Gun Control Essay Research Paper Over the

Gun Control Essay, Research Paper

Over the past decade the issue of gun control has been a hot topic. The ability to own a

gun is considered by some a birthright of Americans. However, with crime rates

involving handguns rising each day it has become quite clear. Handgun laws must

become more stricter in order to reduce homicide and crime.

Danial Blackman is one example of a dangerous man who was allowed to carry a

concealed weapon despite prior criminal behavior. In February 1996, the former

candidate for judge in Broward County, Florida, threatened to put three bullets in the

head of a meter maid who had written him a ticket, behavior that should have prevented

him from carrying a concealed handgun but did not. Though he was arrested, Blackman

was not convicted of a crime because he agreed to seek psychological treatment A year

later, Blackman was arrested again, this time for pulling a gun on an emergency-room

doctor who refused to write him a prescription. Only then was his gun license revoked.

In states with lax carry concealed weapons (CCW) laws, hundreds of people with

licenses have committed crimes both before and after their licensure. For example, in

Texas, which weakened it?s CCW law in 1996m, the Department of Public Safety

reported that felony and misdemeanor cases involving permit holders rose 54.4 percent

between 1996 and 1997. Charges filed against Texas CCW holders included kidnapping,

sexual assault, aggravate4d assault with a deadly weapon, illegal drug possession and

sales, drunk driving, and impersonating a police officer. Clearly, the Texas Background

Check does not ensure that everyone who receives a CCW license is a responsible or

upstanding citizen.

From Texas to Illinois and California to Delaware, law enforcement officials have

led the charge against this dangerous liberalization because they know that more guns

will only lead to more violence. Thanks to the efforts of our men and women and

concerned citizens, the gun lobby has not passed any new concealed-weapons legislation

in more than a year. Despite the opposition of most voters, the gun lobby currently is

trying to pass these senseless laws in Michigan and Nebraska, and also has set its sights

on Kansas, Ohio and Missouri.

The gun lobby attempts to justify this dangerous political agenda by citing

research conducted by Dr. John Lott. Lott?s study concludes that making it easier for

citizens to carry concealed weapons reduces violent crime rates. What the gun lobby and

Lott do not say is that this study has been totally discredited by many well-respected,

independent researchers.

In fact, in a nationally-televised symposium at which Lott?s work was critiqued,

Dr. Daniel Negain of Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Daniel Black of the University of

Kentucky, and Dr. Jens Ludwig of Georgetown University agreed that Lott?s study is so

flawed that ?nothing can be learned of it? and that it ?cannot be used responsibility to

formulate policy.? Since then no credible evidence has been produced to rebut the

conclusions of Black, Nagin, and Ludwig, or other researchers who have identified

additional flaws with Lott?s work.

Contrary to gun lobby?s claim, no evidence exists to suggest that ?an armed

society is a polite society.? In reality, the United States already has more guns in civilian

hands than any other industrialized nation, and not surprisingly, we also have one of the

world?s highest rate of gun crime. As the casualties of weak concealed-weapons laws

begin to mount, it is unconscionable that Lott and the gun lobby continue to use this

flawed data to put more guns on the street.

Fortunately, the American people and law enforcement know better. They

deserve primary consideration from their state representatives, not the special-interest

gun lobby. It is truly a matter of life and death.

In March 1995, a study by criminologists at the University of Maryland examined

the effects of weakened concealed-weapons laws in Florida, Mississippi and Oregon,

finding that gun homicides increased an average of 26 percent while other types of

homicides stayed the same.

In most cases, a concealed weapon is useless as a means of protection. It tends to

give carriers a false sense of security. Even police officers aren?t entirely immune to

gunshot wounds in confrontations with criminals. A 1993 FBI study shows that among 54

officers killed in 54 shooting incidents, 85 percent did not have a chance to fire their

weapons. And 25 percent were shot with their own guns. Imagine, if these well-trained

professionals cannot always protect themselves with their guns, how would the average

citizen fare against an experienced criminal. What few people realize is that the nation?s

24,000 gun homicides each year don?t rest on the shoulders of the violent criminal alone.

Nearly 50 percent of murder victims are killed by people without criminal intent. The

shouting match over a parking space, the fist fight on the play-ground, or a lover?s

quarrel can result in a death when guns are accessible. When 20,000 people are being

murdered every year, you?ve got a problem. It poisons society with fear and suspicion,

turns large areas of our cities into combat zones and contributes to urban fights. People

will argue that other deadly weapons, knifes, blunt instruments, and poison will remain

available to people who want to kill. Sure. They?re available all over the world, too, but

no where else is murder so common place.

The on casual factor that sets us apart from the rest of the world is handguns, they

make it possible to settle finality the passionate domestic arguments and street disputes

that produce most of our homicides. If handgun ownership is continued to be easily

accessible, the rate of murder and crime will only continue to rise.


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