Reducing Crime: Gun Control Isn’t the Answer
One of the hottest debates in the United States right now is gun control. Most people know which side they are on, and most don’t want to listen to the argument from the other side. The gun control argument has two sides: One believing we need fewer laws or at least no more additional laws, and the other side believing that we need more gun control or even abolishing firearms altogether. I personally believe we do not need more stringent gun control laws, but I want to show both sides of the argument and then counter argue the belief that we need stronger gun laws.
One of the biggest arguments is exactly what the Second Amendment really means. If you are a believer in having fewer gun laws, then the meaning to you is that the people have the right to keep and bear arms and that right shall not be infringed upon. In the 2008 case, D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms. This was the first time that the Second Amendment was used to claim that the Second Amendment means exactly what it says. About two years after that case, June 2010, the Supreme Court enforced the right against state interference. Claiming that the original meaning of the 14th Amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms against interference by state governments (Barnett, 2010). These were big victories for those who believe in fewer gun laws. A claim that is often heard is that gun control will reduce crime rates. An extensive study by Harvard Professors Don Kates and Gary Mauser in 2007 states, “[N]ations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population)” (Kates & Mauser, 2007). When gun ownership increased in the U.S. throughout the 1990’s, there was a consistent reduction of criminal violence. This is impressive since 18 of the 25 countries studied, had an increase in criminal violence over the same period of time. In fact, the European countries that had a higher rate of gun ownership also had lower murder rates than the countries with fewer gun owners. The study shows that Denmark has around half the gun ownership rate of Norway, but it has a 50% higher murder rate. Russia has only one-ninth Norway's gun ownership rate but a murder rate 2500% higher (Kates & Mauser, 2007). While this doesn’t prove that the large amount of gun ownership in the U.S. has helped reduce murder and other violent crime rates. On a closer look, though, this evidence appears uniquely applicable to the United States.
Gun control laws will not prevent criminals from obtaining guns. Most criminals don’t get their guns legally anyway. If they did buy them legally, they would have to register it in their name. This would lead to a background check, which I am sure they wouldn’t want. Plus, if they are going to be using the gun in a crime, they aren’t going to want it to be traced back to them through the registration. Preventing law-abiding people from owning guns has no impact on violent crime, if anything causes it to rise because the criminals know their victims will not be able to defend themselves. In fact, there have been recent cases that have involved law abiding citizens in the United States, which conveniently get ignored by the mass media. These citizens of the United States have exercised their second amendment right to prevent a crime from escalating and have saved lives. A couple examples including one incident only two days after the Sandy Hook massacre during which a gunman entered a theater