The Consequences of Gun Control | Teen Ink

The Consequences of Gun Control

January 10, 2013
By ImaneAitDaoud SILVER, Minniapolis, Minnesota
ImaneAitDaoud SILVER, Minniapolis, Minnesota
5 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
“look up towards the skies and you'll realize that love is mightier than hate and death is none other than the start of a new adventure.”

There was once a time when the ownership of guns by civilians was unquestionable and necessary. However, lately, tragic incidents and an increase in crime rates have caused much controversy with the second amendment in the U.S, constitution. According to an article in the Guardian, 12,664 murders were committed in the U.S. in 2011; firearms caused 8,583 of the murders. However, the most memorable of all are the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, and of course the Colorado Movie theatre mass shooting which have only happened in the past year. Many people say guns are the cause of many crimes. However, in some countries such as Switzerland, gun ownership is extremely encouraged and many people own guns. In fact, they issue a gun to all adult males and train them how to use it. However, their homicide rates are one of the lowest in the world. The low homicide rates may have to do with the training or maybe even the culture or even the limitation to ownership of guns to adults only. Though guns often come in handy when civilians are in need of protection, guns are often the cause of many crimes in the U.S. especially homicide and robbery. As a result there is much controversy sparked by the 2nd amendment, and the question of whether or not civilians should be allowed to carry guns or if gun laws are adequate enough is becoming a nationwide debate.

According to the Supreme Court, the second amendment currently guarantees the individual right to possess guns in the home for the use of protection. However, the amendment is not unlimited and allows for government officials to enact laws or regulations on the ownership of guns. The question of whether or not this amendment is still valid today has sparked much gun control controversy. The government has already enacted many laws and regulations that restrict the ownership of guns to law-abiding citizens. Gun laws regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition. However, that alone has not seemed to be able to prevent tragic incidents such as the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre from happening. On Sep. 27, 1976, the Handgun ban and trigger –lock law became effective in Washington D.C. In the following years, the murder rate in Washington D.C averaged higher by 73%. However, the U.S. murder rate averaged lower by 11%. Chicago’s statistics tell a different story though. In 1982, the Chicago handgun ban became effective. As a result, Chicago homicide rates have averaged 17% lower, and the U.S. murder rate averaged an astonishing 25% lower. This statistic shows how stricter gun control could definitely be helpful in lowering crime rates. However, the fact that Washington D.C. did not see similar results brings up the question of whether or not gun control should be a state issue. Of course, history has certainly proven over and over again that what work for one situation won’t always work for all situations. Another point I would like to talk about is Crime and self-defense.

The ownership of guns is originally meant for self-protection. However, there are only 162,000 incidents in the U.S where that is the case. That is not even one percent of the U.S population. This shows just how rare it is that civilians actually end up needing a gun for self-protection. Of course, many of these people would not have needed to use the gun if it weren’t for the possession of a gun by the offender. According to a survey in 1997 of over 18,000 prison inmates, 30% of state offenders carried a gun while committing a crime, and 35% of Federal offenders have carried a gun while committing a crime. If gun ownership were not permitted, people would be less likely to commit a crime in the first place. Logically as a result, I believe that less people would actually need a gun for self-protection. If there was less money put into gun manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and selling, more money could go into things such as police protection and national security. If police were able to get all the resources they need they could potentially do their jobs more efficiently and better protect people from harm. Civilians often are not well train in the art of handling a gun and certainly are not trained in handling conflict with others. The idea of having an individual who is untrained in the use of guns try to handle one is quite frightening in the way that having a child that playing with a gun as if it is a toy is frightening. Limiting ownership of guns to only trained officials would definitely prevent unnecessary accidents and save many innocent lives. Also it would also prevent many people that have mental illnesses or teens or even people with the potential to re-offend from committing serious crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon, 2nd degree murder, or like Adam Lanza mass murder.

The fact that guns are the cause of many crimes in the U.S. and around the world is inevitable. However, that has not stopped the U.S from having one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world. For every 100 Americans there are 89 guns. Compared to six for every one hundred people in England, that is certainly a shocking statistic. If gun ownership continues to increase in the U.S, soon there will be more guns than there are people. This of course certainly comes with its consequences. Due to the high ownership rate of guns, in 2011 alone, firearms caused 8, 583 out of 12,664 murders in the U.S. This shows that guns for the most part are certainly the weapons of choice of many murders. The heartless media has glorified the idea of guns and conflicts that include guns, and worst of all by video games that allow people to kill with automatic weapons without consequence. Many people spend so much time on video games to the point where they begin to blur the lines between imagination and reality. I once saw a video on YouTube of a teenager sending a cyber threat to a fellow player on x-box with a rifle. Of course, this juvenile delinquent lost control of the gun at the end of the video and ended up shooting his mothers ceiling. This alone clearly shows just how risky a weapon is in the hands of a civilian and just how much video games are taking away the immorality in using guns as weapons and killing others or even just making a death threat like the boy the video did. This brings me to another point of mine: consequences.

