Archive for January, 2013
For many people in the United States, the Second Amendment is much more than just another part of some old document. For them, it is a sacred part of their lives. Many people consider the right to bear arms as much a part of being an American as Baseball and apple pie. People who fear losing the right to bear arms get upset not just because they feel that they will not be able to protect themselves, but because they feel that part of what makes them American could be ripped away. While there are gun control statistics that both sides of the debate use to try and prove their point, attempting to tell someone that their feelings on their personal and national identity are wrong is very difficult to achieve. Fundamentalists believe that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. These individuals believe that certain gun control laws have already crossed the line. The right to bear arms is part of what makes America unique among the rest of the first world, and there is a lot of pride that goes with that for most supporters of the 2nd Amendment. For others of course, the right to bear arms is an inconvenience. They see is as not only something that the majority of first world nations had the good sense to avoid or do away with, but as the reason we have gun violence today. Despite the fact that most crimes are committed by illegal or stolen guns, those that are against the right to bear arms still push for further gun control. No matter what happens, the push to either repeal or constrict the 2nd Amendment will not be over any time soon. Until those who are for increased gun control and against the right to bear arms realize that it means more to a majority of Americans than just being able to target shoot and hunt, the dialogue seems doomed to keep going around in circles.
When we read a gun control article, we may wonder whether such an article serves any purpose. We all know that gun control is a contentious issue. The gun control debate has been going on for long, with the issue still remaining unsettled. How relevant is a gun control article in this scenario? I think that the relevance of the gun control article arises from the fact that we still need to mobilize public opinion in favor of stricter gun control laws. The opponents of gun control are well organized. They are able to mobilize political power in their favor. Take for example the leading anti gun control organization, the NRA (National Rifles Association.) This organization stubbornly refuses to participate in a meaningful gun control debate and openly follows a policy of not accepting any compromise on this issue. It therefore becomes necessary to mobilize people in support of gun control by bringing gun crime statistics to light. This job is being done by the gun control article. The best way to present the gun control facts to the people at large is through the media. Though everyday the newspapers carry gun death statistics, a vast majority of people are apt to ignore them. But people spend time to read newspaper articles including the gun control article to understand issues clearly. The gun control article should first counter the argument made by the pro gun lobby that having more guns is the way to prevent crime, by revealing the fact that there is no evidence to support this assumption. Gun crime statistics,in fact, show the reality to be the opposite. Even if the gun control article brings to light a few facts like the ones listed below, it will be doing a great service to the cause of arresting gun crime. 1) About 30,000 deaths are reported every year as resulting from guns. 2) About 40 percent of the children living in the houses that have guns are well aware where they can find the guns in their houses. The danger potential of the children getting guns into their hands can be easily understood by anyone. 3)In the states and regions which have a large gun owning population, a larger number of children become victims of gun violence than in those regions with a smaller gun owning population. A gun control article highlighting the above issues will be highly relevant to the issue of gun control.
Compiling gun death statistics will have value only if we are able to use them to gain a better understanding of the gun crime scene. Many a gun control article has been written packed with gun crime statistics. But if people look at statistics only as numbers and do not make an effort to understand the picture presented by them, gun death statistics will be of little value to us. For example, what will a person reading a fact that there are 30,000 deaths in the United States every year understand about gun crime? He may not even be able to judge whether this figure is normal or abnormal. One may even think that this figure is not high considering the population of the country. It is the duty of gun control articles to present this fact in perspective by expressing this as a percentage of guns owned by the US citizens and making a comparison with other countries. Such a comparison will show that countries that have a smaller number of guns have a smaller number of murders. Such a presentation will make people understand the gun death statistics in an appropriate way. Since gun death statistics unequivocally support a case for stricter gun control laws, opponents of gun control are doing their best to stop the gun control facts from coming out. We all know that the National Rifles Association (NRA) has been stiffly opposing gun control laws. It has been threatening the legislators that it will work for their defeat in the primaries if they fail to extend their support to the NRA. Apparently propelled by these threats, some of the legislators have taken sides with the NRA and have been putting obstacles in the process of collection of gun death statistics. They create rules that will make it difficult for the National Institute of Health to even study gun violence. Having no answers to the facts revealed by gun death statistics, the NRA and its supporters have been relying on the 2nd amendment to defend their right to own guns. But the fact that about 99 percent of this law was based on the information written by people with no legal education makes their argument sound weak. The picture presented by gun death statistics is real and cannot be ignored.
