The debate over the need for a more strict enforcement of gun laws in China is mainly based on the argument that such enforcement could help in reducing violent crime. The year 1966 brought about changes for the Republic of China concerning gun laws and its effects on violent crime. According to Moxley (2010), Moa and the Communist Party implemented one of the strictest gun laws in the history of the world. Areddy (2008) included in his research the laws that were enforced “forbidding the private manufacture, sale, transport, possession, import or export of bullets and guns, including replicas” (p. A17). Even with the strict gun laws in China, gun crime is on the rise; each week there are reports related to gun associated crimes, but follow up on these cases is negligent. Areddy (2008) indicates that China’s zero-tolerance for guns and criminal acts involving guns does not coincide with the country’s constant raids, smuggling of guns, murder and gun related violence (p. A17). Moxley (2010) shows that for the last three years gun associated violence in China has been rare, but the recent accession in firearm related violence could be attributed to illegal businesses operations, increased media relevancy, availability of ammunitions, and to the lack of enforcement regarding gun laws. China, one of the largest manufacturers of guns, needs to have stricter enforcement of gun laws to reduce incidences of gun associated violence.
The implementation of gun laws in China was mainly to reduce gun associated crime through reduction of the number of people owning guns, prohibition of firearm manufacture, importation and exportation, and restriction of firearm trade. These laws were implemented in 1966 after children shot down a window while trying to shoot a sparrow using a rifle in Beijing. But even with these measures, the growth of technology with the Internet, film making, and the use of media through magazines and web sites over the last decade has resulted in an increase in gun associated crimes. This rise can be attributed to the existent inequality in the country on matters pertaining to social benefits. So wealthier people can buy their special privileges for gun ownership because of their connections with higher officials; the poorer population has to steal or smuggle guns and ammunitions whether it is for hunting or criminal acts.
With China being the largest manufacture of guns, a portion of manufactured firearms ends up on the black market; this is related to control within the factories, where employees or outsiders steal the ammunition. Securities within the country need to investigate why and how ammunitions end up on the black market and what can be done to reduce or eliminate this problem. According to Moxley (2010), there was a large concentrated effort in 2009 to clean-up organized crime in Chongqing City; this led police to net 48 guns and arrest 2000 suspects. Also, the operation helped in uncovering conspiracies between criminals and China’s leadership officials. Moxley (2010) noted that “the Chongqing cases tell us that in some places the local government has a beneficial relationship with the local crime groups; they turn a blind eye when it concerns illegal gun use.”
Xiu (2010) argues that organized crime is responsible for activities such as money laundering, prostitution, and smuggling of firearms in China; these activities are mainly done alongside legitimate businesses which is a hindrance for police to catch criminals (p. 1). Xiu also gives the example of one wealthy man, Li Quiang, who directed his employees to implement criminal activities in the name of increasing profits. These profits were used to further the business dealings, pay legal fees for employees that were being investigated for criminal activities, and for bribe and wage payment. This is probably one of the best explanations of how guns end up in the hands of criminals giving them opportunities to commit violent acts of crime and murder.
Moxley (2010) notes that the rise in gun crimes in China has been further increased by the emergence of a gun culture in the country. One magazine, Small Arms, has about 60,000 subscribers. The magazine has features on guns and the large following shows just how much the country’s population is becoming fascinated with guns. Such magazines provide the required information on gun usage and different gun features and so when a person can acquire a gun from the black market and learn how to use it from the magazine. Moxley (2010) also points out that freshman students in the country can now receive marksmanship training. Some of these students use the skills they acquire from the training to gain entry into gangs. They then become marksmen for the gangs and illegal traders hence increasing the level of gun crime in the country. This issue should be addressed by ensuring that students are made aware of the possible implications of misuse of their skills; this would help avoid a situation where the country is training its top gun criminals.
Crimes committed with the use of a Gun
Within the last three years crimes committed with the use of a gun have been on the rise in China and hence the implication that such crimes are a major concern to the country. According to McClatchy (2011), three policemen were killed and six people wounded by two men carrying a handmade pistol and a shotgun in Beijing in 2010. Five policemen and two auxiliary police were shot with the shotgun resulting in the death of three of the officers. Amongst some of the notorious crimes committed with the use of a gun there was one noted in the year 2010 according to Moxley (2010) “a security guard in Hunan province in south-central China, apparently upset by a court-imposed divorce settlement, shot and killed three judges and wounded three others before turning the gun on himself.”
Areddy (2008) also gives an example of a man in northeast China who in 2007 went on a shooting rampage killing five members in his family and an unmentioned number amount of nearby neighbors using a homemade gun (p. A17). The examples quoted above are just but a few incidences of gun related crimes; it is hence necessary that stricter gun laws are enforced to reduce this incidences.
