National Institute of Justice

According to various statistic data the number of the people in the USA, who own a gun, is approximately 59. 1 million (Gun Control, 2005). However, it is hard to give the exact number of guns, which are currently in circulation and who possesses them, due to the absence of the national gun register in the USA. The FBI in their research of the gun possession by civilians came to the conclusion that this number is approximately 200 million (A Look inside America’s Gun Culture, 2007)

According to the National Institute of Justice in 1994 35% of households, over 44 million people, possessed 192 million firearms, one third of which were handguns. The number of guns, available for sale is approximately 242 million (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), majority of which are produced in the USA (Gun Control, 2007). This statistic shows that the number of guns is really high and on the basis of this we can come to the conclusion that the problem of the gun possession and gun use really exists.

It is important to discuss the problem of the gun possession regarding not only the registered number of firearms. It is far more important to realize the whole situation of actual gun possession. According to numerous sources the level of the gun acquisition through the black market is really high. The main problem with this is that gun acquisition through the black market cannot be controlled. Official statistics can’t give the actual number of guns obtained by the individuals through black market neither can it provide information of the further use of such firearms.

However, the one thing which is obvious is that the US government should be more concerned with this illegal acquisition of the firearms, which are more probably used for committing gun crimes. The focus should be changed from the stricter regulation of the legal gun acquisition to the fight with the black gun market. Chapter 2 Relation of the gun control policy to the level of gun-related crimes The main focus of this paper is gun related crimes and their relation to the gun control policies.

There has been a severe debate on the issue of relationships between gun possession and the level of crime and violence. First of all let’s define the level of gun related crimes within the USA. Generally, statistics show that the crime rate and the violent crime rate decreased since 1981. Firearms were involved in 60-70% of all homicides. According to the data of 2000 66 % of all homicides were committed with firearms (Gun Control, 2007).

Some more statistic data can be found in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), made by the Bureau of the Census in 1999. The data show that this year within the country 6. 3 million violent crimes occurred, in 1. 6 million of which weapons were used. Firearms were used in 533,000 cases, which constitute only 8%. (Rennison, 2000). One of the supporters of the stricter gun control policies, David Hemenway in his book “Private Guns, Public Health” proves that the higher number of guns leads to higher level of gun violence, homicide and suicide.

He compares the USA with Canada, New Zealand and Australia and comes to the conclusion that there is a direct dependence between the strict gun control policies and the level of gun-related crimes. However, it does not necessarily mean that strict gun-control policy leads to the lower level of homicide. Thus, according to the research of the situation in South Africa, Russia, where strict rules forbidding gun ownership are applied, the level of homicide is still very high, with the homicides conducted by knives, explosives and other weapons (Hemenway, 2003).