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Because gun suicide success rates are at about 90%, however, those who attempt suicide with a gun are far less likely to be given a second chance or time to reconsider. Success rates for other types of suicide are significantly lower, such as 2% for drug overdoses and 34% for jumping (MSNBC 2008). These statistics suggest that gun ownership in itself is dangerous for those who have suicidal thoughts, a demographic that makes up a large portion of the population. By instituting a gun ban, these homes would be safer for these individuals as well as others.
Finally, children and those who suffer from suicidal thoughts are not the only types of people to suffer at the hands of a gun. Guns are dangerous, even in competent adult hands, and guns also have the potential to misfire when used properly or improperly. By employing a gun ban, however, governments can attempt to stop death and injury due to misfiring by both adults and children.
Simply having a gun in the home, therefore, is risky for children, those who suffer from suicidal thoughts and adults. Because of these conditions, one can understand how a gun ban, like the one Washington D.C. used to employ, would protect this group of people from injury or death due to gun ownership.
Although they may be the most important and pressing issue associated with guns and gun ownership, violence to gun owners is not the only concern for those who oppose the right to own guns in their homes. Additionally, the prevalence of guns throughout the United States allows further illegal activity -- illegal gun trading -- to occur. Braga et al.'s 2002 study of the availability of guns suggests that guns are available about as easily as any other type of household product -- like cheese or fruit. Those who cannot obtain guns legally because of prior offenses and other restrictions, can purchase them illegally from dealers. According to Brags et al., even for those who have law-imposed bans on their purchasing of guns can purchase guns quite easily (319). The researchers suggestions regarding the illegal market for guns has consequences on two different planes. First, it suggests that bans on a limited scale do not work. Those who are not in favor of handgun bans often claim that those who should not have handguns because of their prior criminal records will not be able to obtain guns based on the restrictions already in place. This scholarship, however, suggests that this is not the case. It would take a full handgun ban in order to affect the availability of these weapons for criminals, as a full handgun ban would make obtaining the guns more difficult for all. In addition, the illegal gun market is a problem in itself, suggesting that the illegal activities brought about by handguns are not limited to handgun violence. Instead, the illegal activity in the form of black market sales has arisen because of the existence of these weapons. By banning the guns completely, this illegal trade would take a hit, and police could, in a manner of speaking, kill two birds with one stone.
As a result of both safety issues and the illegal handgun market, it is clear that handguns are a risk to both society and individuals. By banning handguns, the government would not only make homes safer for children, those who contemplate suicide, and adults, but also it would put an end to another illegal activity, the handgun black market. By doing this, the government would save the lives of those who could be killed due to gun violence and the lives of those criminals who could be sentenced for those crimes. For the saving of lives, therefore, a gun ban across the entire United States must be put into affect.
Braga, Anthony et al. (2002). The Illegal Supply of Firearms. Crime and Justice. 29, 319-
Davies, Anne. (2008). Cities targeted as DC gun ban ends. Retrieved July 1, 2008, at http://www.theage.com.au/world/cities-targeted-as-dc-gun-ban-ends-20080627-2y4a.html.
MSNBC. (2008). Surprising Fact: Half of Gun Deaths are Suicides. Retrieved July 1, 2008 at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25463844/.
Wintemute, Garen J. (2002). Where the Guns Come From:…[continue]
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