Omission of Evidence
Gun crimes in China have been a rare occurrence for a long time, so rare that law officers often do not carry firearms. China attributes this to strict enforcement of gun laws. The irony is that even with these crimes being rare, the security agencies are still buying bullet proof accessories and cars. Areddy (2008) points out that “at a police-gear trade show in Beijing last April, bulletproof vests bearing Chinese police logos were on display, along with bulletproof BMWs and Jaguars” (p. A17). Such displays show that though the Chinese police may believe that gun crimes are rare in the country, they have still not yet ruled out the possibility of such crimes occurring. This brings about the argument that the security agencies may not be releasing all the information on reported gun crime cases.
Areddy (2008) points out that these trials are not always open to the general public so important evidence can be concealed. This could also relate back to what was mentioned about underground organized crime groups. False reporting of crimes committed with firearms does not give validity to the comparison of crime per capita. This concealing of evidence shows that the magnitude of gun crimes in China may be greater than reported by the police. This may be because the police are giving false information about gun crimes to show they are still in control of the security situation of their country.
Smuggling and Selling of Guns in the Black Market
The increase of gun associated crimes in China brings about the issue of where the guns are coming from in the country. China, being the largest manufacturer of firearms, has to contend with the stealing and illegal selling of ammunitions; this makes enforcement of gun laws harder. Security agencies in China have to deal with underground organizations that operate secretly to smuggle and sell guns illegally; these makes exposing of illegal activities by police hard. The making of homemade guns and ammunitions is one of the reasons responsible for the increase of criminal activities and illegal profits underground organizations.
Xiu (2010) notes that orders for guns are secretly made in hidden grottos and basements, and then transported discreetly to organized criminals (p. 14). The police securities are continuously looking for and have busted workshops that manufacture guns and ammunitions illegally in China. Areddy (2008) states that people are illegally importing guns imitations (p. A17). Increased availability can correlate with the increase in gun associated crimes. The escalation of technology, namely the Internet, makes smuggling of guns even more inviting to criminals. Moxley (2010) noted that “Small Arms”, a small bi-weekly glossy magazine, has 60,000 subscribers, and guns are regularly featured in Chinese films”. The evolution of technology has made access to owning firearms and ammunition easier.
Confiscation of Firearms
China has some of the toughest gun laws in comparison to other countries based on crimes per capita on gun associated crimes. According to Areddy ( 2008), “a six-month campaign this year netted 79,000 guns, 1.8 million replica guns and 5.75 million bullets, the Ministry of Public Security said last month” (A17). In the last three years, China has had the Internet to compete with in trying to enforce gun laws. Investigations in the last five months of 2010 have led to the confiscation of firearms and the arrest of suspects. Xinhua News Agency (Anonymous, 2010), stated “a total of 590 guns were seized and 548 suspects arrested, this shows the seriousness of the illegal gun business on the Internet Yan said”. This year 2011 brings China annual Spring Festivals along with stricter enforcement of gun laws and other violent crimes to guarantee community safety while participating in holiday festivities.
According to Xin (2010), in January 2011 there was an ambush of over a 100 people, who were armed with knives and steel pipes, by adversaries close to Xiaosongdi coal mine. The people were attacked with explosives and guns. China prohibits proprietorship of firearms and haves the recent hostility under investigation for probable supplier of guns and ammunitions.
Strict Punishment Enforced
China is considered to have the strictest punishment for crimes committed with the use of firearms. According to Areddy (2008), a man from Shanghai was given a sentence of 12 years and his wife received 11 years for having in their possession three guns and 600,000 bullets, and using the Internet to sell weapons (A17). Possession of firearms in China is punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years while a person responsible for committing a crime using a gun may be punished by execution. These punishments are believed to be responsible for the rare occurrence of gun crimes in China. The positive effect of strict punishment in enforcement of gun laws may however be exaggerated by security agencies not reporting all incidences of gun associated crimes.
Over the last decade, China has claimed to have the lowest gun associated violence per capita than any other country. A country that has such strict laws and stringent punishment should see a lot less crime. China is the largest manufacture of firearms, which if there is tight security within the factories could drastically reduce the amount of ammunitions sold on the black market. With the large amount of ammunitions confiscated during raids, the country’s Ministry of Public Safety needs to look within their security departments for the causes of increase crimes. This analysis should be on how to reduce the numbers of crimes with guns, the amount of ammunitions sold on the black market, and better control of items bought and sold over the internet. Information on the number of reported gun crimes should also be made public so as to increase awareness on these incidences.
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