In the recent past, there has been an increased incidence of cases involving careless usage and mishandling of licensed guns amongst citizens of the United States. This has triggered a raging debate on the need to enact laws and regulations that deter the production, purchase, shipment and usage of guns across all states. However, this proposition has been received with an equal measure of opposition and controversy. Gun control measures refer to the effort by the federal government and/or supporting lobbyists to restrict production, importation and ownership of guns. Current data states that over 223 million guns are owned by 80 million families across the United States (Groberman, 2011). This implies that there are at least two or three guns per family. Is this number too high? Aren’t these guns capable of falling into the wrong hands, or worse, into the hands of a minor who does not have sufficient knowledge on the usage of a gun? Are they responsible for a significant number of unwarranted fatalities? Recent riotous episodes have pointed towards the need to limit the number of guns in circulation within the United States. However, the citizens feel that such a move would be a great impediment on their rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under the supreme United States constitution as safeguarded in the second amendment of the Bill of Rights. Nevertheless, in order to dispel this controversy, a clinical approach needs to be deployed in order to determine the best course of action. This research paper shall analyze the pros and cons of implementing gun control measures and propose recommendations on the most amicable solution to this contentious issue.
First, there has a massive debate whether gun ownership causes increased crime rates or actually deters crime. Lobbyists and government officials in favor of the enactment of laws in favor of gun control measures suggest that controlling the ownership of guns shall minimize crime, curb the unwarranted loss of lives, and ensure maximum protection of individuals’ rights. However, such perceptions are heavily drawn from the media in lieu of deriving concrete and insightful conclusions via statistics. As previous government prohibition cases have proven, once an item or service is declared illegal; or restrictions are imposed, the desired results are not gained since human psychology dictates otherwise. Therefore, controlling the ownership of guns will not serve to deter crime but will spur potential perpetrators into acquiring guns via illegal means which might be used in committing crimes due to the fact that they are untraceable to the owner. In addition, the battle between legalization and the introduction of gun control measures is not entirely a true dichotomy. The real issue at hand is the government and the need to control private weaponry. In a free and democratic society, control of all weaponry available should be done through a peaceful and voluntary process. However, once individual freedoms are compromised, the control process is biased in favor of what those in power want implemented. Moreover, people acquire guns and other weapons through a legal process in order to protect themselves rather than commit a crime. Why commit a crime with a weapon that can be traced directly to you? This implies that American citizens are only stocking up on guns merely due to the fact that there have been an escalating number of criminal activities. Various persons, more so those living in dangerous neighborhoods have no option but to pursue sound protection strategies in case of any eventualities. A gun presents an easily portable but lethal weapon. This has largely been responsible for its rising popularity. Therefore, the fact that a perpetrator knows that a potential victim is well-armed in case of an attack deters a potential criminal from carrying out a criminal activity (Nair, 2012).
Secondly, proponents of the enactment of gun control measures feel that weapons can cause grievous harm to other citizens or extensive damage to property. The need for protection notwithstanding, third parties can suffer loss or damage. However, gun control measures would contravene the statutes safeguarded in the second amendment of the Bill of Rights (Doherty, 2009). Self-ownership guarantees that individuals have the exclusive right to use their bodies or weapons at their disposal for self-protection and property preservation in whatever manner they deem necessary as far as such activities do not violate other people’s rights. Obviously, the ownership or possession of a gun does not imply that it is merely for self-defense or protection of property. In fact, brandishing a gun and concealing it are two diverse case scenarios. Whereas the former declares intent, the latter shows the need. However, this issue is more intricate than it apparently is. On one hand, if the usage of weapons was limited to self-defense or the protection of property, then all weapons would be allowed for self-ownership. On the other hand, if weapons (guns inclusive) were observed to be used aggressively, then there would be a sound case for the enactment of gun control measures. Therefore, scissors, knives, bats and even body parts such as legs and arms would have to be outlawed or necessitate the formulation of suitable laws in order to deal with potential cases of aggression. Therefore, although a gun can be used to commit a crime, it does not necessarily warrant that there is a need to prohibit it (Lott, 2010).
Thirdly, there has been a massive debate about the intentions of the purchaser, user or owner. One school of thought feels that if the purpose is purely protection and that the gun is not to be used in carrying out criminal activities, then the need to introduce regulations limiting gun ownership holds no water. On the other hand, proponents in support of the introduction of gun control measures feel that it is impossible to limit the resultant effects from the discharge of a firearm to the intended target. Although most guns can be discharged on the desired target without involving third parties, nukes present a differing situation. They cannot be pinpointed on the desired target; hence, present a situation whereby third parties are bound to get involved. However, is it humanly possible to contain any resultant damage from guns? Obviously, shooting incidences involve third parties. Innocent, unsuspecting individuals normally suffer needlessly, especially granted the fact that the ownership and usage of such guns could have been restricted or outlawed altogether. Nonetheless, this does not outweigh the benefits presented by discarding any gun ownership measures.
Finally, gun control measures present the government with a limiting mechanism, just as is the case with drug prohibition laws. Although these laws do not absolutely eliminate ownership of guns, they are formulated with the intent to restrict usage or purchase. However, opponents against the introduction of gun control measures feel that just like other laws formulated to curb drug trafficking, human trafficking or child abuse, these laws are bound to fail. Once the government forces the closure of legal selling points, production and marketing is bound to continue in the black market. Measures such as fear of arrest, serving long jail terms, confiscation of illegally acquired property or property accumulated by a person deemed to be a criminal and the introduction of heavy fines are mechanisms that have been deployed in other sectors. Criminals regard these as ‘business’ risks and only serve to inflate the price of products being sold. Once prices of guns soar, dealers and sellers are bound to get a supernormal profit that will attract more dealers. Therefore, restrictions on the sale and ownership of guns shall act as incentives for production. Therefore, the economics behind such a move is self-defeating. In addition, due to the fact that players in this sector will reap supernormal profits, government officials are bound to receive bribes, eventually leading to a wide network of corrupt officials. Politicians, judges and the police will be the most affected as criminals seek protection against possible arrest, prosecution, jail-time and incarceration. Moreover, minors may eventually be in this vice, thus defeating the actual reason for the introduction of these laws (Winkler, 2011).
In conclusion, the raging debate about the need for the introduction of gun control measures has not only been plagued by emotionalism but also a deep-rooted ignorance of the underlying factors. This research paper, through a logical and rational approach, has shown that gun control measures are not necessary. Whereas proponents for the implementation of these laws feel that criminal incidences orchestrated via the use of guns will drop, it has been successfully established that this is a misconception that is self-defeating. Obviously, there has been a systematic bias in the approach of this pertinent issue. As this research has illustrated, the introduction of gun control measures serves no sense from an economic standpoint. Additionally, there has been very little quantifiable success that can be attributed to the war against vices drug trafficking. A similar scenario might occur if gun control measures are implemented. The resultant evils are inevitable and the states’ governments, as well as the citizens, stand to gain very little from this. Therefore, this research paper concludes that the citizens of the United States should be allowed unrestricted ownership of guns. Hence, gun control measures should not be implemented.