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Although gun related death and injury has dropped since its' peak in the 1990s, statistics indicate gun violence is up among young people. The U.S. Justice Department notes, "The sharp increase in homicides in the late 1980's and much of the subsequent decline is attributable to gun violence by juveniles and young adults" ("Homicide Trends"). This is indicated in many recent school shootings and the shooting in a Salt Lake City mall, where the shooters were 18 or under and still had access to a number of weapons. It is illustrated by the ease gangs get guns to carry on their violence, as well.
Of course, violent crime is not the only area where guns affect Americans. For example, studies indicate, "The presence of a gun in the home triples the risk of homicide in the home, and increases the risk of suicide fivefold ("Firearm Facts"). In addition, the costs to the American taxpayer, in the form of medical care, security, and lost wages are over $100 billion a year ("Firearm Fact"). Thus, the cost in lives and monetary value is staggering, which is another compelling argument for gun control.
One of the most prominent gun advocate groups is the National Rifle Association (NRA). They fund their own lobbyists, influence anti-gun control legislations, and offer an array of anti-gun control topics at their Web site. They advocate firearm ownership for "self-defense," and contend only 1% of violent crimes are committed with guns. They also contend "A follow-up study (2003) found that criminals rarely fire more than 10 rounds, that wounds involving pistols are less likely to be fatal than those involving revolvers, and that the average number of wounds in pistol crimes is lower than with revolvers" ("Fact Sheets"). This does not address the growing trend of semi-automatic weapons used by gangs and criminals, and the information from areas like Palm Beach, which indicate 30 to 100 rounds shot are now average in the area (Thomas, et. al). In fact, many of the arguments used by the NRA related directly to the right to bear arms as directed in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The NRA conveniently avoids serious crime statistics, and arouses emotions with statements such as, "The right to keep and bear arms is derived from and inseparably linked to the right of self-defense. Thus, by nature it is an individually possessed right, as are all rights protected in our Constitution" ("Fact Sheets"). While it may be true that Americans enjoy the right to own guns, there is still a growing problem with gun crime in the nation. Stricter gun laws can help staunch crime, if they are effective and enacted throughout the nation. It is interesting that the NRA is staunchly opposed to regulating dealers, while programs have shown that regulation helps reduce crimes committed with guns.
In conclusion, gun control is not anti-American or anti-democracy. It works in other countries, and keeps gun-related deaths and injuries to a minimum in many of these areas. Recent reports indicate that guns are out of control in America, and without any real regulations, they will continue to spiral further out of control. Gun control will not keep guns out of the hands of people who use them for sport and for self-defense. It will help keep them out of the hands of criminals, gangs, young people, and the mentally unfit. The real question is not whether to choose gun control or not. The real question is "why is it taking so long?" And "how many lives could be saved with gun restrictions in place today?"
Editors. "Fact Sheets." NRAILA.org. 2007. 24 Feb. 2007. http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=83
Editors. "Firearm Facts." BradyCampaign.org. 2007. 24 Feb. 2007. http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/factsheets/pdf/firearm_facts.pdf
Editors. "Homicide Trends in the U.S.: Weapons Used." United States Department of Justice. 29 June 2006. 24 Feb. 2007. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/weapons.htm
Simpson, Brian W. "Cutting the Flow of Guns to Criminals." Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine. 2006. 24 Feb. 2007. http://magazine.jhsph.edu/2006/Fall/urban_health/illegal_gun_sales/
Thomas, Pierre, Jack Date and Nitya Venkataraman. "Fighting Gang Bangers in the Land of the Rich." ABCNews.go.com. 20 Feb. 2007.…[continue]
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