Why Gun Control is For the Birds

Olivia Mohr

Since when do criminals obey the law? There are laws against stealing…yet people steal. The same would be true with gun control; if there were laws against guns in the U.S., criminals would still obtain them and there would still be murders. We do not live in a perfect world. Yes, the concept of no guns and peace on earth is great and all, but it is far too idealistic. Gun control would be largely ineffective.

Of course, not all gun control means no gun ownership whatsoever. Some who believe in gun control want it applied purely to assault weapons or to people with mental illnesses. They could also support the idea of background checks. In theory, these ideas have some merit, but there are holes in them.

Some claim that there is no reason to own assault weapons, but the fact is that assault weapons are not drastically different from semi-automatic weapons. Assault weapons fire only one bullet per one pull of the trigger just like semi-automatic weapons. They are not like machine guns. Assault weapons differ from semi-automatic weapons due to their “military-like features” only; they are not more powerful.

As to those with mental illnesses, the federal law already says that those who have been found in court to be mentally unstable or those who have involuntarily been put in mental hospitals cannot buy guns. This, of course, is perfectly reasonable. However, we start playing with fire when it comes to people with possible mental illnesses who do not fit this description. Yes, the idea of anyone who may be mentally ill carrying around weapons with killing potential is unnerving, but we would have a hard time acquiring data on those people due to the fact that many of those involved in mental treatment believe that disqualifications could keep those who need treatment from seeking it and that the disqualifications would have a negative effect on therapeutic relationships.

Background checks have also come up as a possible solution to gun-related violence. The idea is great; theoretically, background checks could keep guns out of the wrong hands. This concept too, however, has its faults. The U.S. does not have a registry of firearms; therefore, if a gun-related crime occurred, it would be impossible to verify who the seller was and when the sale happened. It would also prove ineffective due to the fact that criminals would still get ahold of guns through the black market, from other criminals, or from gun owners. In addition, Canada had a registration program that was revoked due to noncompliance from gun owners, dispute, and cost overruns.

In our country, Obama has argued for gun control using England and Australia as examples. England bans guns in homes and Australia has a buyback program (which the U.S. would not be interested in because its citizens are not interested in selling their guns to the government). Even though those countries have those gun control laws, the U.S. would not function in the same way due to the conflict of interest with the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment, and Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing the right of Americans to keep and bear arms in homes for self-defense and legal use (District of Columbia v. Heller, McDonald v. Chicago). Furthermore, in spite of the gun control laws in the U.K., there is still murder and gun-related crime.

On the surface, gun control seems like a great idea. But in the U.S., there has in fact been a decrease in violent crime and gun crime since the early 1990s even as the number of firearms has increased by approximately 10 million per year. This just goes to show that the media dramatizes the rates of gun-related crime in the U.S. by making them look much higher than they actually are.

What makes the U.S. different from other countries in the world? We are given more rights. And when one right is taken away, it has the potential to cause a domino effect; more and more rights could be taken away from us…starting with just one. Yes, that sounds a bit dramatic, but think about it. It rings true.

And when it comes to the effectiveness of gun control, think of mass shootings in schools, malls, churches, or other places where there are a lot of unarmed people in one place. They are hotspots for shootings. Why? If more people were armed in those places, criminals wouldn’t mess with them as much. The Amarillo school district in Texas recognizes this concept and so the entire faculty and staff is armed to protect against possible attackers. Even though we don’t necessarily have to adopt the same principles as the Amarillo school district, we don’t want our nation to be a hotspot for crime. Criminals would gain access to guns no matter what, so doesn’t it make sense to defend ourselves?

A Criminologist’s Case Against Gun Control

10 Arguments Against Gun Control

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