Opinion: Gun Control Laws are Strict Enough
Criminals do not obey laws.
Stricter gun control will neither make people safer nor alleviate the culture of violence in the United States. There are already extensive firearm laws on the books at the federal level. However, the notion that more gun control will protect Americans, or that more firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens results in more crime doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
The majority of deaths from firearms in the U.S. are not homicides. Statistician Leah Libresco found that, “Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides.” Suicide is a societal problem; reduced access to a firearm will not prevent suicides. In fact, other countries such as Japan have virtually no privately owned firearms, yet have a higher suicide rate according to the OECD.
The notion that reducing the number of firearms owned by responsible citizens will reduce gun violence is also false. According to a Congressional Research Survey, the number of firearms in the U.S. has gone from 192 million in 1994 to around 310 million in 2009. According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. gun homicide rate has dropped down by 49 percent during those decades.
The “gun show loophole” is the premise that people can purchase firearms at gun shows and private venues without a background check. In law and in practice, there is no loophole. When firearms are sold at gun shows and in private transactions, you are still required to have a background check. If this is overlooked, it’s a federal offense. Those with criminal records and those who are known to be mentally ill are already barred from purchasing and owning firearms under current law.
“Assault weapons” have been effectively banned in the U.S. for decades. It is impossible to obtain things like automatic rifles without going through an extensive screening process. Regardless, the notion that banning automatic rifles will make a difference ignores the fact that a majority of homicides committed with firearms are by handguns, according to the FBI.
Other common gun control measures that are advocated for and implemented at the state level include restricting magazine capacity, restricting citizen’s ability to carry a firearm concealed or in the open, and limiting where law abiding citizens can carry (gun free zones).
Such measures only impact law-abiding citizens. Stricter gun control laws will restrict the freedom of responsible citizens. The tragic shooting that took place at an Orlando nightclub last year occurred in a gun-free zone.
Making gun control laws stricter will not reduce gun violence; they will unarm innocent citizens. Imposing stricter gun control gives criminals a comparative advantage over innocent men, women, and their children. Because criminals by definition break the law, having a gun-free zone, magazine ban, or restrictions on certain firearms will not prevent them from breaching those measures. People will always find a way to inflict harm, whether it be driving a car into a crowd or flying a plane into a building. People should allow law abiding citizens to defend themselves and try to help those with mental health problems to combat the problem.
Human beings have the right to bear arms. Self-defense is an inalienable basic human right. No one can justifiably restrict another’s ability to live free and protect themselves. Attempting to restrict freedom for a false sense of security does not make anyone safer, except the criminals. For the preservation of oneself from those who attempt to harm them, individuals have the right to defend themselves and the right to possess the means with which to do it.