance of military weapons and gun laws. This recent incident has compelled the authorities and civilians to have a comparison of the laws and policies abroad. Developed and civilized nations that have faced this trauma in history have taken a number of steps to make sure that the ownership of gun becomes restricted which resulted in fewer mishaps of gun misuse.
United States constitution allows that a citizen has a right to keep themselves bear arms and should not to be infringed for the purpose of security. But in the year 2008 court announced its decision that states and confirms an individual to possess bear arms and stopped the law of Washington SC that banned guns. Quite a huge number of possessor of guns and other arms consider its possession as their right from the birth and a national heritage. United States is said to be 5% of the world’s population where around 35-50% of the majority are the owner of guns by a Swiss survey held in 2007. It is the leading majority in firearms capita. According to OECD, U.S also leads in homicide firearm ranking where many analysts says that this ranking doesn’t have any sort of cause and consequences relationship.
Some individual states in U.S have their set laws and policies which are sometimes and somewhere lenient and somewhere it has its own restrictions and guidelines. In 1968 government issued Act of Gun Control which prohibits selling of firearms and guns to several kinds of individuals such as under age, those that has criminal backgrounds and records, the one that are mentally disabled, expelled military served personnel, and unlawful foreigners; however, this law was revised in the year 1993 which commanded a background scrutiny for all unconstrained individuals purchasing gun from a federal licensed dealer. However, there is still a perception that all those individuals are also purchasing firearms that were prohibited by the rules and regulation. There was no banning of assault weapons by the federal law till December 2012. Although there was a restriction on the possession of high capacity magazine from 1994 till 2004 but Congress even expired these restrictions too.
In comparison to United States’ gun control; in Israel, military service is a compulsion and a part of daily life of each citizen. It is in their law that as soon as an individual reaches eighteen years they are being trained, drafted and psychologically screened to possess weapons. They are asked to serve two to four years in armed forces and then discharged but have to follow gun laws. Israel has comparatively strict regulations on possession of armed weapons and assault weapons are ban which needs a registration with government. Registration is only preceded when an individual is either a citizen or residing permanently. He must be at the age of twenty or more and must have at least a little know how of Hebrew along with other qualifications. Last but not the least he is required to submit the reason of possessing an assault weapon. However few critics are not happy with Israeli government measures too. They question the ease of owning a weapon, including being a citizen and having an employment in a security company or works with a large amount of money. They further question that in one respect, the entire nation has a direct or indirect access of gun. Critics call their culture as gun culture.
Gun rule was not a debatable issue in Norway until one extremist namely Anders Behring killed almost seventy seven individuals in a summer camp during the year 2011. Norway is said to be on the tenth position of world ranking in handgun ownership but the gun homicide casualties are minimal. On the other hand U.S rate is around 64 times higher than Norway. Most of the police in Norway do not possess guns. Thus many analysts believe that U.S. government should also regulate strict rules where the applicant is required to be above eighteen years and have a valid reason for the arm ownership. But on the contrary Charles Cook believe that those individual who are extremist would go against the law and would not consider government rules and regulations while possessing firearms. Other critics argued that if Norwegians police was equipped with armed weapons there would not be such great loss and killing could have been immobilized. One commission was then set who ordered police to restrict gun’s restriction and prohibited pistols and other weapons.
On contrary to US, Japan faces the minimum gun-homicide across the world due to its highly restrictive rules and regulations on firearm. The rate is one in a ten million according to a recent survey. Most types of guns are unlawful to possess and license are very difficult to acquire. Only certain types of small and semi-automatic guns are allowed to use such as shot guns, and air guns that are used for industrial purpose or are practiced for the competitions. And even for the possession of these types of gun certain formal regulations has to be followed and permission is required. Also one must pass a test of battery which is usually written and mental along with drug related tests too. Thorough background is been checked before issuing the permission. Furthermore, it is compulsory for the possessor of gun to inform the related authorities of where and how the gun is stored and approved for the annual inspection. Some analysts say that this strict regulation of Japan’s government is due to the result of Second World War. Other says that as the crime rate within the country is low therefore Japanese realize no use of having firearms .
Similar incident took place in Australia in the year 1996 where at least 35 people were shot dead in a prison and a site for tourism. It was named Port Arthur Massacre. When this incident took place government announced that all the gun owners must surrender their weapons which were being destroyer by government lately. All kind of automatic weapons along with semi-automatic were prohibited by the government. In Australia handguns are also strictly regulated; furthermore, there are certain limits regarding on the purchase of ammunition. Rich Howell is one of the famous gun provider in the United States of America and he says that he watches the regulation and buying need of assault weapons closely in many countries as well as in USA. Howell also states that United Kingdom doesn’t have second amendment in gun possession. Gun confiscation as seen has to turn its firearms in to the authorities.
Canada also prohibits possession of assault weapons whether it’s semi-automatic or automatic with a very few exemptions. That who needs a firearm has to go through a certain background and health check along with the past records of drug addiction and violence. After all the approval of the previous record and mental checkup the waiting duration is said to be 28 days after the application and one must have a 2 people assure for himself .
United States has the world’s highest rate of gun ownership. Out of 100 people 88 individuals possesses guns and other assault weapons. Even the second country in this regard has fewer averages which is approximately 55 individuals per 100 people. On the contrary United States of America doesn’t have worst murder rate of firearm. This prize belonging are Jamaica, Honduras and El Salvador. In fact USA number is 28th with 2.97 of a rate per 100,000 individual. Puerto Rico is a place which leads in the percentage of homicides due to possession of armed weapons. The percentage is 94.8 which is followed by African state sierra Leone and Caribbean state Nevis .
In a nutshell, USA needs to amend its regulation regarding the use age of armed weapons in order to save their citizens from such traumatic casualties in future. United States government should follow the steps of Norway and Japan where the casualty rate due to homicide is just minimal. Every individual should go through a clear investigation about his past belongings and mental health before issuing a license for gun and other weapons. Not only the individuals who want to possess gun should be inquired but also the one who sells these weapons should be scrutinized before allowing him to hold this business activity of selling armed weapons and issuing licenses.
USA should have a serious consideration on having strict rules and policies to issue license and to have a thorough check up of all individuals who are seeking guns.
The time period of issuing license and guns should be more than a month so as to have a proper investigation with an ample time. Last but not the least the crime rate in the country should be monitored and minimized in order to decrease the need of possession of guns.
Masters, Jonathan. "U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons." 21 December 2012. http://www.cfr.org. 19 April 2013.
Rogers, Simon. "Gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country." 22 July 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk. 19 April 2013.
Saam, Kelli. "The U.S. and the world: How other countries approach gun control." 21 February 2013. http://www.krcrtv.com. 19 April 2013.