For the past decades, politicians have been pushing for stricter gun laws and gun-free zones. Tragedies like the Parkland High School, Last Vegas and the Columbine shootings have been used to debate gun laws and raise concerns about what are we doing as a country to protect the people and their futures. Countless times you here politicians say “we’ve seen an increase in homicides”, thinking guns will solve the problem. They have also argued that guns kill more people in the United States than any other category and that increased gun control has worked and will improve the situation. But do stricter gun laws really help prevent future mass shootings? And the answer is no.
For starters, politicians throw the word mass shooting around countless times on the news. But what do the mean by this term? While there is no consistent definition for what is considered a ‘mass shooting’, Michelle Ye Hee Lee of the Washington Post wrote in a 2015 news article that “The FBI does not officially define “mass shooting” and does not use the term in Uniform Crime Report records.” this meaning that this term can be used as a broad blanket statement for any shooting that occurs. She also includes that “Congress defined ‘mass killings’ as three or more killings in a single incident” and some media outlets and researchers still use the four fatality definition established in the 1980’s by the FBI. She then adds at the end that some researchers include acts of terrorism, drug deals gone wrong, or gang conflict in their research when others don’t. These are clearly not mass shootings you see highlighted by politicians when debating gun control. In truth, different places have different standards for what they considered to be a mass shooting and can be misrepresented to people to fit a certain arrived being pushed. Some add injuries to the equation and accidental gun discharges as well. Making ‘mass shooting’ a unreliable term to use in a gun debate.
One other point made is that America has a startling high homicide rate and that innocent people are getting hurt. While this does appear to be true, we have seen an overall downward trend in homicides over the past decades, only spiking at its highest in the late 1980s and in the early 1910s, and decreasing steadily from there. An article written by Laura Santhanam from PBS shows that a study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health and Evaluation’s ranks America twentieth on the list in death rates. Although America has a larger population compared to the countries on the list, when adjusted for population size the United States ranks lower than countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil, which have a smaller population but a higher rate of homicides per 100,000 people. We can even take this further and see what these total deaths branch out to. Of these deaths roughly 64% are ruled homicides. More than 80% of these deaths are gang related, not from innocent people getting killed by random shooters. The other 27% is suicides and another 9% were accidental shootings. So in reality, homicides are really not from people breaking into houses, or committing crimes to innocent people, but from bad people doing bad things to bad people, already in strict gun laws cities in the first place.
One point that does appear to be to is that stricter gun laws will prevent gun related deaths. This does not effectively deter gun crime. In fact, gun related crime saw no significant change once an assault weapon ban was placed. And criminals still found ways to get guns anyway, its their habit. They don’t follow laws and will never do. A study in 2013 found that “assault weapon bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. And states with restrictions on the carry of concealed weapons had higher gun related murders.” So not only do stricter gun laws not work, they actually promote crime where they are the strictest. Place like New Orleans , New York and Chicago run rampant with crime, and have some of the strictest gun laws in the country alone. The fact is. If we want to improve our situation with these mass shootings, homicides and murders. We don’t need to add more gun laws. If anything we need to ease up on them and reform them, look at what’s failing and improve on them, not add more because it’s clearly not working.
So in reality, not only do stricter gun laws not prevent more mass shooting, they promote criminals to do more crime. Gun laws are also misrepresented with faulty statistics and lead to more people getting killed. So now is not the time to push stricter gun laws, we need to reform them and see thing in a different angle.
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