Gun Control Essay, Research Paper
A woman in Texas is in the middle of a massacre. Dining with her parents, a man comes
in and begins a murderous rampage. While lying on the floor, she reaches for a gun in
her purse, but it isn?t there. While people are dying, her gun is lying in the trunk of her
car, because of Texas? law against concealed carry. Twenty two people were murdered
that day, including Suzanna Gratia?s parents. Because of this law, Suzanna was helpless
to save her parents, and twenty others. Because Texas? legislature says that allowing
citizens to carry concealed weapons is an endangerment to public safety. (Swasey, 174)
The homicide rate in Florida was 11.7 per 100,000, until a concealed carry law
was passed in 1987. It was down 20% by 1991, 9.4 homicides per 100,000. This
contrasting the national average with a 14% increase within the same time slot, showing
that concealed weapons posses no threat to society. (Swasey, 175) But does carrying a
gun really keep us safer? In Suzanna?s case, possibly yes. But does this one isolated
instance where a handgun could have saved lives outweigh the number of times that lives
20,000-22,000 people die each year from handguns. But most of these deaths are
not committed by criminals, they are committed by us. One child dies each day from
handgun wounds. The NRA refers to hand gun suicides, accidental killings, and murders
by acquaintances as ?the price of freedom?. The NRA has also admitted that, ?there is no
adequate measure that more lives are saved by arms in good hands than are lost by arms
in evil hands.?(Sugarmann,187)
Surprisingly, more than half of these 20,000-22,000 deaths are suicides. Fewer
than ten percent of handgun deaths are felony-related. Death by handgun is the second
leading cause of death due to injury, car accidents are number one. (Sugarmann, 186)
Stephen P.Teret, co director of the Johns Hopkins Injury Prevention Center says,
?As public health professionals, if we are faced with a disease that is carried by some
type of vehicle/vector, like a mosquito, our initial response would be to control the
vector. There?s no reason why if the vehicle/vector is a handgun, we should not be
interested in controlling the handgun.? (Sugarmann, 187)
In 1983 handguns killed 35 people in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 27 in Switzerland,
6 in Canada, 7 in Sweden, 10 in Australia, and 9,014 in the united states. Add 13,000
more accidents and suicides to the US total.
Gun control advocates argue that most homicides do not involve murderous
intent. Most are committed in the heat of the moment. Often between loved ones, or
close friends. An argument escalates, and the rage gets so intense that it turns fatal. Not
because there was the intent for murder, but that in the heat of the moment, a gun was at
hand. Then stating that if fewer guns were ?at hand?, there would be fewer murders.
But this argument for gun control is flawed.
One third of all murders are committed by persons unknown. The next largest
category is acquaintance, almost one third of all murders. The term acquaintance means
only that the victim and killer had some idea of each others identities before the murder.
One in six (15.9 percent) murders are committed by relatives. Friends and neighbors
account for about 9.8 percent of murders. Leaving friends, family, and neighbors with
only a quarter (25.7 percent) of all murders. So it is not true that most murders are
committed by people who are close, or intimate. Most murders are committed by casual
acquaintances (30.2 percent), perfect strangers (12.8 percent), or persons unknown (31.2
percent). (Wright, 183) Most murders are thoughtfully planned out, as opposed to heat of
the moment crimes. So if fewer guns were at hand, it dosen?t necessarily mean that there
will be fewer fatalities.
A hand gun in the home is forty three times more likely to kill a member of the
family or an acquaintance than an intruder. Every twenty four hours a gun is involved in,
33 rapes, 575 robberies, and 1116 people are assaulted. (Rosen, 178)
The Handgun control Inc. (HCI) endorses a ban on all short barrel handguns.
They took a poll, and most Americans don?t want a ban on handguns, just stricter laws to
make it harder for someone to get a handgun that is violence prone, ?as long as those
controls don?t jeopardize the perceived right of law-abiding citizens to buy and own
handguns for self defense.? (Sugarmann, 189)
The fact remains, a gun is still a gun anyway you look at it. Just because a person
went through a waiting period, or took a safety class doesn?t mean that the gun they hold
will be any less lethal. In 1985 the National Coalition to Ban Handguns did a study and
found that a handgun was 118 times more likely to be used in a suicide, murder, or fatal
accident than to kill a criminal. 69,000 people died by handgun between 1981 and 1983.
Only 583 justifiable homicides reported to the FBI, in which someone used a handgun to
kill a criminal. But these figures don?t show how many criminals were scared away with
a handgun, or how many were non-lethally wounded by handguns.
Too many Americans (middle-class men and women), guns mean freedom,
security, and wholesome recreation. The second amendment was created to give the
people power. It claims, ?A free state is secure only if the peoples right to keep and bear
Arms remains inviolate.? (Koopman, 192) Freedom of speech is never challenged, nor
is freedom of religion. The second amendment was created to protect the people from
the government. With Arms in the hands of the people, they would always hold a sway
to government excesses. No government can enslave its people if they have the right to
freely own guns.