Essay: Gun Control

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[. . .] So there appears to be a political motive to gun control, just as there is a political motive to arguing against gun control.

This leaves us with a challenge in trying to determine whether we should stand on the side of gun control or not. Clearly, you cannot trust the statistics. One minute somebody highlights an increased murder rate, the next a decreased one. Politicians seem to base gun control laws on emotion rather than evidence-based policy; gun lobbyists are financed by the gun industry, which stands to profit from relaxed gun control.

So it comes down to the base ethical argument. Gun control laws are often ill-conceived, enacted in a reactionary manner without any clear sense of purpose other than to show the public that the government is serious about reducing violence in society. The same government doesn't ban cars, but they kill more people, and certainly more accidentally, than guns. The crime is shooting somebody. Most gun owners who aren't Vice-Presidents don't just shoot people. So the problem is that gun control places restrictions on freedoms without any real sense of purpose. The restrictions do not deliver a safer society - the comparisons are clumsy to begin with but in any rate there is no correlation between firearms and safety. More guns don't make a community any safer -- and if you have a statistic that says more guns make for a safe community well I have a statistic that says otherwise.

The ethical case is that government should be enacting laws for a specific purpose. Reducing the number of guns in society is not a purpose. Reducing the number of murders is. But if the latter if your goal, you cannot stop at gun control -- you must control all manner of blades, too, just as a starting point. Gun control laws, even if well-intended, do not seem to solve any real problem. They infringe upon people's rights in order to deliver outcomes that are tough to prove statistically. I am not personally opposed to some forms of gun control, but I think we need to be realistic in this debate, that the quality of gun control legislation is not very good, and most of its does not have specific target objectives. Beyond that, there is no control mechanism either, so if the laws are not working, there is little movement on the part of government to adjust those laws to account for this.

All in all, I don't point to the fact that murders in Topeka are up while murders in Wichita are down. There's always a statistic to support whatever side you are on. My stance is simple. Because gun control laws infringe upon people's freedoms -- ones that are in the Constitution -- they need to be specific, and targeted towards a measurable objective. Most gun control laws, however, do not pass this test. Most instead are based on knee-jerk reactions, on overblown statistics in the news, on the desire to push back against the lobby -- but not on achieving measurable outcomes, consistently, over time. If we are going to have gun control laws, they need to be based on facts, on evidence, and reason. If that is not going to be the case, and for the most part I do not see these things in gun control legislation, then we need to avoid putting needless barriers to the purchase of firearms and ammunition, in recognition of the rights of millions of responsible gun owners and the 2nd Amendment.

References

Gerbis, N. (2014). Do countries with stricter gun laws really have less crime or fewer homicides? How Stuff Works. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from http://people.howstuffworks.com/strict-gun-laws-less-crime1.htm

Lott, J. (2010). More Guns Less Crime. University of Chicago: Chicago.

Rivara, F., Satlin, R., Gielen, A. & Houry, D. (2013). The role of research in addressing the public health problem of gun violence. Injury Prevention. Vol. 19 (2013) 224-

Squires, P. (2001). Gun Culture or gun control: Firearms, violence and society. Taylor & Francis: London.

Pew Research (2013). Why own a gun? Protection is now top reason. Pew Research. Retrieved May… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Gun Control.  (2014, May 12).  Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gun-control-one/6509672

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