Firearms; Vital Tools For Self Defense Or Deadly Killers? Essay, Research Paper
Firearms; Vital Tools for Self Defense or Deadly Killers?
There are presently in excess of 200 million guns in the United States,
according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Each year this number
grows by 4 to 5 million. There are 60 to 65 million legal owners of one or more
guns.1 There is a firearm on the premises of more than half the households in
America. Most of them keep guns for protection. The others keep them for
hunting, target shooting, collecting, and similar pursuits.
In recent years nearly 35,000 people have been killed annually by guns
in the United States. These deaths include 15,000 murders, 18,000 suicides, and
1,500 accidents.2 It is because of these statistics that many would like to ban
guns altogether. But is that really in your best interest? Would it really
benefit this country, or reduce the number of murders in this country?
Consider the evidence in this article and you will see that guns should not be
outlawed and that less gun control in necessary to preserve what the founders of
this country believed in.
Guns are Beneficial
Guns can help prevent crime. This is a view held by many opponents to
gun control. The criminals themselves agree. As part of a three – year study
by the U. S. Department of Justice, criminals in prisons across the nation were
interviewed. Sixty percent feared being shot by an armed citizen more than
being shot by the police. fifty – three percent did not commit a specific
crime because they were afraid the victim was armed. Fifty – seven percent of
them were scared off by an armed victim who either brandished a gun or actually
fired it.3 This alone shows that crime would drop if more citizens owned,
carried and knew how to use guns.
One such case involved eleven – year old Jason Green of Houston, Texas.
Home alone one night, he heard noises in the house. Arming himself with his
father’s shotgun he investigated and caught a burglar in the act. Just then his
mother pulled up outside in the family car. Fearing the burglar might harm his
mother Jason fired. His mother reacted by bursting into the house and firing
her revolver. Hit by bullets from both guns the burglar died.
Jason’s mother, like Jason, was defending her house against an intruder.
There are about 645,000 defensive uses of handguns each year, according to Gary
Kleck, a professor at Florida State University. He bases his figure on several
surveys on handgun use, including one done for an organization that favors
banning all guns. Kleck also concluded that hand guns used in self – defense,
or some other legally justified cause kill 1,500 to 2,800 criminals every year.
If other types of firearms besides handguns are included, then over 1,000,000
law – abiding citizens use guns for self – defense annually.
Guns also provide vulnerable women with some form of protection against
rape and other violent crime. Recently, Orlando, Florida saw an increase in the
number of rapes over a twelve – month period from 12.8 per 100,000 to 35.9
per100,000. Women in Orlando were afraid to go out alone, even in the daytime.
Citizens of Orlando demanded that something be done.
Something was done. the Orlando Police Department set up a program to
train women to use handguns. Over three thousand women armed themselves and
took training courses. As a result, Orlando’s rape figure dropped to 4.1 per
100,000 – a 90 percent drop from the previous high. Similar programs in
Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan, and Montgomery, Alabama saw impressive
reductions in crimes against women, including both rape and robbery.
One woman victim decided on her own that she had enough. A fifty – one
year old woman of Los Angeles, California, twice raped by the same man,
purchased a handgun and took lesions to learn how to use it. When the man
return a third time she shot and killed him.
These are just a handful of examples of why handguns help prevent crime.
There are literally thousands of these stories. The bottom line though is
criminals will have guns and other weapons whether the government takes them
away from law – abiding citizens or not. The plain and simply fact is guns give
people an effective way to arm yourself and protect yourself when the police
aren’t around. Whether or not proponents of gun control want to admit it or not
this is a proven fact.
Is Banning Guns a Good Idea?
The answer is clear, NO. Why not you may ask? Ask yourself this, if
the government were to ban the sale and use and ownership of guns would
criminals comply with this law? The problem with most gun control measures is
that gun violence relates not to the number of guns but to who owns them. A
person who is willing to commit a crime is not likely to abide by gun
registration laws or even bans. James D. Wright a professor of sociology at the
university of Massachusetts asks, Why should we expect felons to comply with a
gun law when they readily violate laws against robbery, assault and murder?”4
For this reason, many people argue, restrictive laws will not reduce
crime because criminals will still have guns. And if criminals still have guns
violence will continue. New York City, for example, has very tight handgun
restrictions. To buy a handgun, city residents must apply to the police for a
permit. Very few permits are given out. They primarily go to active duty and
retired police officers, security guards and bodyguards. In addition anyone
caught carrying a concealed handgun without a permit faces a felony charge and a
mandatory prison sentence. Because of these restrictions, as of April 1991
there were only 61,497 legally owned handguns in New York City, a city of
nearly 8 million people.5 Yet research indicates that there are at least
750,000 hand guns in the city and gun – related crime remains high. In 1989, 70
percent of the city’s twenty – two hundred homicides were caused by gunfire.
