Guns are a technological revolution for mankind. From being used to hunt or protect, guns have multiple positive uses. However, they also possess a negative connotation. Guns have been used in shootings, war, and many other deaths. Some want more gun control, while others advocate for less. Gun control laws are defined as “laws that control the sale and use of guns and who is allowed to own them,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Countries such as Australia and Japan have enacted stronger gun control laws (Kiprop). While, others like Canada and Norway, have less gun laws (Capella).
Some believe that gun control is not beneficial because it takes away the ability of people to protect themselves. From stopping armed robberies to home intrusion attempts guns have saved many lives (Chilson). In addition, gun control laws do not inhibit criminals from obtaining guns (Braga). Black markets allow criminals to acquire guns illegally. Another point made by anti gun control advocates is that to solve gun related issue the public needs to be educated about guns, rather than just taking them away (Gopnik).
Conversely, more gun control advocates cite countries like Japan and Australia which have instituted harsh gun laws as examples of how gun control has worked (Masters). Another reason for more gun control is to reduce the chances of mass shootings (Almasy); examples of this are evident in countries such as France and the United States. This paper will discuss the two sides of the gun control debate, and provide global information to reach a conclusion.
The main facet of the argument for less gun control in a country is that the ability to get a gun is essential for the people to have the ability to protect themselves and others. Guns stop shootings, muggings, domestic violence, and other robberies. One story in which this is evident is Craig Everette, “a combat veteran and purple heart recipient” (Chilson). When he was with his aunt and her new boyfriend at their house, the aunt’s “estranged husband” showed up and started shooting into the home in September 2017. Everette was outside when the ex-husband showed up, so he went back inside, armed himself, and shot the man to death (Chilson).
Moreover, in Kennesaw, Georgia in 1982 a law was passed locally requiring “at least one firearm in the house”. The direct results of this was an 89% drop in residential burgarly rates (How). Furthermore, in a recent study by Florida State University guns have helped to reduce property loss and injury to the victim. Also, these researchers found that when a gun was used for self protection only ten percent of those instances resulted in injury (Kleck). This study by Florida State University wass done by two criminologists: Gary Kleck and Jongyeon Clark. These men both have criminology degrees and are experts on gun control and self-defense (Kleck).
Also, this study was done by a prestigious university, further raising the source’s credibility. In addition to using guns for self defense purposes, gun advocates state countries such as Iceland and Israel as examples of places where less gun regulations have been beneficial (Masters). Guns are apart of “everyday life” in Israel. Boys at the ages of eighteen are conscripted into the military, screened, then trained with weapons. Thus, in this country there is an “ease of justification” in owning a gun, said Leil Leibovitz. Leibovitz further denotes the low gun related homicide rate of Israel to the country’s “unique gun culture” (Masters). Israel is a prime example of a place where guns are readily available and easy to access, but has a low homicide rate, trumping most of the arguments for more gun control.
Jonathan Masters is a writer who specializes in civil liberties and the Mideast, making him a very credible source about guns in Israel. Master’s argument is strong as he brings in other experts such as Leil Leibovitz to support his points. Master’s article is a very credible source. Iceland is another country in which its “unique” culture about guns and less restrictive gun laws result in a very low gun related homicide rate (Why). The United States in 2009 had 15,241 homicides, and in Brazil there were overall 43,909. In Iceland there was only one homicide overall in 2009 and it was not done by guns. The reason for this is the culture and society of the country. Iceland’s police officers remain unarmed except for a select few. The only people allowed to carry firearms is a special unit named the “Viking Squad” (Why).
Iceland’s own normal police force not having arms helps shows how the country does not find guns as the answer to all, lowering gun deaths. Another rarity in Iceland is how the country lacks a class hierarchy. In a study by the University of Missouri, 97% of Iceland’s population saw themselves as middle or working class (Why). This unique approach to society helps could result in less strife among groups individuals, which could be a reason for the lack of gun deaths. Iceland is in the top 15 countries for guns per capita, but has one of the lowest homicide rates (Why). This anecdotal article helps provide a credible source. The anecdotal writing shows the author has experienced this first hand and is an expert on the subject.
Also, the author’s argument is strong as he uses facts from highly prestiged places such as United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. However, the article may also be seen as bias due to the author’s close association with the issue. Iceland and Israel help to prove the point that instead of taking away, or making it harder to obtain a gun, societies should try and change the connotation around guns and inform people about them. Contrarily, most pro-gun control arguments provide examples of countries as their evidence that gun control works and is beneficial. The most common example is Australia.