Why do we need to understand gun control pros and cons? The logical answer to this question is that once we are aware of the gun control facts, we will be able to formulate our opinion on the need for stronger gun control laws. This is true for anyone studying gun control pros and cons. But when we find that our legislators are indifferent to gun crime statistics, then we will be justified in asking whether we need to study the gun control pros and cons at all. Let us look at the attitude of some people. We have the National Rifles Association (NRA)which is firm in its opposition to gun control. This organization has made it clear that it will not compromise on its stand. Given such an obstinate attitude, the NRA will have no use for gun control pros and cons. The problem arises from the fact that the NRA has the support of some legislators. The NRA has been functioning more like a lobby than like a club and has been influencing the legislators to act in its favor. What will the pro gun lobby do when it is faced with gun death statistics that show that gun death has been becoming a major problem to handle? It will not join the gun control debate by presenting gun control facts in support of its side. It will come out with arguments like the claim that gun ownership being a right given to the people by the 2nd amendment, it should not be taken away. The fact is that about 99 percent of the information behind this amendment was written by people who had no legal education and hence were not aware of the legal implications of uncontrolled gun ownership. Notwithstanding the specious arguments made by organizations like the NRA, gun control pros and cons present a different scenario. Just two gun control facts will be enough to show that gun control is an imperative need. One, the United States has a high proportion of gun ownership by its citizens who own about half of the guns in the world, though the US has only 5 percent of the population of the world. Two, in regions that have a high ratio of gun owning population, a higher proportion of children die due of homicides. Looking at these two facts together, we can understand what picture then control pros and cons present.
The Bill of Rights is what people call the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These were each added in so that people could make sure that they would be able to enjoy the natural rights of property and liberty. One of the most hotly contested of these is the 2nd Amendment, which most people interpret as giving people the right to bear arms. In addition to the right to bear arms, the 2nd Amendment also makes mention about a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of the state. This is one of the many reasons why the 2nd Amendment still today remains under close scrutiny. Many proponents of gun control believe that the 2nd Amendment was intended to give the military the ability to work with weapons, and that ordinary citizens should not be able to legally possess them. The often point out gun control statistics, many of which do not yet include some of the more recent mass killings that have taken place in public areas and schools over the last few years. For other people, the 2nd Amendment is one of the most basic and sacred freedoms, second only to the 1st Amendment to the constitution, which guaranteed people freedom of speech, worship and the press. They see the right to bear arms as a way to ensure that people will always be able to protect themselves, whether it is from the kind of tyrannical government that the Founding Fathers feared, or from a criminal element within society. Those that are against the 2nd Amendment believe it to be one of the primary reasons for gun violence today. Obviously, advocates of the 2nd Amendment believe it to be all that is standing between honest people and oppression. These two opposing viewpoints have each recently become more and more vocal, even though at the end of the day, both are hoping to see an end to senseless violence and random killings.
Is there a connection between gun control facts and gun control laws? Yes, there is. Gun control facts show us how good and how effective the existing gun control laws are. They can also indicate the course of action to be pursued if we are concerned about gun death. Gun death statistics are one form of gun control facts listing facts in the form of figures, ratios and percentages. They show us the relationship between gun ownership and gun crime. Another kind of gun control facts is information comprising news stories. Taken together, these two kinds of data will present the gun control pros and cons, thus enabling us to think for ourselves and decide what we should do to make the gun control laws more effective. Gun control facts comprise not only facts and figures but also arguments. One of the arguments the anti gun law groups often come out with is that in a democracy, gun control laws have no place. This argument ignores the fact that the purpose of gun control laws is not to prevent guns but to prevent tyranny and lawlessness that may result from uncontrolled gun ownership. Realizing that this kind of argument will sound too weak in any gun control debate, these people invoke the sanctity of the 2nd amendment that guarantees gun owning rights. An appropriate response to this will be to point out that considering that people involved in formulating 99 percent of this act had no formal legal education, there can be nothing sacrosanct about this law. Gun control facts should also contend with the activities of the anti gun control lobby, notably the National Rifles Association (NRA). This highly paid lobby, which calls itself as an association of sportsmen, is well known for its abrasive ways of threatening some legislators that they should toe the line pursued by the NRA lest they should face a defeat in the primaries.
A very large number of gun control articles have appeared in the print media over the period of the past 40 years ever since the assassination of President Kennedy, an event that triggered an intensive gun control debate throughout the country. Not that the issue was not debated before. Perhaps, the debate started even when the gun was invented! But gun control articles started appearing in a big way only in the last few decades. With the problem of gun death assuming alarming proportions as indicated by gun crime statistics, there has been a proliferation of gun control articles as well. Gun control articles are expected to present the gun control pros and cons in detail to help the readers make an informed decision on the issue of gun control. For example, there is a finding based on gun crime statistics that children are in a position to take possession of the guns belonging to their parents in 39 percent of the households since they know the places where the guns are kept by their parents! Another finding that can be revealed is that the number of murders is less in those countries which have a smaller number of guns. When such a startling fact is highlighted by gun control articles, readers will be awakened to the risks involved in owning guns. Apart from discussing gun control facts, gun control articles can also help in clearing some misconceptions created by the anti gun control lobby. For example, one of the arguments advanced by this group is that the right to possess guns is sanctioned by the 2nd amendment and hence this right should not be taken away by any law. A well researched article will inform the readers that almost the entire 2nd amendment, 99 percent of it to be precise, was written by people who had not undergone any legal education. These people did not even have any college education. Bringing these facts to light will make the readers understand that the argument put in by the anti gun law groups has no substance. Gun control articles can also highlight the fact that the National Rifles Association, the NRA as it is widely known, is not willing to accept any compromise on the issue of gun control. When such obstinacy is highlighted, the readers will know how reasonable the anti gun control advocates are.
