As is the case across the globe, gun control in America refers to efforts of the administration and the government to manage regulate and control the sale and purchase of guns. Gun control also consists of varied rules and regulations regarding ownership limitations as well as the use and circulation of guns.
Pros of Gun Control in the US
Some of the major pros of gun control are listed below:
- The constitutional right argument: Supporters of anti-gun control campaigns state that it is the constitutional right of Americans to own and bear arms as per the second amendment. Many however argue that the second amendment has a different interpretation. Gun control activists maintain that the amendment refers to the rights of an army, a militia, or a fighting force to bear arms so as to be able to protect the state. The amendment does not pertain to the gun ownership rights of an individual so as to be able to protect himself/herself against his/her enemies. The activists also claim that the primary purpose of laws governing gun control is to restrict access to numerous weapons, which could be used to injure or take innocent lives.
- The framers of the US constitution added the second amendment when America was still a child amongst nations. At that time, there was a definite need to protect the borders of the new nation and its people from foreign invaders. Currently, the scenario is very different.
- The self-defense deliberation: Supporters of anti-gun control activism maintain that banning the purchase of guns or restrictive regulation can eventually lead to proliferation of arms by criminals, while hard working people of America will be left helpless. This is however a false argument. Even though the number of guns owned and available for purchase outnumber the total population of the country, many times over, the cases of gun-related crime have not seen any decline. In fact, they have been steadily rising. It may also be noted that criminals will always get their hands on guns, irrespective of the presence of any gun control laws. However, regulation can limit their access to guns from homes and businesses. Also, ownership of firearms on either side generally results in unnecessary bloodshed and loss of innocent lives. The basic problem is the fact that gun possession has very much became a part of the American way of life and culture.
- Hunting and other gun sports: The use of guns for hunting and other recreational purposes is very popular in America. Excessive regulation or banning the ownership of certain types of guns will not affect this leisure activity. This is because most gun sports need only bolt-action rifles. M4 carbines, Kalashnikovs, or other guns with high-capacity magazines or a firing rate of 100s of rounds a minute, are not required in harmless gun sports. Almost no gun sport requires the use of high-caliber hollow pointbullets which mushroom after making contact with flesh and result in horrible wounds. Even target shooting at varied sports events including the Olympics does not require the use of machine guns.
- The use of guns for varied leisure, recreational, and sports activities makes its very glamorous and attractive. People thus get desensitized to the damaging and often fatal effects of the use of firearms. The enactment and passing of stringent gun controls laws will most likely result in a massive decrease in the total production and ownership of guns, eventually leading to a reduction in ‘violent’ crime rates as well as in human pain and suffering.
- The one and only function of guns is to injure or kill. Thus, gun control laws will lead to fewer number of firearms, leading to lesser number of people with gun possession, thereby resulting in the ultimate goal of a significant reduction in gun-related deaths. Horrific incidents like the Columbine High School massacre will become a thing of the past and eventually become extinct.
Cons of Gun Control
Some cons of gun control are listed below:
- Americans are guaranteed a right to possess arms as per a section of laws governing gun ownership. An amendment to this law can cause a lot of difficulties in trying to own a handgun. A lot of Americans think that such an amendment would infringe on their constitutional right.
- Banning, prohibiting, or limiting access to guns will not make them less dangerous. It will also make them disappear altogether. Americans have legal right to possess and bear guns, which allows them to protect themselves, their family, and their property.
- It is also argued that easy access to firearms will allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals. Gun ownership acts as a deterrent and thus helps lower the total crime rate.
- Activists against gun control also maintain that guns by themselves do not result in loss of lives. Innocent lives are lost due to pulling of the trigger by an individual. Limiting ownership of guns thus cannot help make the community a safer place that it currently is. Also, gun-related crimes are often committed with firearms that are illegally bought, smuggled, stolen, or not registered.