Tips and guides on how to write a paper are great but they are handy when you already have some ideas on what and how to write. If you are stuck in front of your laptop without a single clue, the best boost you can get is to read a good paper on the similar topic. You can visualize what parts it has, what arguments it brings in and what side it takes. You can take the same side or the opposite, choose completely different mode of reasoning, and make a different conclusion. But you know where to start and how to proceed. So come on, if your assignment is a complex topic of gun control, read on to see how to handle it, and then create your own compelling masterpiece.
In the light of recent mass shootings and daily crime reports it seems that limiting guns circulation is an obvious solution to murderous epidemics. However, the relation between gun ownership and levels of crime are not that straightforward. Debate over guns, permits and carrying divided people as bitterly as some of the darkest pages in history. Some people believe that strict control over gun ownership and sales will lead to decrease in armed crime level, and others point to the fact that limiting legal rights to gun ownership will benefit only those who can obtain guns illegally today, since law-obedient citizens will be stripped of the opportunity to own guns legally for self-defense. The practice shows that harsh limitations put on gun ownership by citizens do not prevent crimes or terrorist attacks and deprive citizens of their right to protection. So if additional limitations are to be placed they are to be placed on sales of assault rifles and automatic firearms that can be used for mass shooting and terrorism, while the right to own and carry an ordinary gun should be left unviolated.
Laws as prevention and deterrent
There are several widespread arguments used to promote strict gun control all over the US:
- This control will prevent mass shootings;
- It will prevent terroristic assaults;
- It will reduce homicide;
- It will reduce gang crimes and armed robberies level (Shapiro, 13).
However, none of these arguments stands careful scrutinizing. To begin with, mass shootings are conducted with help of automatic or semi-automatic firearms purchased long before or modified at home from previously non-automatic ones. Terrorists have unlimited access to supplies of all kinds of arms from abroad and can buy everything illegally. They do not go into a police station asking for a license and identity background check. Homicide is committed with as much help of weapons other than guns as with help of guns. And finally, gangs, like terrorists, can buy as many firearm pieces and kinds as they want – illegally, of course. So when the sweeping and ever prohibiting gun control is implemented the main victim of it is a law abiding citizen who keeps a gun at home to prevent robbery and to defend the family (14). Other stakeholders only benefit from this ban.
Instead of banning guns for all, the police and FBI should pay more attention to reports from citizens who say that their neighbors or relatives have nasty plans (like it often happens but such reports go neglected). More help should be provided to those seeking mental health care or having signs of such problems. So money spent on banning laws and their enforcement can be placed with more benefit and higher rates of successful crime prevention (Trains, n/p). Yet putting forward laws is easier, and this strategy seems to appease those seeking justice. This is why instead of solution another failure-bound step is taken.
Unarmed citizens vs. armed gangs and criminals
Now closer to the main argument that gun control will reduce rates of gang crime since it is the most appealing one. More background checks, conditions, and obstacles to buying a gun are believed to minimize access to firearms for criminals, and hence they will not be able to commit crimes. However, the situation is not that rosy in reality. Criminals have already established their connections in the black market, and the majority of their supplies arrive from there. Not a single criminal would be able to buy a gun even under current provisions, but nevertheless they are well equipped for their escapades.
Besides, the more obstacles will be put in official firearms trade, the more money and firearms will surface on black markets. Prohibition did not reduce alcohol consumption. It just made people drink cheap and dangerous liquors made of denatured alcohol and delivered unbelievable wealth to gangs that deal in bootlegging and running undercover bars. The same will happen here. Both criminals and ordinary citizens who need firearm will go to the black market – uncontrolled and thus even more dangerous (Trains, n/p). Criminals have much to lose if they go defenseless, and so they will pay more for illegal guns and thus commit more crimes to earn more. Regarding others people, some will be left defenseless in face of these gangs, and others will be pushed to breach law and buy firearms illegally just to protect themselves and their families. So this possible tightening of gun regulations will not bring anything except more troubles.