The topic of gun control invariably raises a lot of controversy. There is a powerful section in the United States that has been fiercely resisting gun control and has been doing everything it could, to stymie any gun control legislation being enacted by the Congress. Let us quickly identify four strong factors to support the cause of controlling gun ownership. 1) The US has a disproportionately larger share of the guns in world. Well, guns are not resources to be considered an asset. Therefore, the shocking information provided by gun control facts that the US has 50 percent of the total number of private guns in the world while its population constitutes just 5 percent of the population is definitely a point in favor of stronger gun control laws. 2) The second factor is provided by gun crime statistics. A study has found that, of all the homicide crimes committed in our country, guns take a lion’s share of 60 percent . With such a strong evidence on the way guns are used, the argument that gun ownership is needed for self protection falls by the wayside. 3) US is one of the largest democratic countries in the world. Therefore, we have the responsibility to protect democracy. Democracy should prevent tyranny and if guns promote tyranny, then gun control is an essential remedy to curb this tyranny. 4) Any move towards gun control is resisted by certain groups, notably the National Rifles Association, popularly known as the NRA. Ironically, the very opposition of gun control by this group strengthens the case for bringing in some form of control in buying and using guns. It is well known that NRA is not really an association of sports people as being made out, but only a highly paid lobby. This lobby stubbornly opposes any control over guns ignoring all gun death statistics without even caring to go through the gun control pros and cons. It even forces some legislators into submission by threatening them that they would lose their primaries if they decide to support gun control legislation, convinced by the gun crime statistics.
Gun control debate is one of the few debates that have been going on for several decades. It is not as if the issue is so complicated that no solution can be found. All that is needed is an open mind to pause the gun control debate for a while and look at the gun crime statistics and do an honest introspection. Anyone doing this exercise will definitely come out in favor of gun control. Unfortunately, the gun control debate is carried on by way of gun control articles in the print media and discussions and debates in the electronic media. It is time that we put a stop to drafting a new gun control essay every minute. The only sensible thing to do is to consider gun control facts and evaluate them without any bias. I am listing out some facts about gun death that will startle anyone with a humanitarian outlook. 1) Firearms (meaning guns) are used to kill people in about 60 percent of the crimes classified as homicides. This shows that guns are the most preferred weapon of killers. With so many potential killers prowling around, we should do something to prevent them from killing people using the guns they possess or get hold of from others who possess. 2) If the fact that guns are the most commonly used in weapon in homicides disturbs you, how will you feel to know that the story is the same with suicides as well? Stronger gun control laws can help prevent not only murders but also suicides. No gun control debate can obscure this reality. 3) Gun death statistics show that countries that have fewer people owning guns, have fewer incidents of murders. Won’t you like our country to be one among these? 4) Gun death can also cause damage to the economy. It has been estimated that the United States suffers an economic loss of $3.7 billion per year because of gun crime. Any gun control debate should consider the economic aspects of gun control as well. With gun crime facts showing a clear rod map towards a stronger gun control regime, the impediment for effective action comes from a few legislators owing allegiance to the National Rifles Association (NRA) who are able to draft rules that will prevent the efforts of CDC even from collecting statistics about gun death related issues. With this being the reality, can there be a meaningful gun control debate?
The issue of Gun control cannot be a point of endless discussions and debates anymore. Gun crime statistics reveal an alarming trend. The correlation between gun ownership and gun death is becoming stronger by the day. It is high time that the endless comparison of gun control pros and cons is put to an end and some concrete action is taken by way of making gun control more effective. Any gun control essay only makes the gun control debate sharper with more and more arguments being put up in favor of both the sides of the issue. Effective gun control needs action not a plethora of gun control articles dwelling on oft repeated arguments. Just look at the figures for gun death. It is 30,000 per year for our country, not a figure that can be considered small by any yardstick. With gun control facts showing that there are 89 guns for a population of 100 in the United States, we can understand and appreciate the imperative need for making gun control real by tightening the screws on gun ownership laws. The main opposition to gun control legislation comes from the National Rifles Association (NRA) which has a fairly large membership and a strong political clout. But the reality is that NRA is not a club in the traditional sense of the word, though it is called an association. It is a lobby, a high paid lobby at that with the sole aim of frustrating all efforts towards making gun control laws tighter. NRA is not an association of sportsmen, as it is sought to be projected. Whatever description the Association may use about it, it cannot alter the fact that the NRA is only a highly paid lobby of people stubbornly opposed to any kind of control on gun ownership. There is another issue relating to the gun crime statistics which is not known to many. Do you know that gun deaths affect our economy also? The annual figure for the loss stands very high at $3.7 billion year. So implementing strong gun control measures apart from curbing gun crime can help our economy as well!