Fundamentally, the debate over gun control is a debate over what constitutes a reasonable and socially valid interpretation of the Second Amendment. Put simply, the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, although it is important to note that it does not guarantee them. Those rights to bear arms are subject to Federal and State regulations, which is perfectly acceptable to most opponents of gun control. What is not acceptable is the diminution of those rights through oppressive legislation to the point where private citizens lose their basic, God-given right to defend themselves. All anti gun control arguments are aimed at defending this essential right.
The primary argument employed by gun control proponents is that without stricter gun control measures in place, gun crime rates will only continue to skyrocket. Pointing to recent headlines involving the tragic deaths of children from gun-related violence, gun control proponents argue that without access to guns, people would not be able to perpetrate such senseless acts of violence against innocent members of the public. However, this argument is fundamentally flawed because it is based on an erroneous premise, namely that criminals gain access to firearms primarily through legal means. The plain fact is that they do not. One of the fundamental anti gun control arguments is that imposing stricter gun control measures is no deterrent to a determined person looking for a weapon. What it does do however is leave ordinary, law abiding citizens, who would never consider purchasing firearms illegally through the black market, without the means to adequately protect themselves.
Gun control proponents are always quick to cite reams of statistics concerning the number of deaths involving gun crime, referring to the rise in violent crime rates over recent years. However, statistics such as these are misleading because they are blanket statement numbers. Yes, gun related crime rates are certainly high, but as most anti gun control arguments point out, what proof is there that the weapons used in the perpetration of these crimes were purchased through legal means? After all, if gun control measures are meant to curb violent crime, then there needs to be some solid evidence that the guns used in the commission of violent crimes are purchased in disproportionately high numbers from legal sources.
A quick look at the statistics clearly illuminates this gaping hole in the argument for tighter gun control measures.James D. Agresti & Reid K. Smith
A quick look at the statistics clearly illuminates this gaping hole in the argument for tighter gun control measures." In an article entitled Gun Control Facts, dated to September, 2010, authors James D. Agresti and Reid K. Smith provide an objective review of a wide variety of statistics related to violent crime, gun crime, and most interestingly, the results of some fascinating inmate surveys that track statistics such as the percentage of inmates who were scared off an attempted crime because their intended victim was armed. Following are a few of the most salient statistical insights and conclusions to be drawn from this study and how they contribute to the very real and rational validity of anti gun control arguments.
Gun control proponents often point to the violent crime rate as evidence for why tighter gun control laws are necessary. However, according to a 2008 survey, of the approximately 5,304,000 violent crimes that were perpetrated that year, including rapes, murders, and assaults, only 8% of the offenders involved used a firearm.
Anti gun control arguments center around the basic premise that every citizen has the right to defend themselves and their property, an argument that gun control proponents counter by claiming that owning a gun does not necessarily protect a person in a dangerous situation. In fact, they go so far as to state that people who own guns are more likely to get killed by their own firearms. However, in a 1982 state prison survey, conducted across 11 U.S. States, a good proportion of the inmates reported that they were less likely to confront an armed person. In fact, 34% of the respondents were injured or chased away by an armed victim, 40% walked away from an intended victim once they realized that their target was armed, and a staggering 69% reported that they knew other inmates or criminals who had been taken down by an armed victim defending themselves.
Anti gun control arguments are bolstered further by the sad fact that the justice system is not as effective at solving crimes and apprehending criminals as we would like. In 2008 alone, out of the vast number of reported crimes across the country, only 55% of the aggravated assault cases and 40% of the rape cases were cleared. With numbers like that, it is clear that it is in every citizen’s best interest to have the means to defend themselves before they turn into another number in the cold case files.
Despite the many anti gun control arguments to the contrary, gun control proponents persist in claiming that tighter gun control measures will lead to fewer criminals having access to guns. However, the statistics clearly demonstrate the fundamental premise on which most anti gun control arguments are based – which is quite simply that criminals do not purchase their firearms through legal means. For instance, a state prison inmate survey conducted in 1997 concluded that out of those respondents who had used a gun in the commission of the crime for which they were convicted, only 8.3% obtained their weapon from a licensed store, while 78.8% got their firearms through the black market, friends, or family members.
Anti gun control arguments are commonly derided by gun control proponents as being nothing more than the deluded ramblings of an aggressive and paranoid minority. However, if one takes the time to look clearly at the numbers it becomes clear that anti gun control arguments do not make a great deal of sense because they are not based on cold, hard facts. The statistics tell the real story and I don't claim to have all of the answers. I believe gun control is not the answer but, I do agree something must be done to stop these frequent shootings from occuring.