In the current times, there is a lot of debate as to whether individuals should be licensed to own guns. The manner in which guns are controlled in the state is determined by the mechanisms that are put in place to ensure the safety of individuals is guaranteed. As such, there are laws that govern the selling, manufacturing, modification, transfer and the use of the guns. In the United States of America, different states have different laws as regards the ownership and usage of firearms. In America, generally, the laws are lenient on gun control when compared to other nations. United Kingdom, for instance, has strict rules and regulations as pertains the gun control practices. As a matter of fact, different people have different opinions as to whether individuals should own guns. The proponents of gun ownership, largely, argue that gun ownership will help boost individual security at crucial moments. However, the opponents argue to the effect that owning a gun does not to any extent reduce such crimes that are related to murder and suicide. In either way, the debate on gun ownership will continue to elicit different opinions and perceptions, depending on the perspective from which a person views it from. Due to the above differences and failure to agree on the best policy on gun control and gun ownership, this paper is aimed at analyzing this controversial topic in order to explore the merits and demerits of the different positions. Does free gun ownership in the society improve individual and public security, or does it promote violence and crimes that are related to using the guns? Different people have given their different opinions without agreeing on the best choice or policy in this issue.
In the past few years, the total number of shootings has been on the rise. Every place has become a potential threat to the occupants. Schools, churches, mosques and playgrounds have all been targeted places for such shootings, with the main intention being to kill. The Columbine High School tragedy is still fresh in people’s minds. This has led to many people advocating for a different policy on the gun control. Despite this lobbying by a number of people, the government has been reluctant to change its policy. The fact that there are proposers and opposers in equal measure does not help the case either, since this will only lead to more confusion as to what the best step is or should be. The government ought to have a critical look at this issue before determining what the necessary action should be.
Globally, the estimate as to how many civilians have small arms has reached the 875 million mark. Adding this with the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies sees the number of people with fire arms significantly increase. 75 % of the ownership is in the civilian sector. In the United States of America, for instance, the number of civilians that own firearms is estimated to be around 270 million. Among the individuals who own the fire arms are the gang members, who in most cases, use the guns to commit various crimes. Due to the sensitivity of this matter, it therefore becomes important to have a policy that achieves the best balance in owning firearms.
The regulation of firearms in most states depends on the policy that is passed in the individual states. Safe for the few exceptions, a majority of the countries in the world allow civilians to purchase firearms for personal use. However, this is always subject to several restrictions with the main aim being to monitor the ownership and use of the guns in a society. Prior to a state making a policy on the ownership of the firearms, considerations are taken into account as to whether owning one is a basic right that individuals should be entitled to, or whether it is a form of privilege. Important to note is the fact that in the whole world, most states view gun ownership as a privilege. Yemen and America are the only exceptions are the only nations in which gun ownership is considered a basic right to the civilians. The regimes of the two nations have more permissive measures to allow ownership of guns. The other nations always consider gun ownership a privilege and as such, there are restrictive measures put in place to ensure that owning a gun is a difficult process for individuals.
One of the biggest debates that have raised different opinions from people is as to whether the policies on gun control have an effect on gun violence. For instance, does the gun violence increase or decrease? Policies on gun control have been cited for the increased gun mortality rates. The act of allowing individuals to own guns is very critical. This is because of the difficulties the authorities face in identifying the motives behind a person’s request to own a gun. Guns can be used to boost individual security. However, criminal may own guns with the motive of terrorizing innocent members of the society and to commit other heinous crimes.
The difficulty with determining the best policy for gun ownership is based on the above-argued issues. To a large extent, the opposers of gun ownership cite the increased violence cases that have been on the rise as a reason that ownership of the guns should be banned. Many people argue that only the police force, the army and other security agencies ought to be allowed to own the firearms. With an effective police force and army, there would absolutely be no reason for private sectors and the civilians to own the guns. This is because their security is assured, and owning a gun will be seen as an attempt in futility. The American constitution categorically states that the reason or purpose of owning a gun is to give citizens a chance to make militia. With enough security from the police, owning a gun therefore beats the logic. This is, however, contrary to what the proponents of gun ownership argue for, citing self-defense as a reason as to why gun ownership should be embraced.
Another major reason that people argue against private ownership of guns is the fact that it exposes most people to violence. Essentially, human behavior is bound to change from time to time, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Most murder cases have seen the defendants as being under the influence of alcohol when committing the crimes. The manner that people react to different stimuli means that sometimes they do not have control over their actions. In such circumstances, it would be suicidal to have an access to deadly weapons such as firearms. Restricting the number of people who have access to the fire arms means that murder cases that are committed by use of a gun when an individual is under some external influence are reduced significantly. For this reason, firearm ownership is very critical when left at the hands of the civilians.
Having easy access to firearms also may have an effect of tempting people to engage in crimes. Generally, when individuals are unarmed, it becomes difficult for them to engage in activities that are illegal and harmful to the society. This is a different case when compared to when they do not have an access to the dangerous. Despite the fact that a civilian may wish to acquire the fire arms for the right purpose, which in that case is to boost their self-defense, the temptations to employ it in illegal activities cannot be resisted. This effectively puts the lives of the public in jeopardy, exposing them to such risks as being attacked by the criminals. This, the opposers argue, should ensure that firearm access by the civilians is minimized.
Despite all these arguments from the opposers on the reasons that the firearms should not be owned by the civilians, another school of thought proposes and supports the move. The main reason for this, they argue, is that of self-defense. In essence, even without an effective police force and military, their security will be in a better position when they are allowed to have firearms. For instance, criminals who know that somebody has a fire arm will most likely avoid attacking them. To some extent, this argument is true. Most criminals do not fancy attacking well-armed individuals. This will mean that they would prefer to transfer their motives somewhere instead of risking. In such cases, the number of crimes will decrease.
Still on self-defense, individuals with the fire arms will be in a better position to resist being robbed as compared to the citizens that have no defense weapon. I such cases, they can easily handle the criminals even at circumstances when the police are not around. This, in essence, makes a valid reason as to why the civilians should be allowed to own firearms. Self-defense is in most cases essential since it boosts the survival mechanisms of individuals. Even in nations that do not embrace the civilians owning firearms, rich and prominent people have been allowed to own firearms for security purposes. In essence, they can use the firearms when they are under threat. As such, they argue, civilians should be allowed to own firearms.
In conclusion, the argument on gun control is essentially a tricky one. Do we embrace the argument of self-defense at the expense of the criminals owning the guns? Essentially, even when the civilians own the guns, it would be naïve to think that there will be no crimes. Poverty is the main reason that people engage in crimes. Introducing a policy to allow individuals to own firearms will play an insignificant role enhancing security. The best thing that can help prevent it, perhaps, is through educating the society on the negative effects that crime has towards the community.
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