Why Gun Ownership Can Be Dangerous

Introduction

Gun ownership is a topic that has been at the center of countless heated debates worldwide, for years. On both sides of the debate, stand people with facts and statistics in hand, supporting their side. In a situation like this, one might ask, how does a person make an ethical and moral decision, when deaths are involved on both sides of the debate. Without gun ownership, innocent citizens are at risk at the hands of an armed criminal, whereas with gun ownership, accidental deaths of children are involved. Even when gun ownership can provide a larger number of people, statistically speaking, with protection from criminals, are these numbers high enough to ignore the deaths that result from mishandling guns. Gun ownership does have benefits in many cases; however, that is not enough to look away from the deaths and injuries it leads to, even if low in number.

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Why do people own guns?

Upon being interviewed, an overwhelming majority of around 80% of criminals responded that they are discouraged by and try to avoid situations where armed civilians are involved. Armed civilians are more likely to scare off criminals than the police. This is because it is very uncommon. Even after that, police officers are highly restricted because of the many rules and regulations, where they are bound to only shoot under rare circumstances. Many civilians feel insecure with the constant rise in crime rates. They feel threatened while leaving it all to 911. Even in that case, there are many locations, especially rural areas, where officers canot reach on time after a 911 call. Even getting through to 911 operators in time, is a blessing.

Gun ownership advocates also believe that the whole point of advocating for gun control is to improve gun use policies, whereas a real criminal would not even take the policies and rules into account before committing a crime. Thus, they say that in no way are gun control policies, benefitting the civilians, who are already law-abiding citizens, these policies are only left to apply to criminals, who did not care about the rules anyway. Ina way, suggesting that gun control policies are just taking away the sense of security from innocent civilians, who already abide by the law.

Counter Argument

People do claim that ‘gun ownership makes them feel safer.’ However, statistics and studies suggest the exact opposite, proving the aforementioned statement to be false. Interviewing people in towns that are heavily equipped with guns, reveals that they do not support the theory that gun ownership reduces the probability of dangerous crimes/accidents to occur. Gun ownership is linked to a higher number of criminal cases like murder, rape, suggesting that the presence of guns increases the probability of crimes to occur. Even Donald Trump, whiles speaking of the shooting in San Bernardino, stated that the presence of guns on the opposing side, i.e., the side of the victims. Many people think that equipping more citizens with guns will result in a safety. But the mere statistics in 2019, recording around 36000 deaths from guns, in the USA alone, force people to think if easily available guns would make the situation better or worse.

An ideal experimental study to test this hypothesis would be to test the results, after the provision of guns in a previously gun-free community, while everything else is kept constant. But that is not possible because of ethical limitations and the fact that no community is virtually gun-free. Hence, the experiments and researches are carried out by comparing gun-owning people in areas with a lot of guns to people who do not own guns in areas where gun ownership is not common.

The results of these researches and studies are pretty persuasive and credible when they suggest that gun ownership does not provide more security. In areas that were densely populated with gun owners, civilians who owned guns were two times more likely to be murdered, than a person without a gun. This does not end here, firearm-related crimes and assaults were around 6.8 times more like to happen in places that were densely-populated by gun owners.

Debunking Theories

Other studies done in the late 1980s, revealed that the probability of murders and suicides being committed in households that kept guns was very high. According to the measuring units of those particular studies, a person who kept a gun in the house for protection was subjected to 70% higher odds of being murdered at home. An example that gun ownership advocates have been using for years now is that of the city of Kennesaw in America. In 1982, a law was passed here, which permitted each household head to own a firearm for protection. To date, the people there do believe that the law reduced the burglaries greatly as records are proof that in the years following 1981, the crime rate drastically decreased. However, on closely looking at the records, it was found out that the year of 1981 had been an anomaly in Kennesaw, with an abnormally high number of burglaries, exceptionally higher than the rate in the previous years as well. Thus, the lower crime rate after the law was natural as 1981 had been an anomaly anyway, meaning that the law did not have much impact on the crime rate, at least not positively.

Alarming Statistics

Gun theft is another problem in areas where guns are easily available. Areas highly loaded with guns, make it easier for criminals to steal them and use them in an assault, crime. Then statistics show that owning a gun at home is seven times more likely to be used in an assault and 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide than in actual safety and defense. Since, in America, gun-related suicides are higher than gun-related homicides and assaults. Thus, these statistics are highly alarming and stressful.

Not only at the hands of criminals, but people are also more vulnerable to domestic abuse at the hands of family members and intimate partners. Even though most households own guns for a sense of security, the presence of a firearm in the house greatly puts family members at a higher risk as fights and arguments can lead to the killing of family members in extreme cases. Studies have shown that one-third of all homicides in the USA are domestic homicides, where the victims are family members or intimate partners. Even in these cases, mostly, the victims are females. It was clear from statistics that the presence of a firearm in the house highly increased the probability of a domestic homicide to take place. There was a 13% increase in the probability of a firearm-related domestic homicide to take place, with every 10% increase in the ownership of a firearm at home.

Home kept guns are more likely to be used in various kinds of crimes than actually being used in self-defense. Coming towards accidental use of guns resulting in serious injuries or even death. The chances of an accidental shooting are four times higher than the probability of the gun being used for self-defense. Statistics and astonishing numbers like these reveal the dangers involving the possession of a firearm. Governments should impose laws that reduce and limit firearm possession, as their possession increases the probability of heinous crimes like murder and homicide. Even suicide is largely done with firearms; hence, the probability of that rises too. Firearm possession may provide people with a false sense of feeling safe, whereas in reality, it can be the very weapon used to kill them, and there’s plenty of evidence supporting that.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to creating safer living environments for people, there are numerous practical and doable ways to approach the objective. Providing citizens with firearms is not a viable or good solution in any way. Laws for protection already exist, but law implementation needs to be stronger. Punishment of criminals who hurt innocent people should be strict enough to pass on a message to others so that they do not commit crimes. Protection services like 911 should be supported more in terms of financial muscle to increase efficiency and training, with more available operators and lines to truly help those in need. Police forces should be deployed in more localities so that the forces are not far away when a call for help is made. However, whatever steps governments take to secure their people, promoting gun ownership should not be one of them because gun possession only poses more danger to the owner and their family. Owning a firearm for self-defense has only proven to backfire. Gun can be used for the self-defense but gun ownership does more harm than the good to the overall society.

Works Cited

  • Ludwig, Jens, and Philip J. Cook, eds. Evaluating gun policy: Effects on crime and violence. Brookings Institution Press, 2004.
  • Moyer, Melinda Wenner. More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows. 2017, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/more-guns-do-not-stop-more-crimes-evidence-shows/. Accessed 11 Dec 2019.
  • Qiu, Linda. ‘Here’S How Trump Has Responded To Recent Attacks’. Nytimes.Com, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/us/politics/fact-check-trump-attacks.html. Accessed 11 Dec 2019.
  • Silverstein, Jason. ‘There Have Been More Mass Shootings Than Days This Year’. Cbsnews.Com, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mass-shootings-2019-more-mass-shootings-than-days-so-far-this-year/. Accessed 11 Dec 2019. 
16 August 2021

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