It is believed that the safest nations have very strict gun control laws. This strong gun control laws enhances a lower crime rate but that is not always the case. Virginia’s homicide rate is low among other states like the state of Maryland, where unless one is a police or federal officer it is illegal to carry a handgun. (Joyner, 2004).
Many will argue that carrying firearms does not make America more dangerous but instead much safer. With a positive thought, if everyone were armed, crime would drop to an all time low. It’s just a matter of weather you are educated in this matter or just shooting from the hip. (Kopel, 1995).
The result of this is that a law-abiding citizen can get licenses to carry concealed firearms. With the gun crazies and their paranoia such as crazy shooting similar to the massacre at Virginia Tech, and the violence nannies and their hysteria such as drug related shootings, the issue of legalizing or not remains an ever more complicated mess.
This paper addresses this issue by relating the advantages and disadvantages of an armed public.
Pros Of An Armed Public
Most legislatures have failed to reach a compromise on some significant issues like concealed carry gun laws and the issue continue bewildering. According to Al Marzouqi on The Badger Herald (2007), he believes that the ban on concealed carry does not automatically translate to relatively low crime rate, which is an important aspect of the discussion.
The absence of crime is not a proof that a policy is working. Laws to restrain criminals’ form acquiring weapons do not stop them especially when they are bound on breaking the law. All a ban on concealed carry does is to create a false sense of security that is all too often shattered by a tragedy and prevents law abiding citizens from defending themselves in such situations.
Secondly In a small town, backup is sometimes an absent luxury; good citizens with personal firearms can save the situation. Thirdly many lives might be saved, just by the presence of a gun without necessarily meaning presence of the police.
The law does not state that police should always be of aid if called or requested for any help. Police are not required to help and they cannot be sued if they DON’T help.
California’s Government Code, Sections 821, 845, and 846 states, in part: “Neither a public entity or a public employee [may be sued] for failure to provide adequate police protection or service, failure to prevent the commission of crimes and failure to apprehend criminals.”
Lastly the number of unregistered guns is actually unknown, but it is probably in the multi-millions like the registered ones.
These guns would be most difficult to locate, though readily available to the criminals. Handguns are made everywhere too because they are legal in some states and therefore a booming business, so to be successful in eliminating guns in the US, one must shut down the entire world’s ammunition industries and their sales channels, which is basically impossible.
Therefore the issue of not legalizing does not decrease the number of illegal arms, the criminals would still be armed and lack of the legal guns in a system lives the ordinary citizen disarmed.
It is logical that a bully with a gun would not attack someone they knew were armed. Guns reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes according to Lott on More guns, less crime in 2000.
Criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront on someone able to defend him or herself.
The horrific shooting in Arkansas occurred in one of the few places where having guns was already illegal. These laws risk creating situations in which the good guys cannot defend themselves from the bad ones. (Lott, 2000)
Cons Of An Armed Public
A gun owner is more likely to accidentally shoot an innocent person than shoot the burglar because they are highly annoyed at the time of the conflict. Secondly allowing people to carry concealed weapons brings about the likelihood of them falling into the wrong hands. Laws concealed carry state that a person applying for a permit must satisfy an existing criterion.
The proposed criteria include age restrictions, background checks, legal citizenship, gun safety classes and mental stability. It is believed that with such procedures, the risks of guns falling into the wrong hands would diminish but this is simply not the case. There are several fundamental flaws with these limitations, including the fault on the licensing body.
Thirdly laws to legalize owning of firearms would mean that if individuals meet all criteria for the permit, then the state cannot under any circumstances, withhold it from them unless there exist other laws giving a supervising body the right to withhold a permit from a qualified person.
Lastly, release of arms to the public means that they will be highly accessible to unauthorized persons such as children in a family setting who can be able to access majority of the family recourses in exception of the firearms. According to HRW in 2006, between 1985 and 1994, murders committed by children with guns more than tripled in America.
Crime rates in England and Australia
England has strict gun control but their firearms related crime statistic has been steadily increasing. Originally homicides did not increase with the invention of firearms, but instead seems to have fallen sharply as guns became more efficient and widely owned in England. (Kates, 2002).
There are enough historical facts that refute claims that guns cause homicide. Violent crime did not increase with increased gun ownership nor did it decline with decreased gun ownership. Firearms closely correlate with car ownership than firearms ownership in England and Swaziland. Like demographics, Geographic’s of gun ownership relate inversely to crime.
Concealed carry permits should be issued to those who qualify and be revoked when misused. This would also mean that people are not guaranteed permits and if permitted the state should have a right to withhold on matters of security concerns. Responsibilities do go with rights, and many people often conveniently forget that little tradeoff.
Gun violence still remains unsolved because it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable.
In line with Kate on the issue of if guns cause crime, the best currently available evidence indicates that general gun availability has no measurable net positive effect on crime rates. Guns availability has many effects on violence increases or decreases with the effects largely canceling each other.
Al Marzouqi, A. (2007, October 30). The Badger Herald. Retrieved 20th July 2008 from: http://badgerherald.com/oped/2007/10/30/happiness_is_a_warm_.php
Human Rights Watch (HRW). (2006). Juvenile Crime Rates: Retrieved 20th July 2008 from: http://hrw.org/reports/2005/us0205/4.htm
Joyner, J. (2004, July 15). Virginia Gun Laws: Outside the Beltway (OTB). Retrieved 20th July 2008 from: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2004/07/virginia_gun_laws/
Kates, D. (2002, July 22). Do Guns Cause Crime: History News Network. Retrieved 20th July 2008 from: http://hnn.us/articles/871.html
Kopel, D. (1995). International Perspective on Gun Control: New York Law School Journal. Retrieved 20th July 2008 from: http://www.davekopel.com/2a/LawRev/lrnylstk.htm
Lott, J. (2000). More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun control: university of Chicago.
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