The recent strike against Chicago’s Handgun Ban has sent a tyranny of embattled gun control enthusiasts wanting to wage a legal war with supporters of the NRA. As one would expect, this is a hot debate. The Second Amendment and the interpretation of it are now up to lower and local courts to decide how to handle this explosive social myriad of emotions.
Do bans on guns really reduce violence? What if every American was allowed only one gun? What if they were allowed three guns? As with many limitations on a variety of things in the world, with children, alcohol, medication prescriptions, etc. banning guns or limiting their numbers may backfire. What do the statistics say about this?
A study by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine argues that gun ownership increases the likelihood of a person being victimized. The study was outlined in this table. The study indicated that 88.8% of gun violence happens within the home. A majority, 61.9%, were African-American and male- 63.1%. More than half, 54.5% of the victims, are under the age of 40. A whopping 84.3% of the perpetrators did not force entry into the residence. In 96.4% of the cases, there was not a legal excuse to use a weapon.
What this study tells us is that in 76.7% of homicides, the perpetrator was known or related to the victim. This study refutes the argument that owning a gun for protection, against home invasion and/or assault by a stranger is necessary. This social myth is simply not true!
The odds of being a victim of a violent crime increase four-fold if:
*there is illicit drug use
*a person with prior arrests is living in the home
*someone hurt in a fight lives at the home
*there is domestic violence in the home
Surveys show that two out of three Americans murdered every year are from firearms. The states with higher gun ownership are positively correlated with higher homicide rates in the nation. In fact, in another study, it was discovered that “areas with low levels of social trust have high homicide rates, which, in turn, increase firearm prevalence”. Yet another study, confirms these findings by saying “living in a home where there are guns increases the risk of homicide by 40 to 170% and the risk of suicide by 90to 460%”. Shockingly, the aforementioned study finds that two out of three battered women come from homes with a gun in it.
It has been proven continuously, study after study that limiting (but not banning) gun ownership is best and leads to lower crime rates. Limiting gun ownership to the following persons is idyllic:
*those without a criminal history
*don’t use or have a history of illicit drug use
*don’t have any history of domestic violence (convicted or otherwise)
*do have training for gun owners on safe storage and use of the weapon
However, it is important to point out that even under these circumstances someone with a low level of risk for becoming violent could go on killing rampage later on. Areas with highest suicide rates in the nation also have the highest firearm ownership, says recent studies. The most incredible statistic is that 75% of the 200 million firearms circulating in the US every year are owned by 10% of the population! In other words, those who own guns typically have several guns, not just one. Why is there a need to have so many weapons? What would make a person feel like the threat to their person and that of their family is so urgent and grave? Is it because they practice a risky and violent lifestyle?
Even when firearms are obtained legally by law abiding citizens, offenders with or without a rap sheet are more likely to target a household where they can get their hands on a vast amount of weapons. Whether or not gun restrictions are mandated, offenders are going to continue to get their hands on guns. When there are more guns in circulation and/or an increase in law abiding citizens having one or more guns in the home, more innocent victims will be hurt or killed.
Gun bans only curtail law abiding citizens from stockpiling their house with guns. The gun bans don’t make gun ownership safer and more responsible. It doesn’t take guns out of children’s reach. It doesn’t keep offenders from breaking into a home that is known to have more than one gun in the house. It doesn’t keep a normally sane spouse from not snapping on his/her spouse, grabbing the gun already within reach and using it. It doesn’t prevent accidental shootings, which aren’t reported in crime statistics-so who knows how many of those incidents are out there! Finally, gun bans don’t reduce the problems already brewing in the home: illicit drug use, physical fighting, criminal activity, broken homes, legal trouble/civil issues, etc. And, when bringing a gun into a home already screwed up, there is likely to be deadly consequences.
The Supreme Court can argue, debate, and pass laws after laws until they are blue in the face! But, the crime numbers, the incidences of violence, suicide rates, and accidental shootings will still be prevalent until the gun owner and even the gun seller takes responsibility for what happens with that gun and who will have access to it!