Having Gun Control Supports Fundamental Human Rights

The arguments gun ownership supporters use is that people should be allowed to have guns for the following reasons: Second Amendment rights; self-defence; and the sense that most gun owners are safe and responsible. Supporters also appeal to the public by using experts and celebrities who support the freedom to own guns. Although the arguments that people make for gun ownership is reasonable, there’s still negatives about the subject of gun ownership. 

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Over the last couple of years there has been an increase in mass shootings which shows that even though most gun owners are responsible with their weapons, others aren’t. Although, the second Amendment gives people the right to own guns as a way of security, a way to protect themselves in a dangerous situation; it is not your right to build and own a nuclear weapon. Similarly, having a pistol in your pocket isn’t a natural human right. Minors can’t buy alcohol and people can’t buy cold medicine right off the shelf because of drug abuse and trafficking. It’s not unreasonable for there to also be gun restrictions or more strict laws to protect Americans from violence. People continuously take advantage of their Second Amendment rights and view owning a gun as permission to harm others for something as petty as, “ he was looking at me wrong” or “ I don’t like them”.

On August 31st of this year in Odessa, Texas, 7 people were killed. A man opened fire on a state trooper during a traffic stop and drove away, shooting more than 20 people and killing 7 in random attacks. At one point the shooter, a white man in his 30s, hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and was firing at random, hitting multiple people, including several law enforcement officers and a 17-month-old girl. This recent mass shooting in August was the second attack in Texas. That’s just one of the examples of the mass shootings that happened this year. There’s been so many in a short amount of time, it’s hard to keep track. Some could even view it as the “norm” and it’s because of the lack of gun control and the fact that getting a gun is so easy. Another example of why there should be restrictions on guns is the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. On February 14 last year, a student walked into school, pulled the fire alarm, and then started shooting at students and teachers with a semiautomatic assault rifle as they tried to evacuate the building. Seventeen faculty members, staff members, and students died, and another fourteen people were severely wounded. It was the worst school shooting in the United States since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Under federal and state laws, he was legally allowed to get ten guns, including an AR-15-style assault rifle which he used in the school shooting.

Not only should there be gun control because of the increase of mass shootings, but also because of the increase in gun related suicide. In a survey of 36 wealthy nations, the United States was shown to have had the highest firearm mortality rate and the highest proportion of suicides by firearms. Guns were shown to have been used more frequently for suicide than for homicides. In 2016, 44,965 people from ages 10 to 53, died by suicide in the United States. While the other causes of death decreased, the amounts for suicide have increased over the last 20 years. Mental illness is the most common reason for suicide and the access to the variety of ways to do it. In this case it’s firearms. Current federal laws allow anyone who is eighteen or older to legally purchase and own a gun. The only restriction from the National Firearms Act is the limit of sale or possession of short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, and silencers; unless the owner has passed an extensive background check and has registered the weapon with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Guns are a highly lethal method of intentional self injury.

Suicidal ideation with a firearm could possibly pass or remain unfulfilled if guns aren’t as easily accessible as they are. By making them unavailable for everyone, the number of suicide rates could lower. Examples of restrictions that have declined the rates of suicide are: pesticide restrictions in Asian countries; barbiturate restrictions in Australia; reduced availability of coal gas and analgesics in the United Kingdom; safety fences at high-risk jump sites; and the restriction of access to firearms in other countries. Restricting the access to firearms for people at risk for suicide, including many with serious mental illnesses, can save a lot of lives.

Australia, which has a similar frontier history to that of the United States, enacted gun control after a massacre where a crazed man murdered 35 town residents and wounded 23 more. The restrictions were put in place by a conservative Prime Minister and resulted in less gun-homicides. Japan, The United Kingdom and Germany are other countries that have implemented gun restrictions and gun control. In Japan, there are restrictions on the possession and use of all firearms except for hunting, athletic events, and research. In the United Kingdom, they banned handguns altogether and like Japan, they only allow them for hunting, target shooting, pest control, and slaughtering. Unlike Japan and The United Kingdom, Germany does allow the ownership of specific firearms but only if the person trying to purchase them meets the requirements of a license; the buyer must be 18 or older; they must be proficient in handling firearms; and have a justifiable reason to own one.

Everyday people in the United States are killed by a gun, usually by someone they know, by themselves or from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Restrictions on guns would help to stop this. People shouldn’t have to live in fear every time they step outside their homes and into a public place. Sending children to school shouldn’t be something that brings parents fear either. Families should be able to go through the day knowing that their children are in a safe place. People are even scared of sleeping in their own beds at night. These are all things that people shouldn’t have to worry about daily. People argue that banning guns or having gun control, revokes their second amendment rights. What these supporters of gun ownership fail to see is that the world revolves around more than just themselves. They forget that society is for everyone’s benefit and that a society free of gun violence is an equally important fundamental right.  

29 April 2022

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