Shots Already Fired

Gun control is ineffective and frankly unnecessary

By Shayna Kapadia | Editor-in-Chief

America has a lot of guns; it’s just true. According to a Small Arms Survey, an independent research project based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the United States contributes to 35 to 50 percent of the world’s civilian owned guns even though it only contributes 5 percent of the world population. Anti-firearm demonstrators often call for stricter gun laws, citing these statistics as the reason for increased gun violence across the nation. However, gun violence is not increasing at all, and even if it were, stricter gun laws would not decrease violent crimes.  

Though recent media portrays gun violence as an increased threat, the trend shows that gun-related violence is actually decreasing. In a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, firearm-related homicides have declined 39 percent from 1993 to 2011. But the public does not know that. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 56 percent of Americans today believe gun crime is higher than it was 20 years ago and only 12 percent think it is lower.

Believing these misconceptions, many gun control proponents demand stricter gun regulations, even pushing for a complete ban on guns. However, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, and the 2008 Supreme Court Case District of Columbia vs. Heller confirmed that individual right. Taking away people’s right to protect themselves would act against the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. It would be legally akin to taking away any other right: freedom of speech, religion, or the writ of habeas corpus.

Additionally, Americans use guns for a variety of different reasons today, including recreation, hunting, and marksmanship scholarships. None of these reasons pose a threat to the general public. Gun violence happens only because criminals abuse their right to bear arms.  Law-abiding citizens should not have to to give up their right to own a gun because other people might misuse that right.

Even if the government were to enact strict gun regulations or ban guns altogether, gun control has not proven effective at reducing violence in the slightest. After a mass shooting in 1996 killed 35 people, Australia enacted heavily restrictive gun laws, even mandating a gun buyback. However, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, “firearm use has declined by more than half since 1989-90 as a proportion of homicide methods, and there has been an upward trend in the use of knives and sharp instruments, which in 2006-07 accounted for nearly half of all homicide victims.” These extreme measures meant to stop violence, not only only did not succeed, but even was replaced by other forms of violence.

America does not have a gun problem. America has a violence problem; we value violence. Just look at our nation’s favorite sport, football: a game so violent its participants even obtain long term brain damage. Restrictive laws will not stop gun-related violence no matter how many restrictions the government makes, and no matter how many guns it confiscates.