A Painful Reality

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・MLA ・5 Sources

The question of whether gun control in the United States can reduce violence and crime has remained a contentious issue. The American people may have turned a blind eye, but the fact remains that, with the rise in gun violence, the world is no longer safe. In our society, crime rates are rising at an alarming rate, and these high levels of crime have claimed many innocent lives, causing grief and horror. There have been numerous instances of young adults and children engaging in gun violence. Moreover, the rise in firearm ownership in the US has increased tremendously as compared to the latter years, which brings us to the question whether the gun laws are strict enough to stop gun violence. The right to firearm ownership directly influences the elevated levels of crime and gun violence. Therefore, there is the need for regulating gun possession and use because these guns are weapons of violence.
Laws regulating guns and weapons, in general, vary from state to state. However, both the state and federal laws must be observed for dealers, gun owners, and collectors because guns are weapons of violence that should be monitored. The federal legislations have some level of regulation including the restriction of certain types of guns. This includes selling or possessing short-barred shotguns and machine guns. The possession of these restricted firearms is however still possible if one can go through and register the firearm with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Some of the states do not, allow gun ownership because they understand that are weapons of terror, crime, and violence.
Most of the citizens who support the ownership of guns use the second amendment of the US Constitution to argue for their right to gun ownership (Webster, 98). The bill prohibits breaking of the people's right to both keeping and bearing firearms. However, the Brandy Handgun Violence Prevention Act, restrict gun ownership to a particular group of individuals. This Act excludes the convicts of a crime punishable by more than a year, drug and substance addicts, fugitives, mentally challenged and defective, an illegal immigrant, those that have renounced their citizenship, those with restraining orders, and those convicted of domestic violence (Ludwig and Cook 588). The Brandy Handgun Violence Prevention Act helps in reducing the issuance of guns thus preventing gun violence,
Recent studies have indicated that America is leading in gun ownership (Webster, 63). Over 300 million guns have been estimated to be owned by about 85 million Americans. These elevated levels of gun ownership in America accounts for 46% of the world’s guns with 3 to 4 American citizen gun owners having two or more guns in their possession. Most states have a gun ownership percentage that is over 50% with Wyoming leading by 59.7%, DC having the lowest gun ownership by 3.8% (Webster, 68). However, it should be noted that having guns creates an opportunity for lethal violence and this is why the increase in gun ownership is attributed to the increased violence rates in the society.
This high level of gun ownership has directly contributed to the augmented murder and death cases. It has been reported that over thirty thousand cases of death annually in the USA are firearm relate incident (Andrés and Hempstead 98). These numbers have been seen to increase in the past years. Gun related accidents have been reported to claim over 554 people every year with gun suicides claiming over eighteen thousand live annually. In addition, the rate of gun-related homicide is sickening with over eleven thousand lives being lost annually. Homicides have been named as one of the leading causes of human death in America with over 68% of these murders involving guns. This rate of homicide is among the highest in the world.
From different studies, it has been indicated that the presence or ownership of firearms actually increases the rate of these gun-related crimes and violence in our society (Webster, 65). Data obtained from these studies indicate that on an average day, over 270 American citizens become victims of gun violence and 47 of these are teenagers and children (Andrés and Hempstead 102). All these deaths occur during murders, assaults, suicides, accidents, and during police interventions. It is also estimated from these studies that on an average day, 87 people are killed using guns, where 33 of these deaths ruled as murder with only 183 people surviving from gun wounds.
Although there are laws regulating the acquisition and possession of firearms, it has been found out that 2 out of 5 guns sold in the USA are done without a background history check. This has led to firearms being possessed by individual not deemed fit by the law. According to Klec, people with guns who have unstable tempers can lead to violence incidences easily (47). Therefore, possession of firearms by these potential killers especially those with mental problems have over the past few years influenced the increase of gun violence in the society.
In the event of an assault, it has been reported that those in possession of a firearm are more likely to be shot at (Webster, 72). In addition, it has been noted that there has been an increase in homicides related to intimate partners. These intimately related cases have accounted for over 40% of the female homicides with victims being of age 15-50. In these homicides, it has been noted that over 55% have involved guns. The increase of gun ownership has enhanced the rate of homicides by over 2.7 times. Webster points out that, the rate of suicides among American citizens has been increasing with the rate being over 4.8 times (104). Furthermore, the rate of family homicides has been on the rise with 35 percent of women being victims of gun violence through murder by their husbands or their boyfriends.
Although the increase of crime levels in our society has been associated with significant numbers of gun owners, most of the American citizens believe that the ownership of guns is their right. This has led to many of the citizens fighting against gun regulations and those interventions that are set to impose limited access of these weapons. This is unfortunate since most of the violence especially in those developing communities keeps growing as days go by. Most citizens feel that government should focus on gun education to curb this high level of gun violence, rather than seeking interventions that will restrict gun ownership.
Most communities in the society have been observed to have a culture of fear and violence. This has directly led to guns being used in response to fear as a way of resolving problems. Due to this intoxicating violent environment, the children and the youth always feel at risk and do not learn any nonviolent conflict resolving skills. This has led them readily dependent on the use of firearms to solve their conflicts meaning an increase in gun violence. Therefore, fighting these violent cultures in our communities might help reduce these gun related violence if stricter laws are put on gun ownership.
A research conducted by Siegel, Ross, and Charles reveals that the high rates of violence in the society violence due to an increased gun ownership significantly affects child development (2100). Early exposure to gun violence has adverse effects on children’s growth and development. It exposes the children to severe trauma leading to poor brain development, which can have a lifetime impact on the child. It has been noted that in those communities with high poverty level, the children indicate the lack of diverse skill due to the high degree of violence. Violence also exposes these children to stress making it hard for them to identify and deal with their emotions. These emotions if withheld, they can erupt later in life making the children aggressive and sometimes even violent. Therefore, these children and youth exposed to violence need to be taught skills to reduce stress, conflict resolution skills and simple way of solving problems.
Elevated levels of gun ownership are contributing to violence in our society (Webster, 98). This level of violence raises concerns about the mental health development of the children. It has also been noted that the number of children and youth in the society with a mental health problem is alarming. This has also been worsened by the fact that many parents and teachers are uneducated on the mental health problems. Therefore, it is vital for both parents and teachers to get the best education on the issue so that they can be able to identify early the signs of mental problems and seek help when they notice them in children.
In conclusion, the fight against violence in the society will require a lot of effort and collaboration from all members of the society. There is evidence to impose interventions that strictly regulate firearm ownership in the society if the level of violence is to be reduced. Every person has a role to play, be it emotional support or through activism and policy initiative to reduce gun violence. Gun violence is a serious issue; therefore, it is necessary to control gun ownership to reduce the elevating rates of violence and crimes.

Works Cited

Andrés, Antonio Rodríguez, and Hempstead Katherine. "Gun Control And Suicide: The Impact of State Firearm Regulations In The United States, 1995–2004." Health Policy, 101.1 (2011): 95-103. Print.
Kleck, Gary. "The Impact Of Gun Ownership Rates On Crime Rates: A Methodological Review Of The Evidence." Journal Of Criminal Justice 43.1 (2015): 40-48. Print.
Ludwig, Jens, and Cook Philip J. "Homicide and Suicide Rates Associated with Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act." Jama 284.5 (2000): 585-591. Print.
Siegel, Michael, Ross Craig S., and Charles King III. "The Relationship Between Gun Ownership And Firearm Homicide Rates In The United States, 1981–2010." American Journal of Public Health 103.11 (2013): 2098-2105. Print.
Webster, Daniel W. Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis. Johns Hopkins UP, 2013, pp. 57-123.

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