It has been proven over and over again that consequences definitely play a role in peoples decisions. For example, if shoplifting were punishable by the cutting off of ones hand, would one actually bother to go through the trouble of stealing a fake watch or a worthless pair of jeans? This answer to that is quite obvious, is it not? It is my belief that the U.S does not have strict enough consequences for those who violate the law. The fact that out of the 1662 murders committed in New York City during 2003- 3005, people with criminal records committed more than 90% is alone proof of that. A lifetime sentence here is about a minimum of 30 years. One of youth could easily wait out those years and return to the regular world a potential danger to others. Also, prison is certainly not a fitting name for the places in which they throw criminals. It has been proven in many studies that prison life is a much healthier life than regular persons. Many prisoners receive free healthcare, they are not expected to do the hard physical labor a civilian must do in able to survive. They are provided with many necessities and desires, which is more than many Americans can say. One of the most shocking and unfair sentences in my opinion is the minimum sentence for use or possession of a firearm, which is a three to five year sentence. An even worse one is the sentence for domestic abuse with a dangerous weapon for which the minimum sentence is thirty days in jail. This basically tells me that one can commit a crime and still get away with it by paying the small price of imprisonment in a place where prisoners are not so imprisoned. For crimes committed with a deadly weapon people should suffer consequences anywhere from forced labor to a 60-year prison sentence. Lastly, if not an absolute ban on civilian ownership of guns, there should at least be stricter regulations in place.

The regulations on who can and cannot own a gun in the U.S. are seemingly strict but in reality, they allow for more people than necessary to own a gun. As I mentioned earlier, the government regulates the sale possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the United States. The only problem is, are these regulations strict enough? For one, is the age limit of 21 high enough? As I recall, 21 is the age at which people are allowed to start drinking. Do we really want irresponsible drinkers handling automatic weapons that can cause death? I believe that the biggest problems is not the actual regulations on who can and cannot own a gun but how to prevent those who are denied ownership of guns from actually getting one. That however, is a matter for another time. In a ten-year period from November 30, 1998 to December 31, 2008, about 96 million background checks for gun purchases were processed. Approximately one percent was denied. One percent! This statistic shows just how little effect the regulations have on limiting the ownership of guns by civilians. It is no wonder that crime is so high in America. The government is practically handing out to people the potential of committing a crime if that makes sense. In able to effectively prevent guns from being given to the wrong people, there should be more extensive background checks. One’s ID should be closely analyzed and a person should have a psych evaluation as well as pay for at least six months of training and keep a record of every time they use the weapon and where it is stored. All guns should be embedded with GPS in able for the government to keep track of them. This will help in preventing illegal ownership of guns and make it a lot easier for police to enforce the law and protect the people from harm. And that of course is the main goal.

A firearm certainly is a great tool to have when in need of immediate protection. However, guns are often cause crimes such as robbery and murder, assault and many other deadly deeds. As a result there is much controversy sparked by the 2nd amendment, which until recently has not been much of a political issue. The question of whether or not civilians should be allowed to carry guns or if gun laws are adequate enough is becoming a nationwide debate. As I stated earlier guns were the causes of 8,583 murders in the U.S. in 2011. That certainly is a vast majority. However, one could have used any weapon to carry out those murders if they desired. In many states there have been bans on guns at least once in the last two centuries. Some show that banning gun ownership increases state homicide rates while others show it decreases it. The common trend however, is that the U.S homicide rate decreases after a ban on guns in a state. A complete ban on guns however, is unlikely in the next ten to twenty years so the government should at least utilize their resources to make regulations on gun ownership stricter. That is a small price to pay for the safety of civilians and especially youth like those who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

on Jan. 27 2013 at 7:27 pm
ImaneAitDaoud SILVER, Minniapolis, Minnesota
5 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
“look up towards the skies and you'll realize that love is mightier than hate and death is none other than the start of a new adventure.”

Guns are not the sole reason for crime. It is the people who are premitted to use them. We clearly cannot get rid of the people, so the only other solution is to get rid of the guns or increase gun regulation. I have nothing against using guns for sports, or hunting, I just think people should take more precautions seeing as all the lives lost to the irresponisible are make having those sports/ hunting not worth it in the first place. 

samiam said...
on Jan. 17 2013 at 9:38 pm
so, guns are the reason behind crimes. I placed all three of my rifles on the ground and waited and waited. my guns did not shoot or kill anyone. I like to go to the range to shoot my rifles for sport. If have an issue with that, then why is rifle compition in the olympics? The solution is training, background checks and more training. Have more places for gun owners to go and shoot. Train teachers and staff to spot a troubled teen and take action. Most of all, STOP LETTING CRIMINALS GET AWAY WITH CRIME!!!