Criminology Gun Control Essay, Research Paper
In today’s world, where violence is portrayed in every aspect of American life, one may ask how can anybody protect himself or herself. I believe the only way is by doing just that, protecting yourself. That is where the notion of gun control comes up. It states in the second amendment to the Constitution that, “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.” The definition of gun control is government regulation of possession and use of firearms by private citizens. (Levinson, 5) The theory of gun control is only a small way to lesson crime in this country while taking away a constitutional right.
Gun control only takes guns away from law-abiding citizens and it does nothing to stop criminals from buying illegal guns, who are unlikely to obey the law and register their guns. (NRA 238) I feel that the term gun control is improperly used. The government is using it as a way to take our right to bear arms. Some may ask why anyone would want to own a gun? Peace of mind is the main reason I have a gun. I feel a lot safer at home knowing that I am close to my best line of defense. Guns provide a source of psychological reassurance even among citizens who are not especially concerned about the fear of crime or being victimized. (”Firearms” 64) In a survey given about guns, “self-defense was the primary reason given by one out of every five gun owners for firearms”. (”Firearms” 61) “The right of self-defense and the right to use firearms for defense of self and family are the cornerstone of individual rights enumerated in the US Constitution.” (”Self-Defense” 26)
Why does the government make it harder to protect ourselves? Police cannot always protect everyone. There are only about 500,000 police officers throughout the country, which figures to around only 125,000 police officers are on duty at any given time to protect the whole country. (Lee 9) Only seventeen percent of Americans give the police a great deal of confidence in protecting them, while forty-six percent said they do not give them very much confidence. (”Carrying” 32) “Other than a bodyguard or a law enforcement officer at one’s side twenty-four hours a day, the most effective deterrent to criminal attack is the criminal’s fear that the prospective victim is armed and prepared to defend him or her self”. (”Carrying” 33) Courts have ruled that there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen, which means that police have no duty to protect the individual citizen. (Tahmassebi 66) After hearing this, I trust the police even less.
What is the likelihood of being successfully attacked when you are armed? Criminals fear armed citizens. (”Self-Defense” 22) Victims who used guns for protection were less likely either to be attacked or injured than victims who responded in any other way. This includes those who didn’t resist at all and victims who resisted robbers with a gun were less likely to lose their property. When victims use guns to resist crimes, the crimes usually are disrupted and the victims are not injured. (”Self-Defense”, 24) A good example of firearm deterrence comes from a rape experiment done in Orlando. Orlando offered a training course to women on hand-gun self defense, which was taken by 6,000 women. (”Firearms” 64) A year after the program began, the rape rate in Orlando dropped almost ninety percent. (”Firearms” 64) The police force went on strike in Albuquerque, New Mexico; during this time, the crime rate decreased because frightened citizens armed themselves and protected their homes and businesses. (”Firearms” 69) Criminals “had no stomach at all for facing indignant citizens protecting their own property with the same force the criminals used to steal it. (”Firearms” 69) Handgun ownership averts thousands of victim injuries and deaths that would not have been avoidable given the tactical advantages that criminals have over unarmed citizens. (Lee 7)
Who would you rather have protecting you? In Chicago in a typical year, more criminals are shot by store owners and other armed citizens than by the entire police force. (”Firearms” 69) In April 1984, three terrorists attacked a cafe in Jerusalem with automatic weapons, intending to kill everyone in sight; they were able to claim only one victim before they were shot by a handgun-armed Israelis. (Lee 3) In 1980, between 1,500-3,000 felons were legally killed by armed civilians in self-defense or for related-legally justified reasons. An additional 8,700-16,600 criminals were legally wounded under the same circumstances. If these figures are accurate, then civilians kill and injure far more felons annually than do police officers. Criminals have more to fear from armed victims than from the police. (”Firearms” 63) Everyone knows that police officers are trained to ask questions first and shoot later, but I personally feel that if I was in a questionable situation I would probably shoot first. That is most likely how many other citizens feel and that is probably why that figure is so high.
Why doesn’t the Constitution protect us from gun control laws? The Second Amendment states, “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”. (Levinson 5) Infringed means to violate or trespass. The Constitution has never been described as a marvel of clarity, and the Second Amendment is probably the most unclear amendment in the bill of rights. It is not easy to understand why the Second Amendment, or the notion of liberty, should be viewed as creating a right to own and carry a weapon that contributes so directly to the shock of murders in our society. “It is hard for me to see how one can argue that circumstances have so changed as to make mass disarmament constitutionally unproblematic.” (Levinson 9)
What have gun control laws done for citizens? No study of the effectiveness of gun laws has shown any positive effect, yet some studies have shown a negative effect. (NRA 238) The obvious effect of gun bans is to deny law abiding citizens access to firearms for their defense. The black market is open to anyone with money without discrimination of age, race, gender, or background. Criminals do not bother with obeying the law, for a criminal by definition is someone who disobeys laws. Gun control laws do not even pertain to criminals unless they try to work through the legal system. The only people who are affected by gun control laws are law-abiding citizens who are trying to protect themselves as well as the minute amount of stupid criminals trying to buy registered guns so they can use them for crime related purposes.
What does it take to carry a concealed handgun? To legally carry a concealed handgun, in most states, a license must be obtained. To get a concealed and carry license one must take a concealed handgun course. Once the course has been taken, you have to apply for the license from Austin, where they conduct an extensive background check to see if you have any criminal record. Many people have invested lots of money in handguns and handgun classes, then have been rejected when applying for their license. In 1996, 1321 license applicants were denied the right to carry a concealed handgun in Texas. (”Texas Concealed Handgun License Statistics”) I wonder how many of these people were law abiding citizens just trying to protect what they have.
Why does it have to be so hard for the good guy to get a gun? Why does the government insist on making the criminal go through the legal system so that it slows it down for the good guys? There are many questions to ask, but there are not enough answer to give out. Our Founding Fathers gave the citizens of the United States the right to bear arms, and our new government is slowly trying to take it away. The fight to ban gun control is going to be a difficult one. “The longer gun control advocates distract the nation from this task by embracing that single siren song, the longer it will take and the more difficult the job will be”. (NRA 242) So practice your right to protect your country and vote against gun control any time you can.
“Carrying Concealed Firearms Who Will Protect The People?” 29-35.
“Firearms, Self-Defense and Deterrence.” 1-11.
Lee, Robert W. “Gun Control Would Not Reduce Crime.” 1-5.
Levinson, Sanford. “The Second Amendment and Gun Control: An Overview.” 1-9. NRA. “Gun Control Would Not Reduce Violence.” 238-242.
“Self-Defense The Right and The Deterrent.” 22-28.
Tahmassebi, Stefan B. “Gun Control Would Not Reduce Crime Against the Poor and Minorities.” 59-66.
Texas Concealed Handgun License Statistics As of December, 27 1996.