Gun Violence and Gun Control

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Having more gun control laws will reduce the deaths of citizens not only in Memphis but in the United States. According to Lancet study, on March 10, 2016 it is said that, “by implementing federal universal background checks this can reduce firearm deaths by a projected 56.9 percent; background checks for ammunition purchases could reduce deaths by a projected 80.7 percent; and gun identification requirements could reduce deaths by a projected 82.5 percent” (P. Cummings et al.). A gun does not help someone defend against another. Being unable to defend against a criminal with the help of a firearm is a sign of the uselessness of a gun. It is argued that when meeting a criminal, it is difficult to shoot someone because they attack swiftly and unexpectedly with the intention of quickly attacking the victim.

In this case the firearm would not be useful, but in other cases the use of a gun would be more effective if the enemy was seen and/or was expecting them.The culture of carrying, storing or using a weapon is another concern. Firearms must be cleaned and placed in a safe storage so that if it not harmful to others, including children. Not only that but the owner of the gun much learn how to use it, in order to “protect” themselves. Without the appropriate weapon infrastructure, it is dangerous to give someone a gun without knowing how to use it. The United States has the greatest rate of gun violence in all developed countries in the world.

The U.S. has nearly six times the gun homicide rate than Canada, more than seven times as Sweden, and about 16 times as Germany, according to UN data (Chalabi). This just shows that the U.S has a bigger gun problem then other countries. These gun deaths are a big reason America has a much higher overall homicide rate. This includes the non-gun deaths, than other developed nations (Lopez). Now that we know that the United States has a gun problem, let’s take a closer look into Memphis. Memphis is the 8th city with the highest rate of gun-related deaths (“US Gun Deaths, 1999-2015 – Gun Control – ProCon.org.”). Not only does the US have the greatest rate of gun violence but they also have the highest number of privately owned guns in the world. Estimated in 2007, the number of civilian-owned firearms in the US was 88.8 guns per 100 people, meaning there was almost one privately owned gun per American.

The second country with the most firearm per person is Yemen, which is a quasi-failed state torn by civil war, where there were 54.8 guns per 100 people (Lopez). Now for Memphis, the research on gun violence is overwhelmingly clear: no matter how you choose to look at the data that has been collected, the more guns assessable means more gun deaths. It is shown that Tennessee has 40 percent of adults that own a gun and that is connected to gun death (Lopez). Studies found that the violent crime rate in Memphis was 151.34 percent higher than that of the entire state of Tennessee. (“Memphis Mayor Brings Youth Together to Curb Gun Violence.”). Guns are not the only contributor to violence (other factors include, for example, poverty, urbanization, and alcohol consumption). But when researchers control for other confounding variables, they have found that the United States’ high levels of gun ownership are a major reason why the US is so much has a higher rate of gun violence than its developed peers.

To solve this problem, the US will have to not only make guns less accessible, but likely reduce the number of guns as well (Lopez). This will have to start with each city, for example Memphis. In 2013, Mayor of Memphis A.C. Wharton was aware of the statistics for the city he represents and has created a campaign to help stop the gun violence in the city by targeting those who can start a movement of change: the youth. Memphis Gun Down was the name of the campaign, it was founded in February, and this is Wharton’s initiative to stop the gun violence in Memphis. Enacting gun control laws, such as mandatory safety feature would reduce the number of accidental gun deaths. Approximately 50% of unintentional fatal shootings were self-inflicted; and most unintentional firearm deaths were caused by friends or family members. (Institute of Medicine).

Marjorie Sanfilippo, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Eckerd College who has researched children’s behavior around guns, stated, “We put gates around swimming pools to keep children from drowning. We put safety caps on medications to keep children from poisoning themselves… [B]ecause children are naturally curious and impulsive, and because we have shown time and again that we cannot ‘gun-proof’ them with education, we have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of children” (Marjorie).Accidental gun-related deaths happen everywhere, especially Memphis. A joint investigation by the Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network found that Memphis ranks first among the nation’s large cities in accidental shootings of minors with 2.9 incidents per 100,000 population over that period.

In total number of incidents, Memphis’s 19 shootings ranked second only behind Chicago, which had 28 shootings. Although gun control plays a large role in reducing the general firearm related violent related crimes, particularly homicides, it is not only in the country or states’ interest to take away all guns. An example of how much more strict gun control laws did not help in declining crime. (“Gun Control – ProCon.org.”). Those against gun control would argue that firearms are not the issue; the acquisition of firearms by children or other unqualified persons is directly caused individuals breaking the law, and not the community of lawful firearms users and owners.

Furthermore, a valid point would also prove to be important is the consideration that the parents of children using firearms for violent crimes have to remain responsible for their own children, particularly if the firearm came from their own homes (“Gun Control Effects On Crime And Murder – Gun | Laws.com.”) . It is believed that gun control laws, such as background checks, are invasion of privacy. Having a background check would require government database that keeps one’s personal information on gun owners, including name, addresses, mental health history, criminal records and more.Studies have shown that states with strict gun control laws have lower numbers of gun-related deaths.

While states such as California, Colorado and Connecticut look to intensify their already strict gun laws, Tennessee legislators have successfully pushed House Bill 118, a bill that allows gun-owners to carry weapons in their car wherever they go. While Bill 118 was passed, Tennessee Senators voted against a bill on April 17 that would have expanded background checks of those looking to buy guns, something Kayla Illich, a member of the Memphis community, believes would have helped curb the gun violence in the city (“Memphis Mayor Brings Youth Together to Curb Gun Violence.”). Illich, who has lived in Memphis since getting assigned to Coast Guard duties in the city, has found that things she once loved in Memphis have changed due to the gun violence.

To her, it’s less about feeling safe and more about the experience of her go-to places being changed. “Guns are too easily accessible to the wrong people, especially in the city limits,” Illich said. “Turning down a piece of legislation that could’ve kept weapons out of the wrong hands is absurd and makes me question whether members of this state’s government even know of the realities of gun violence in this city” (“Memphis Mayor Brings Youth Together to Curb Gun Violence.”). One of the greatest arguments against gun control is that firearms give people to ability to protect themselves. People believe that having a gun will “protect” and is a sign of self-defense. It is understable how people believe that having a gun will keep them “protected”.

Nelson Lund, JD, PhD, Professor at George Mason University School of Law, stated, “The right to self-defense and to the means of defending oneself is a basic natural right that grows out of the right to life” and “many [gun control laws] interfere with the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against violent criminals” (“Gun Control – ProCon.org”). However, there are many death that happen because of the misuse of guns around children. There is 1.7 million children that live with unlocked, loaded guns – 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns (“Gun Violence: Facts and Statistics”). Not only that but 72 of 91 homicides in Memphis so far was committed with a gun (“Memphis Police Study Homicide Rate”). When it comes to background checks, yes it invades someone’s personal information, however, it does make sure that the person that is trying to purchase a firearm is mentally capable to have one, as well as, not being a criminal and committing another crime with the use of a gun.

There are loopholes that felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people (“Background Checks.”). That is why there needs to be more strict backgrounds checks, so that guns do not get in the wrong hand. It is said that, 89 percent of adults with a gun in the home approve of laws to prevent the purchase of guns by the mentally ill, and 82 percent approve of banning gun sales to people on no-fly lists (Pew Research Center).The issue of gun violence is extremely complicated and varied across state laws and local culture. There are many states that support the notion that firearm regulation is necessary in preventing and/or reducing gun deaths; however, many people do not take this stance. Nevertheless, there are solutions to this issue that will work for all sides.


Cite this paper

Gun Violence and Gun Control. (2021, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gun-violence-and-gun-control/

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