by Amna El Tawil
Guns don’t kill people, people do! That’s what comes to my mind each time I see someone blaming high gun violence rates on guns only. I mean, how is that possible? Owning a gun doesn’t automatically make you a criminal, shooter, murderer, and much more. Gun won’t tell you “okay, take me, go to the mall, and shoot everyone you see”. That said, constant shootings in the US are an ever-growing problem even in a gun-controlled city such as Chicago. Some say strict gun control is the answer but is it really?
In October 2016, CNN published a report that compared the number of victims died in terrorist attacks in the US with the total of people who died in shootings. They wrote: “For every one American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns. Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that from 2001 to 2014, 440,095 people died by firearms on US soil. (2014 is the most recent year for which the CDC has data for deaths by firearms.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident, and suicide.
According to the US State Department, the number of US citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2014 was 369. In addition, we compiled all terrorism incidents inside the United States and found that between 2001 and 2014, there were 3,043 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism. This brings the total to 3,412.”
Further commentary: I’m sure you agree these figures seem frightening, especially if we take into consideration the seriousness and gravity of terrorism and still face the fact that victims of random shootings across the country are far more numerous. When the gun violence escalates, we usually see interviews or posts claiming that strict control is mandatory. They go by the logic that more guns equal more violence. Basically, that would mean that no guns would mean no violence. But, what about historic and prehistoric times then? Violence always existed to some extent, even before guns were invented. The point is, the gun is just the tool that someone uses to commit a certain crime, it’s not the main perpetrator. End of commentary
Justin King of the Fifth Column News published an interesting article showing that gun control doesn’t really accomplish anything. Bearing in mind that gun control is designed to stop people shooting and killing each other, King used examples from other countries and their gun control laws to analyze whether it really works. He wrote: “United Kingdom: The UK enacted its handgun ban in 1996. From 1990 until the ban was enacted, the homicide rate fluctuated between 10.9 and 13 homicides per million. After the ban was enacted, homicides trended up until they reached a peak of 18.0 in 2003. Since 2003, which incidentally was about the time the British government flooded the country with 20,000 more cops, the homicide rate has fallen to 11.1 in 2010. In other words, the 15-year experiment in a handgun ban has achieved absolutely nothing.
Ireland: Ireland banned firearms in 1972. Ireland’s homicide rate was fairly static going all the way back to 1945. In that period, it fluctuated between 0.1 and 0.6 per 100,000 people. Immediately after the ban, the murder rate shot up to 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1975. It then dropped back down to 0.4. It has trended up, reaching 1.4 in 2007.
Australia: Australia enacted its gun ban in 1996. Murders have basically run flat, seeing only a small spike after the ban and then returning almost immediately to pre-ban numbers. It is currently trending down, but is within the fluctuations exhibited in other nations.”
Further commentary: Just like I mentioned above, gun control isn’t, actually, the right measure to stop gun violence and I’m sure you also agree with this notion. Based on these examples, we understand that gun control didn’t have some meaningful impact on murder rates. Let’s take the UK for example, the handgun ban has achieved nothing. So, why would things be any different in the States as well? End of commentary
Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser published an extensive paper in the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy where they deduced whether gun control really reduces the number of homicides, even suicides. The mentioned: “If more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death, areas within nations with higher gun owner? ship should, in general, have more murders than those with less gun ownership in a similar area. But, in fact, the reverse pattern prevails in Canada, 128 “England, America, and Swit? Zealand, [where the areas] with the highest rates of gun ownership were in fact those with the lowest rates of violence.”
Further commentary: a study from Harvard only proved what we were thinking, gun control isn’t the most effective solution for the ever-growing problem. If someone wants to commit a homicide or suicide, or basically anything else, they’d find the way to do so gun or no gun. Since gun control, obviously, isn’t the answer, then what is? End of commentary
A senior columnist at CNBC, Jake Novak wrote an interesting piece claiming that enforcing the law, making it more effective, is the solution to gun violence, not banning guns. He stated: “As long as Democrats insist that new gun laws and bans are the only way to stop or slow gun violence, the Republicans and most of the American people will stand in their way – unless they rush to pass new gun laws and bans within 2-3 weeks of major mass shootings. The reasons are many, but one of the biggest problems with the new legislation approach is the fact that gun violence is mostly committed in urban areas by people in demographic groups and living in geographical locations that a large segment of the American people believe are heavily connected to the Democratic Party. As “Dilbert” creator and blogger Scott Adams wrote last week, that leaves many non-Democrats who own guns looking at newly proposed gun laws by Democrats as essentially saying to them: “put down your guns… so we can shoot you.” This approach simply isn’t going to work.
But here’s the funny thing, in a tragically laughable way of course: we already know how to reduce gun violence and gun crimes because we’ve already done it many times before. That’s right, we actually solved the issue of rising gun violence in America in the mid-1990’s and again in the early 2000’s by doing something really radical. We enforced the law.”
Further commentary: while most people would start thinking the US already has enough gun laws, to begin with, it’s not just about guns and possession of a weapon. Higher chances of decreasing gun violence would be imposing stricter laws for those who break them. A guy who knows he’s going to get a relatively short sentence doesn’t let it stop him from doing what he intended. It somehow seems that people became too comfortable with the law and don’t find consequences that severe to decide to avoid them. However, implementing stricter laws requires more funding which is, currently, difficult to do. Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump mentioned that “”What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.” He also added he won’t allow Americans to lose their own rights and it’s safe to say he’s definitiely got a plan that will repair the system.
by Amna El Tawil