The Constitution guarantees us rights and liberties that people in most countries do not have. One of those rights, the second amendment, gives us the right to form a militia and bear arms. Firearms have been a huge part of the culture in the United States since our creation, we bear arms to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government like our founding fathers fought against to create this great nation.
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Recently in our country, we have seen an increase in firearm related crimes. Some argue that firearms are too easily available and should be controlled and regulated by our government, while others argue that a wider variety of people need to own firearms in order to protect themselves and others as well as less restrictions on purchases. A balance would be necessary to not infringe on citizens rights, but to also prevent firearm related crimes to increase.
The statistics that show what exactly is occurring in our nation due to gun violence is diverse. According to the CDC, we see about thirty three thousand firearm related deaths per year. About two/thirds of those deaths were suicides, while another twelve thousand are due to gang on gang violence and homicides. The remaining number is accidental discharges. (Casselman). Gangs are to blame for the rise of firearm related deaths in this country for the majority of statistics seen. We are also seeing an increase in the amount of shootings that occur when a mentally ill person obtains a weapon. Suicide is also a big factor that contributes to thesestatistics. People with depression that are not diagnosed can easily obtain a firearm and use it to commit suicide. First, let’s define what gun violence means in this context. According to the CDC, gun violence is the use of a firearm in a criminal act such as assault with a deadly weapon, homicide, and suicide. (Archive) There is a set criteria to decide whether a violent act falls under this definition. For the purpose of this paper, I will be analyzing the statistics of gun violence in four groups. Suicides, defensive gun uses, homicides, and gang related violence. Defensive gun uses are not a major issue because of the fact that people’s lives are being saved. That statistic doesn’t accurately fit under the violent crime category.
Suicides makes two/thirds of all firearm related violence in recent studies, I see the argument that we must also take into account that someone trying to kill themselves is going to find a way regardless of whether or not they have access to a firearm talked about frequently. Taking away their ability to have access to a firearm will help lower our gun violence statistics, but will end up increasing cause of death for another reason like ODs or death of impact. The fact that so many people end up committing suicide is a problem even bigger than the issue of firearm related deaths that only coincidentally correlates with this issue of suicide and firearms. According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, their clinicians often fail to ask about guns or feel uncomfortable broaching the topic, in part because they lack suicide prevention training. (Drexler). Psychologists and psychiatrists of mental patients and client are not trained in suicide prevention when they are dealing with mentally ill people. If someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, the doctor must inform the department of justice about said person so that they will be put on a do not sell list when they try to purchase a firearm. The fact is that some of these people slip through the cracks and are able to purchase a firearm. Bettermeans of mental health awareness are absolutely necessary to combating the amount of firearm
related suicide that is an epidemic in our country and will continue to rise.
Defensive gun uses is a pretty common act in our country. The CDC estimates that the amount of defensive gun uses was somewhere between 2.1 and 2.5 million per year. (Zimmerman) I do not see this as an issue personally considering these acts were in self defense, but this statistic is included in gun violence data. This is a pretty appalling number considering a majority of media outlets do not report on these uses. No one seems to realize that firearms are used more for good than for bad in the United States. I interviewed a candidate for Sutter county sheriff, Brandon Barnes. I asked what his beliefs were on citizens having concealed weapons permits and he replied, I believe that it is our duty to defend ourselves considering we cannot rely on the police to save us every time a life threatening event occurs. I believe Sutter county should be a shall issue county for a CCW license that way more citizens are able to defend themselves as long as they pass the background checks and are not felons. (Barnes). When Barnes said that we cannot rely on the police, it made me think about how fast a police officer arrives to a house or area that’s been called in. an average response is about 15-20 minutes and that is plenty of time to take serious bodily injury from someone looking to do harm, so having that concealed weapon could be a life saving action.
Homicides make up about nine thousand of the thirty three thousand figure. This figure also includes when a firearm accidentally discharges and injures or kills the person who discharged it. This is the main statistic that needs to be brought down. If you look at places where the average citizen can obtain a CCW permit, the homicide rates of that city or town tend to be low. If you look at a city where it is nearly impossible to obtain one, homicide rates areusually higher. (GunstoCarry) I believe it is our duty to defend ourselves and prevent homicides or violent crime from occurring. We cannot expect to pass laws restricting firearms and think that all homicides will drop drastically, but we cannot allow just any average person to arm themselves. The government must be able to weed out the few who are dangers to themselves and others from owning a firearm.
Gang on gang violence in rampant in our suburban cities. There always seems to be a war so to say between two or more gangs that end up with unnecessary violence and deaths. The FBI reports, there are thirty three thousand criminally active gangs in the U.S. all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, prostitution and human trafficking, and fraud. Many gang members continue to commit crimes even after being sent to jail. (FBI). The amount of unregistered and illegal firearms on our streets continue to create issues for law enforcement and the people that live in these large cities. When an attack is executed like a drive by shooting, bullets can spray off target and hit passer-byers. This violence occurs more frequently and it is because of how easily available illegal weapons are in our community. Law enforcement need more funding to create a well equipped task force to deter and confiscate these illegal firearms. Punishments for being in possession of these firearms need to be harsher in order to set an example for others not to follow the path of those that have been caught. Buy back programs need to be implemented so that those with illegal weapons can turn them into their local police department and get paid a certain amount of money no questions asked. Getting illegal firearms off the streets in big cities and reprimanding people who possess them are the first big step in reducing the amount of gun violence that occurs in our nation.Gun violence in the U.S can be easily lowered without infringing on our second amendment rights. If we can come to agreement as a nation that something needs to be done in order to save lives and prevent disasters from occurring, we will have no trouble implementing ways to reduce the violence we see currently. We can create systems to help catch those with mental illnesses from slipping through the cracks and prevent them from ever purchasing firearms. Providing law abiding citizens with concealed weapons permits can help reduce homicides from happening if those being targeted can protect themselves. Funding local police departments to create task forces to confiscate illegal firearms on the street and from gang members must happen. If we sit idly by while gun violence continues to rise, more and more unnecessary deaths will occur and continue to taint the image of our country. Those that live in countries besides the US do not understand why we cannot control the amount of violence that happens and don’t solve our problems like their home countries have. (Vox). We as a country need to realize that this issue is not normal and come together to prevent this violence.
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