Other countries with assault rates similar to America’s but with lower gun prevalence and with a commensurately lower percentage of homicide committed with guns enjoy homicide rates 50%+ lower than America. ” (Stell, 38) The reasons for this are numerous, with deeply defined ethnic, racial and economical divides in America causing a wide stratification of living standards. And naturally, those areas predisposed to poverty and crime are also those most vulnerable to the presence and abuse of guns.
This creates a complex circumstance in which law enforcement agencies are both ill-equipped and under-motivated to confront threats in low-income urban neighborhoods. That is a circumstance which, in the larger conversation over gun control, is coupled with another disconcerting effect of gun ownership. Even in cases of legal possession, such as those advocated in the above section regarding the importance of providing one’s self and one’s family with armed defense, tragedy can be common.
It is contended that a handgun in the house is far more likely to claim the life of a family member, either through domestic dispute or senseless accident, than it is to take the life of an unwanted criminal intruder. This means that the gun violence trends which we tend most commonly to associate with criminality in an urban setting are supplemented by a genuine danger in rural and suburban homes as well. In both cases, there is evidence that the United States is in deep need of a re-examination of its gun laws.
While we have ruled out in this debate an appeal to any outright ban on gun ownership, it is still absolutely essential that we engage head-on many of the root causes for the misuse or misappropriation of firearms. One cause of problems is the regulatory exception which allows gun buyers to purchase weapons without registration when at gun shows, which is a sharp diversion from regulations required such for in store purchases. Legislation needs to be propagated that would make mandatory the registration of any legally purchased weapons in any setting.
This would increase our ability to prosecute the illicit use of such weapons rather than to attack the core rights of ownership. Another consideration for gun control which strides the same line of compromise is the requirement of trigger locks. This would help to prevent accidental in-home deaths from child tampering or other inappropriate firearm abuse without violating the 2nd Amendment. In addition to this consideration, Congress has a variety of options regarding the regulation of higher caliber assault weapons and other such items which cannot be considered necessary for sport or protection.
Ultimately, these are arguments which address not just the core of our issues with gun violence in America but also the fundamental cultural assumptions that have informed the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. In a democracy such as ours, it is important to respect the will of the voting population. As such, gun ownership will always be a part of America’s identity. However, with the proper regulation, it is possible that this identity may not have to include violence in its list of character traits.
Anderson, David C. (Sept. 1999). What the Gun Control Movement Can Learn from the Anti-Tobacco Campaign. The American Prospect. NRA. (1999). The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action. Online at http://www. nraila. org/Issues/FactSheets/Read. aspx? ID=73> Stell, Lance K. (2004). The Production of Criminal Violence in America: Is Strict Gun Control the Solution? Journal of Law, Ethics and Medicine. Vol. 32.