So what we see is a reverted dependence of the two: laws that allow citizens to protect themselves with help of firearms mean less crime because gangs and robbers are aware that they can get shot in response. But if laws restrict gun ownership significantly, then gangs and burglars can feel safe and sound in the streets where no one except them has a gun (Shapiro, 24). Like statistics shows, in the US states where citizens are armed crime rates and gang activity are lower than in states that go gun-free (at least for law-abiding citizens). The same relates to so called gun-free zones. People leave their firearms at home or in lockers, but mass shootings happen when someone with a gun enters unexpectedly these gun-free zones (25). The scale of these shootings is reduced dramatically if someone still has a hidden gun and is able to fire back. Even security staff do not respond fast enough to react. Only people with guns can counter pother people with guns.
The example of Chicago is very bright in this regard. The Chicago area has tough regulation on who and how can purchase and store firearms. Rifles, semi-automatic guns and ammunition for them can be purchased only of an owner has an identity card, undergoes a checkup and meets a ton of other requirements. Seems that people there should feel safe. However, it is ironic that Chicago features one of the highest in the US rates of illegal gun trade and sees high level of crime (Trains, n/p). No need to say that it is committed usually with help of illegal firearms. There is no sign that this stream of illegal arms will stop in the nearest future, but ordinary people are seriously limited in the self-protection capacity and may only hope that the police will arrive in time.
What Great Britain example can tell us
Seems that Europe after suffering through two World wars and having the aggressive Soviet Union at the door will learn the lessons and will have heart to let its citizens arm themselves. However, this is not the case. The example is shown by England, and the conclusions are not that satisfying. In 1997 England adopted harsh regulation of firearms circulation and today only very few people in outstanding circumstances can own a gun. Again, this ban did not lead to peaceful life. To the contrary, since the passage of law the rates of crime rose by 40% in the following two years, and rates of robberies rose by 53%. By 2001, the crime rates doubled in England. So it is much safer for an individual to live in supposedly criminal New York than in ‘peaceful’ London (Lezerette, 56). Robbers in the US fear owners with guns more than they fear the police. Besides, as multiple incidents show, shop owners are more likely to get rid of a robber by countering them with a gun than they are likely to get help from the police. Police efficiency is basically equal in most developed countries where it operates on similar premises. But armed homeowners and shop owners make it more difficult and dangerous to break in for criminals. Again the statistics supports this assumption: in England burglary and break-in crimes happen 6 times more often than they do in America.
Let us look back at America now:
- New York has gun restriction and has 20% total of all America’s robberies happening there (Trains);
- Washington has gun restriction laws and sees the highest homicide and other crimes rates in comparison with non-pacified states (Trains);
- Gun-free-zones suffer when someone with a gun enters without permission;
- Schools and restaurants suffer when security is away and none of the staff is armed and trained to shoot;
- Mass shootings are about psychological troubles, monitoring, uncurbed bullying and other sociological reasons and not about guns.
Seems that the list is exhaustive enough to make us all pause and think again about what and how we need to control.
From all mentioned above it transpires that limiting gun circulation or banning it altogether does not worth the way it should. Instead, it leaves citizens defenseless in the face of crime and gangs, and gives criminals undeserved advantage. Besides, strict gun laws give rise to illegal gun market, and so guns are impossible to track and crimes are left unsolved. Examples around the world demonstrate invalidity of this approach and ask for a different solution. This solution is to limit sales of automatic and semi-automatic guns but let people freely own simple guns that will nevertheless deter criminals and help them save their lives, family and property.
Lezerette, Susan B. Gun Violence And Homicide: What Women Have To Say. NY Publishing House, 2010.
Shapiro, Richard J. Gun Control: The Experience Of The World. Rutledge, 2008.
Trains, Michael. “What If: Putting Gun Prohibition in Place.” The New York Times, March 23 2007. Web.