The BATF says that 96 percent of all handguns used for criminal purposes come
from outside the city. This means that criminals still obtain handguns for
illicit purposes despite New York’s tough laws. But should the government have
the right and the power to take guns away from citizens? This will be discussed
in the next section.
The Second Amendment
The second amendment is a very simple idea that many people will try to
complicate. Why? Because they try to twist it’s concept to support their own
ideas. But the second amendment to the constitution is a very straight forward,
simple statement. The second amendment simply says ” A well – regulated
militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the
people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” Gun control proponent
argue that this only applies to a state militia and not the right of an
individual to own and carry a gun. Let us examine the constitution to see if
this is indeed the case.
Let us begin by examining the first amendment. It states ” Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances.” Notice first of all that in this single amendment
to the constitution there are actually six rights guaranteed to the “people”.
This will be significant in later discussion. Next, notice the significance of
the word “people”. This word simply means “the persons composing a community or
tribe or race or nation.” or “the subjects or citizens of a state”. Notice that
it doesn’t mean the public as a whole or one but rather it means each
With that said let us move on to the amendment in questioned, the second.
” A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Let us
examine this one part at a time. “A well regulated militia being necessary to
the security of a free state comma”. This is ensuring the right of each state
to have and regulate it’s own militia. At the time of the writing of the
constitution people were afraid of an over powering, dominating government like
the government of England that they overthrew. This right would ensure that the
Federal army wouldn’t have total power as in the case of England. This would
also give the states the independence they wanted while maintaining the unity of
the whole country. Again, notice the comma. A comma is used to indicate the
separation of ideas in a list. This comma can only mean one thing. This is were
the idea of more than one right in an amendment come into play. Similar to the
first amendment, this amendment guarantees more than one right. What is the
second right guaranteed in the second amendment?
The amendment continues ” the right of the ‘people’ to keep and bear
arms shall not be infringed.” Here it is spelled out in black and white, in a
simple statement. The people or each citizen has the right to keep and bear
firearms. Proponents of gun control seem to forget this simple statement. They
try to twist these simple idea to get people to believe that this only applies
to the state militia. As we see here though, from a simple discussion and a
little reasoning we can see just how simple an idea this is.
In this paper it was shown just how regular citizens were able to defend
themselves with the use of a gun. This was because they were trained in the use
of the firearm as well as the safety aspects of its use. It has been shown that
criminals are afraid of citizens armed with a gun. It has been shown that
arming one self with a firearm can not only be a deterrent to crime but a
successful defense. It was shown that if guns were outlawed then only outlaws
would have guns. It has been shown that owning and caring a gun is your
constitution right as laid out in the second amendment. Whether you agree
with the evidence presented in this paper or not this are the facts. Some gun
control proponents will try to distort these facts to hide the truth. But this
is the truth. It is because of public option, fear and a misunderstanding of
guns that many people feel that guns should be made illegal. But outlawing guns
is not the answer. Alleviating the fear and misunderstanding about firearms is.
It is only then that many people will see the benefit of the firearm. Taking
guns away from law – abiding citizens while felons continue to use them is not
the answer. It is your constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Clearly we
have seen that outlaw guns would not be in our best interest. We have seen that
doing so would not reduce the number of innocent people killed each year. This
is why guns should not be outlawed and less gun control in necessary to preserve
the idea and philosophies set out in the constitution of the United States.
1. Ted Gottfried, Gun Control and The Right to Bear Arms (Brookfield,
Ct.: Millbrook Press, 1993 ), pg. 13
2. Ibid pg 17
3. Ibid pg. 48
4. Neil Bernard, Gun Control ( San Diego, Ca., Lucent Books, 1991 )
5. Ibid pg. 56
Aitkens, Maggi. Should We Have Gun Control. Minniapolis, Minn: ., Lerner
Bernard, Neil. Gun Control. San Diego, Ca.: Lucent Books. 1991.
Gottfried, Ted., Gun Control and The Right to Bear Arms. Brookfield, Ct.:
The Millbrook Press., 1993
Gottlieb, Alan. Gun Rights Fact Book Bellevue, Washington: Merril Press, 1988.
Robers, Joseph Jr.The Armed Citizen. Washington D.C. : The Nation Rifile
Association of America. 1989.