Gun control is a hot topic these days which is being sensationalized by various media. Promulgation and implementation of gun control is deemed as curbing civil and personal liberty by proponents of gun ownership.
Since United States was founded, the citizens have been keeping arms and ammunition with them in order to serve well in military and protect themselves from enemies. Carrying guns was so crucial to the American way of life, that the right to own guns was added as a clause in the constitution.
Several researches have been conducted which provide no concrete evidence that gun control actually puts a restrain on crime. In fact, two studies carried out by the former president of the American Sociological Association and his colleagues suggest that gun control may actually lead to an increase in social evil if not have any impact on crime at all.
National Rifle Association (NRA) is a group which strongly supports and carries out a movement against gun control. It finances the campaigns of political candidates who are not in favor of gun control and has members of staff lobbying against a control on arms and ammunition
Sacrificing Civil Liberty for Social Security
Today when human rights groups have launched various movements in favor of civil liberty and the right to choose the world over, many proponents of gun control wonder whether it is rational for governments and law enforcing agencies to promulgate and practice it. There are always two sides to a picture. Arms and ammunition may not always be used to harm others; they can be used to protect against those who are violent and encourage civil strife. Personal and civil liberty demands that gun control be abolished. (Edel, 1995).
The recent massacre at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 (“CNN.com – Witness Survives by Pretending to be Dead”) might have been prevented or might have not cost thirty-three lives if the victims had carried a weapon to protect themselves.
The Right To Own Arms
The need to own a gun in United States existed ever since the country was founded. In the beginning, it was required for service in military. Later, after the revolution, the Americans required arms to guard themselves against enemies. Owning guns was so integral to the survival of the common man that the right to keep arms was incorporated in the “Second Amendment to the Constitution”. (“Wiseto Social Issues – Gun Ownership is Both a Right and a Responsibility”).
Results of Researches Conducted
The National Institute of Justice had “offered a grant to the former president of the American Sociological Association”, Peter Rossi, to probe into the issues concerning gun control by conducting a survey many years ago. Their research proved that it is rather difficult to make a connection between gun control and restrain in crime. A “follow-up” study of “serious felons in American prisons” provided convincing evidence that gun control would stop criminals from committing heinous crimes. (Kopel, Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control).
Three-fifths of the prisoners studied said that a criminal would not attack a potential victim who was known to be armed. Two-fifths of them had decided not to commit a crime because they thought the victim might have a gun. (“Kopel, Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control”)
Until 2000, about 200 studies had been conducted on gun control. However, the factors and the benchmarks used to measure the impact of a change in law on the rate of crime in most researches excluded some variables which are could possibly influence crime. Therefore, no proof yet exists which ascertains that gun control curtails criminal offences. (Lott, 2000, p. 21)
A Group Objecting to Gun Control
National Rifle Association (NRA) is the “most powerful group against gun control”. This group was founded in 1871 by Officers of the National Guard. The objective of the group when it was formed was to “promote good marksmanship and safe gun ownership”. It has approximately 3 million members which is indication enough that the movement against gun control is gaining momentum. A 350 staff members of NRA lobby against gun control. The organization comprises of enthusiasts supporting campaigns of political candidates who area against gun control. In 1994, NRA spent about $ 5 million to promote such activities. (Miller & Milloy, 1997, p. 31).
Gun control leads citizens of a free state to compromise on their personal and civil liberty. There is no concrete evidence purporting that gun control restrains and prevents crime. There are movements particularly NRA defending the right to own and carry guns.
“Witness Survives by Pretending to be Dead”. CNN.com. 2007.
Edel, Wilbur. Gun Control: Threat to Liberty Or Defense Against Anarchy? Westport: Praeger, 1995.
Miller, Maryann & Milloy, Maryann. Working Together Against Gun Violence. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 1997.
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
“Gun Ownership is Both a Right and a Responsibility”. Wiseto Social Issues. 2007. Web.
Kopel, David B. “Policy Analysis – Trust the People: The case Against Gun Control”. Cato Institute. 2007.