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
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,
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.