Many scenarios can portray the ineffectiveness and irrelevance of gun laws in America. The common misconception about gun laws is that; greater control will result in lower homicide and crime rates. But this myth is entirely wrong, and has been put down by endless amounts of statistics and expert opinions. Not only states, but countries, with lower gun control, have been shown to have less homicide and crime rates. Why? Because the greater the population of citizens that carry guns, the less vulnerable they are to attacks. In a study many criminals even stated that: “They were more scared of armed citizens during a robbery or killing, then of an armed policeman.” Take Washington D.C. as an example. The district has banned gun ownership since 1976 and their murder rate is one of the highest in the country, at 59.6 per 100,000 While across the river in Arlington, Virginia, gun ownership is less restricted. There, the murder rate is 1.6 per 100,000, less than three percent of the Washington D.C. rate. Might stricter gun laws result in more crime? It seems counter-intuitive, but makes sense if one simple fact is considered: Criminals don’t obey the law. Plain and simple. A gun can easily be purchased of the black market for a lump of cash, with no questions asked. This automatically breaks the Brady Bill, which created a waiting period as well as a background check of all citizens who wish to buy a gun. After buying a gun a criminal can easily go into any populated area and begin killing. Criminals do not obey the law, and even if the number of guns, as well as the opportunity to get one were reduced, criminals could still find ways around the restrictions in order to continue their reckless behavior. Gun control works against law abiding people, and most of the time the gun laws are not even needed. Criminals know that since citizens do not have guns they are more vulnerable.By lowering gun restrictions in the United States, crime, both violent and property, will decrease, resulting in a safer country.
Gun control began with the 2nd Amendment. The historical context of the Constitution is essential to understanding why the founding fathers inserted the 2nd amendment into the Bill of Rights. During the battles of Lexington and Concord, British troops attempted to confiscate the weapons and ammunition of colonists. Had the British successfully taken away those weapons, our country as we know it, may not exist today. The founding fathers, specifically James Madison and George Mason, put the second amendment in to protect against tyranny of the government. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” Gun Control has evolved from the 2nd amendment by itself. The Federal and State Governments have increased restrictions on guns so that ownership rates are very low. The first big step in gun control in the U.S. was in 1968 with the Gun Control Act, which regulated who could get guns and banned mailing weapons. This was a result of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. One town in Illinois banned guns completely, while another, in Georgia, forced every head of the household to own a gun. The one which banned guns had increased crime, but the one who forced citizens to have guns saw an 89% drop in crime. Ever since then, gun control has evolved to the controversy it is today.
There are two main ways the Federal Government tries to regulate gun laws. The first, is by keeping firearms away from high risk people such as drug addicts, alcoholics, and the mentally unstable. The other way, is by limiting the availability of high risk weapons, such as automatic rifles, to regular civilians (Assault Weapons Ban of 1994). The automatic weapons ban in theory is a well thought out law, but has had little results. The problem is automatic weapons show up little in gun related crimes. In 1968 the Gun Control Act was created. It increased requirements for gun dealerships, and increased regulation on gun importation. By restricting dangerous and destructive peoples’ ability to obtain a gun, a major flaw in gun control was fixed. A 1986 gun law prohibited armor piercing bullets, often referred to as “Cop Killers”, due to their ability to shoot through bullet proof vests worn by police officers. Armor piercing rounds are useless to the average citizen, being that they were created for acts of war. Both laws are examples of productive gun laws in which safety was thought of in a logical way. Although some gun laws are helpful, the list of useless laws stretches much further, such as the safe storage law which mandated guns to be locked away and stored in a safe. This law was unsuccessful because in 1997, the year prior to the law, less than 5 children under the age of 10 had been killed due contact with guns. Therefore the law was unneeded. 15 states passed this law and it resulted in a huge disaster. Statistics given by all 15 of the states showed 300 more murders, 3,860 more rapes, 24,650 more robberies, and 25,000 more aggravated assaults occurred in the year following the law. One of the most famous laws or bills passed about guns was the Brady Bill, which was named after a victim in the attempted Ronald Regan assassination, James Brady. The Bill was passed in 1993 by the Clinton Administration, to require background checks and registration forms. While the U.S. Government deemed the new law as a success, it accomplished nothing. Violent crime stayed exactly the same. Prior to the bill being passed states had already been showing a decrease in crime. After the bill was passed the steady decrease stopped. In states where the bill was not set into action, crime continued to decrease.
