With compelling evidence to strongly suggest that guns increase not only the occurrence of crime, but also the severity of the crimes that do occur, it makes perfect sense for more gun control measures to be put into effect- and this has happened many times with impressive results.
One landmark effort to boldly utilize gun control laws centered around an effort to seize huge numbers of illegal firearms from the criminals who possessed them in what has now become known as The Kansas City Gun Experiment, a blend of science and law enforcement which unfolded in 1992-1993 when police in Kansas City placed a special emphasis, extra men and resources on the goal of getting as many illegal firearms off of the streets of their city as possible.
The results were striking- a 65% increase in gun seizures resulted in a 49% decrease in gun crime in these targeted areas, with very little, if any crime moving to areas outside of the enforcement area. The effectiveness of the experiment was ultimately proved when the extra gun control efforts were suspended, resulting in an overall increase in gun crime rate of 4% over where it was before the control efforts were instituted in the first place as part of the experiment (Wintemute, 2000).
Another area where gun control has been very effective has been in targeting the so-called legitimate supply sources of guns- such as licensed firearms dealers. The dealers were more closely monitored and audited by federal officials in the early 1990s, leading to many dealers losing their licenses because of infractions of the regulations in place to prevent the sale of legal firearms in illegal ways, and the reduction in the number of dealers likewise continues today, and along with it, drops in violent crime.
In almost half of the United States, the dealers who remain must abide by stronger laws, such as The Brady Act of 1994, which has instituted waiting periods for the backgrounds of potential gun buyers to be researched before they are allowed to buy guns (Wintemuth, 2000). Another View-Most Gun Control Laws are Ineffective One would make the logical assumption that if the gun control efforts of the past continue as they had in the past, violent crime would continue to drop because of the theory that gun control laws do in fact reduce violent crimes.
Not everyone subscribes to this theory, however, and there is likewise research to imply that in fact the opposite is the case. A central pillar to the case that gun control laws are not the real force behind the reduction in violent crime-both in number and severity- is that guns are in fact the cause of violent crime, when in fact they are merely the best tool of the trade for criminals such as bank robbers, drug dealers and organized crime members. In this scenario, guns of course make crime easier to commit, but do not compel someone who is otherwise a law abiding person to commit the crimes themselves (Jacobs, 2002).
For these individuals, as well as the common street criminal, the control of gun supplies, the number of guns manufactured and the like will not do much to prevent gun crimes, because a determined individual will always be able to steal a gun from a legitimate owner or purchase one from an underground, black market source. The parallel is akin to the banning of illegal drugs that nonetheless flood the streets of the US due to the demand for them- supply is out of the picture.
Additionally, opponents of gun control laws dispute the afore mentioned police actions which appeared to reduce violent crime through gun control, since other sources indicate that violent crime is for the most part committed in domestic disputes by “regular”, which is to say non-criminal people, for whom this gun violence is their first criminal offense (Jacobs, 2002). The bottom line for opponents of gun control laws is that gun control laws are ineffective, but it may be useful to institute strong penalties for those who choose to use guns in crimes- not to restrict access to guns for everyone.
Canada’s Firearm Registry One example which seems to bring both sides of the gun control issue into focus is the Canadian Firearm Registry, instituted in the mid 1990s, requiring that all firearms be registered, so that the location of guns and their owners’ identities be known at all times. Again, this sounds like a wonderful plan to control guns, but also again, criminals with illegal weapons are not affected. Stronger penalties for gun offenders have had more of an effect in Canada than has the Firearm Registry.
Conclusion If nothing else, this research has shown one compelling fact- gun control may reduce violent crime in some instances and may be useless in others. Likewise, neither gun control nor the lack of it has totally solved the problem. Therefore, the effort to reduce violent crime must continue. References Jacobs, James B. (2002). Can Gun Control Work? New York: Oxford University Press Wintemute, Garen. (2000). Gun Control Laws Can Reduce Violent Crime. New York: Cambridge University Press