Gun control first began in Australia after the Port Arthur Massacre in April 1996; where a man with a semi-automatic rifle killed 35 and wounded 23 more (Masters). After this, a “conservative led government” instituted gun control laws that regulate firearms (Masters). Examples of these laws are a buyback program on all banned guns, the banning of semi-automatic, automatic weapons, and a mandatory “firearm safety course” (Masters). The results of these guns laws have been no more mass shootings, about a five percent drop in gun suicides per year, and “gun-related homicides declined by an average of 5.5% per year” (Griffiths). Australia enacted the laws, enforced the laws, and the laws have helped reduce gun related homicides. This examples shows the effectiveness of gun control laws in the real world. The source is CNN, a major news corperation. However, the program at times has a leftist bias.
The author, James Griffiths, is a head reporter for CNN in Asia. He writes mostly about censorship and human rights. He is very knowledgeable about Asia and the areas surrounding it. However, he does not usually write and research about the topic of guns, making him not the most credited expert on the subject. The result of this is he is a moderately reliable source.
Moreover, Japan is another country used to help show how effective gun control laws have been in countries. Demilitarization after World War II was the start of gun control in Japan (Masters). In 1946 when the Allied Powers occupied Japan they were ordered to take all swords and guns in possession of the Japanese (Aoki). In 1958 this was replaced by the Firearm and Sword Control Law (Aoki) which only permitted “shotguns, air guns, guns that have research or industrial purposes, or those used for competitions” (Masters). Furthermore, one must pass a written, drug, mental test and background check prior to obtaining a weapon (Masters). Lastly, gun owners need to provide the information of how ammunition and the gun will be stored , which is checked annually (Masters). The results of these is a very low gun-homicide rate, one out of 10 million (Masters). This statistic shows how the strict gun control laws in Japan have proven beneficial. The source by Aoki is from the Japanese Times website. The source is about the website’s own country, making it valid. On the contrary, Aoki graduated from Hitotsubashi University with a social sciences degree, thus she is not an expert in guns, docking the source’s credibility slightly.
The argument presented by the article cites sources such as a worker at the Technical Museum of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Ordnance School. This helps strengthen her argument by using an expert about gun laws speciffially in Japan. Overall, the source is credible. In addition to providing examples of how gun control has worked in econimcially developed countries, many point to how gun laws will reduce the number of mass shootings in the world. An example of one of these people is Mark P. Gius, a proffessor of economics at Quinnipac University. Gius suggests from his research study that gun control, particularly an assault rifle, has proved to lower mass shootings percentages (Gius). An assault rifle is a rifle that “has selctable firing modes” and “can fire in fully automatic mode” (Miles).
Evidence of this is that the mass shootings percentage was “reduced the number of school shooting victims by 54.4 percent” (Jacobs). The source used for this data, by Jacobs, provides studies, such as the one by Gius, to support his argument. Gius, being a credible source, makes the argument more valid and believable. Also, the author of the article adresses counterclaims, showing he is relatively unbiased on the subject. Altogether, the source is credible.
Based on the evidence provided, more gun control laws should be enacted around the world. There has been various worldwide examples, ranging from more economically developed countries to lesser economically developed ones, where gun control laws have worked. A prime example is Australia; whose conservatively run government enacted major gun restrictions after a large mass shooting. The result of these heavy gun regulations was a large drop in gun-related homicides, at about 5.5% (Griffith). The community in Australia did not repeat a past tradegy, and were willing to sacrifice some gun rights for the country’s safety.
Another less economially developed country where gun laws have proven beneficial is in Brazil. A place with one of the highest gun homicide rates was turned around in 2003 with very few new regulations (Alencar). Examples of new laws were: control of firearm flow, purchase age raised to 25, and tougher gun-related penalties. The study overall concluded that these minor tweaks, which did not include in taking away any guns, resulted in gun violence being reduced with the mobilization of the society and tougher gun laws (Alencar). In addition to multiple examples proving its effectivness, gun control has also been proven effective in lowering the number of mass shootings.
A studies by Gius and Jacobs show how the laws created will protect people in “soft targets”, such as schools, from those who want to create mass casualities. Overall, making it harder to get a gun, regulating how to store it, and other gun control restricitions are worth it if they have the ability to save a life. If the research done was to be continued, it would be beneficial to learn more about the effects of taking away all guns in a country or community. The paper written discusses the ability to still own guns under gun control laws, but these abilities are regulated heaviliy. It would be interesting to see the pros and cons of a gun ban.
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