A concealed gun is a firearm which is kept hidden. The concealed carry laws vary between states. There are four types of conceal carry laws: shall issue, may issue, no issue, and no restrict. Shall issue is where citizens have the ability to get a Concealed Carry Permit if they pass the needed criteria. Another type of concealed carry law is no restrictions. No restrictions make it so anyone may carry a concealed weapon, assuming they legally possess a gun. There are 33 States that participate in either Shall Issue or no restrictions, and studies show that crime rates in these states fell, after the law was put in place. Crime rates have gone down because of the increase in citizens’ safety. Statistics show that in cases where a victim uses a gun to defend themselves, 80% were concealed hand-guns. The faulty end of the Concealed Carry Laws is may issue and no issue. May issue is somewhat similar to shall issue. May issue require citizens to have a permit to carry a concealed gun, but the permits are only given out by the local authorities. May issue laws would seem to work, but in most states where the may issue is in place, permits are rarely given out. The other law type of law is no issue. In no issue, absolutely no permits are given out to private citizens, and therefore no one may carry a concealed weapon. Out of the 15 states with the highest homicide rates, 10 of them have extremely strict gun restrictions, 9 of which have no issue emplaced. Crime levels in states with may issue and no issue tend to be 70% higher than states with Shall Issue and No restrictions. Going back to Washington D.C. and Virginia, Washington D.C. is a state with no issue laws emplaced; this gives them a low, 3.8% gun ownership rate. They also happen to have one of the highest crime rates in the country. In order to compare, Virginia is a state who has shall issue laws, and high gun ownership. Crime rates there are extremely low. It’s simple what the studies show, states with shall issue and no restrictions have lower crime and provide for a safer country.
Murderers are not going to buy a gun legally mostly because they can’t and secondly because they don’t want to. Buying guns illegally is cheaper and safer for criminals, plus it will make it more difficult to be caught. A study of inmates showed that the average murder was committed by someone convicted of five felonies prior to the killing. Because people with felonious record may not own a gun legally, it must mean that the guns are bought off the black market.
Other than the black market, where do criminals get their guns so easily? Some gun control advocates believe that the guns are obtained through the “gun show loop hole” while the more realistic answer is straw purchasing. The gun show loop hole is similar to selling a gun to a neighbor without going through any legal procedures. Gun owners will sell their unique or antique guns to others at a gun show, and are usually passed from one gun fan to another. These guns that are sold do not usually end up in the hands of criminals because they do not want old and difficult to operate weapons. This is the reason that only one to two percent of crime guns are from a gun show. Criminals want light weight, easy to conceal, reliable firearms. Straw purchasing is how practically all guns end up on the black market. A straw purchaser is someone who buys a gun for a criminal under their name because they have a clean record. Many times dealers know that the customers are straw purchasers and still sell them guns. One reason gun laws are unsuccessful is that straw purchasers are legally allowed to buy guns.
The armed citizen protects the nation more than police. If a criminal tries to break and enter into a home of an armed citizen, will he proceed to rob the house with a gun pointed at his face? By leaving guns to the police alone, a criminal can rob the house, and flee the scene before an officer arrives. Armed citizens kill more criminals than police and the rate of error is 5 times less than police, because the criminal is shot at the time of the crime, instead of during a chase. Evidence from compiled data proves that states with more guns have less property crime. For example, The District of Columbia has a gun ownership rate of 3.8 percent, the lowest by far, yet it has the highest property crime rate at nearly 6,000/ per 100,000 people. On the other end of the spectrum in Wyoming, about 6 out of every 10 people own a gun. This state may have the highest gun ownership rate, but its crime rate is just .1% more than the nation’s lowest property crime rate. Essentially, the states with more guns have less crime. In each major category of property crime, crime rates decrease as gun rates increase.
Violent crime also decreases when guns increase. A study showed that women who carried a gun were 4 times less likely to be killed, and were also 10 times less likely to be raped. This fact has led to an increase in the number of women who own a firearm. Overall violent crime rates decreased as gun rates went up. The District of Columbia has murder rates of more than 59 per 100,000, an alarmingly high rate, whereas the second highest murder rate is 11.2 . These facts support what Thomas Jefferson said: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.” The third president of the United States was trying to say that an honest citizen is not inclined to commit a crime, and taking away his right to self defense as well as protection does nothing but make him more vulnerable as a victim of criminal activity.
The most dangerous places in this country are gun-free zones. These areas are magnets for crime because the criminal knows he/she is the only one with a weapon. For example, a massacre happened at The Appalachian School of Law, a gun free zone (R.J. Friedman). The officers on campus could not have a weapon with them and as a result the weapons had to be left in their patrol cars. As people were being shot, the security officers had to run to their vehicles in order to retrieve their weapons. The whole situation could have been prevented if it were not a gun-free zone.
Corrupt governments have gained control by taking away guns. While our rights are protected by the constitution, they can be changed or altered if the states agree. Taking away the second amendment would give the government too much power and history proves it. For example, during the holocaust in Nazi Germany, guns were very scarce and Jews could not defend themselves. In the seven major genocides after 1915, 56 million people were killed. That number would have been much less, if guns had not been taken away.
The United Kingdom is an excellent example of the backfire of strict gun laws. In 1997, a school shooting of 17 kids sparked one of the greatest gun bans of all time. The UK banned almost entirely all guns for citizens, and many thought it would be the end of crime. Unfortunately the exact opposite of what was predicted occurred. In a study taken in 2001, street robberies had soared up 28%, violent crime had gone up 11%, murders raised 4%, and rapes went up 14%. The trend continued in 2004 with another 10% increase in street crime, 8% increase in muggings, and a 22% increase in robberies. What is even more alarming is that each offense category, including armed robbery, kidnapping/abduction, assault, attempted murder, as well as sexual assault increased over 100% then what it was from before the ban. Armed robbery led the way with an increase of 170.1%, kidnapping with 144.0%, assault with 130.9%, attempted murder with 117.6%, and sexual assault with 112.6%. Another example of the backfire of gun control laws is in Canada. In the 1920’s Canada had 7% of the United State’s homicide rate. This was at a time when they had zero gun control. Then, when Canada began to emplace gun control and restrictions, Canada’s homicide rate increased to 37% of that of the United States.
Switzerland has the some of the laxest gun laws in the world. All men ages 20-42 are required to have a military rifle or pistol at home. Switzerland is known for its gun festivals and huge amount of shooting ranges. “Men, women, old, and young, walk and even take the tram with rifles over there should, to and from the shooting ranges. They stroll right past the police station and no one bats an eye.” In Switzerland even kids are allowed to walk around with rifles. Switzerland’s homicide rate is at an all time low with 1.2 per 100,000, with a robbery rate at 36 every 100,000. In comparison with the United States, Switzerland has 13% of the homicide rate of that of the United States. They also only have 15% of the robbery rate that the United States has. The difference between the countries is the gun control and nothing else. Starting to see a trend?
Many people believe that guns are only used to create crime , while in reality they prevent it more. Guns are used in self defense 80 times more than for murder at about 2.5 million times per year. To put that in perspective that is 6,849 times per day or 285 per times per hour. The best part about it is that the gun is fired only .9% of the time and often no blood, including the criminals, is shed. 8% of the time the gun is used to scare off the attacker.
To defend the 2nd amendment, the National Rifle Association (NRA), helps people whose rights have been violated. This group which has had over 11 million members fights for our right to bear arms. One of the branches of this group, the Legislative Action Branch, shows politicians and citizens the correlation between gun rates and gun violence. Through extensive research and studies they have reported that high gun rates decrease crime, the same conclusion that was portrayed through this paper.
Although it may seem that guns only cause crime, it is very important to realize that guns protect the people from not only criminals, but the government as well. It is true that guns are used in crime, but by taking them away from law-abiding citizens, only the criminals will have guns and crime will be rampant. Even now, areas with small gun ownership rates are more dangerous and if gun laws become stricter, then the crime rates will increase further. Some people say that there is not enough evidence to support this; however, states as well as countries have shown this drastic correlation. Though gun control was once very relaxed, it has changed to a very uptight matter, and rights from the constitution are being taken away. If the average citizen and large gun groups fight to keep our rights, the United States will be a safer place. By lowering gun restrictions in the United States, crime, both violent and property, will decrease, resulting in a safer country.