Archive for March, 2013
We cannot take gun death incidents lightly. Crime is inevitable in any society and gun deaths are bound to occur. But when we find a larger number of deaths occurring due to gun violence, we cannot treat these incidents as natural or unavoidable. When we see gun death statistics in newspapers everyday, our conscience is disturbed. We ask ourselves: Can we not bring down gun violence through better gun control?
Let us take a look at some gun control facts to understand the severity of the problem of gun control. You will be shocked to know that we have about 90 guns for every 100 people living in the United States. When the density of gun ownership is so high, is it not necessary that something is done to check this? People do not own guns for fun. The scenario of so many people being armed with guns is a pointer to the potential for great danger from gun crime.
People who have been advocating unrestricted gun ownership have been arguing that when people have guns, they can protect themselves from attacks by criminal elements and this in turn will result in decrease in crime. But gun crime statistics show that there is not only no evidence for this perverse logic but that the evidence supports the opposite viewpoint as well. Far from having a salutary effect on crime, gun ownership only contributes to increase in crime. As pointed out by many gun control articles based on several studies, the larger the number of guns in an area, the larger are the number of murders and suicides in that area. The fact that gun ownership encourages suicides is highly disturbing.
Countries that have implemented strict gun control laws have been able to reduce the incidence of gun death. Interestingly, gun death statistics from these countries show that stricter gun laws not only bring down the number of murders but also the number of suicides.
Notwithstanding such strong evidence showing that only tough gun control laws can bring down the incidence of gun death, organizations like the NRA (National Rifles Association) have been opposing any move towards tightening gun control laws. This attitude of the NRA leads us to the inference that the NRA is neither a club nor an association of sportsmen but is just a lobby. There cannot be any other explanation for the NRA not getting perturbed by gun death statistics.
The print media abound with gun control articles. These articles have been written over a period of several years. The objective of the people who write these articles is to inform readers of gun control facts and help them understand the issue in the right perspective. The contribution made by gun control articles is very significant since in a gun control debate, we often hear only points supporting one side. Gun control pros and cons are not objectively discussed there. Since gun control articles are written by different people at various points of time, the information contained in them is more comprehensive and will cover the diverse aspects of the gun control issue.
In addition to listing gun crime statistics, gun control articles also take up the arguments advanced by both the supporters and opponents of gun control and analyse them. Since the opposition to gun control is led by the NRA (National Rifles Association), the role of NRA and its attitude come under scrutiny in gun control articles. It is good that the unethical practices of the NRA and its supporters is brought to light so that people could realize what the facts are. Here are some shocking truths about the NRA as revealed by gun control articles.
Contrary to the claim of the NRA that it is an association of sportsmen, it has been functioning as a lobby of gun control opponents. It also does things which lobbyists normally do. The NRA is known to have issued a threat to many legislators that they should espouse the anti gun control cause failing which the NRA would work for defeating them in the primaries thus denying them a chance to contest in elections! Unfortunately, this threat seems to be having its effect at least on some legislators. This can be seen from the blatantly partisan role played by some legislators. Some legislators have gone to the extent of altering the rules in such a way that independent organizations like the National Institute of Health will find even studying gun violence difficult. A similar situation has been created for the CDC, another independent body engaged in studying gun violence. We cannot blame people who feel that the NRA is not a gun club but a highly paid lobby. With one side resorting to such unethical practices, we need gun control articles to educate people of the real issues involved.
Gun control facts will have value only if they are used properly. Facts by themselves have no value. It is what we derive from facts that will deliver value. To make gun control facts useful, we should first understand them and then analyze and interpret them. Often, opinions are confused with facts. While facts are real, opinions are reflections of one’s thinking. Therefore in analyzing gun control facts, we should be able to separate facts from opinions.
Where do we find gun control facts? We can spot them in newspaper reports and in several other places. We can readily access these facts in gun control articles dealing with gun control pros and cons. Let us start with some gun crime statistics. It is often claimed by opponents of gun control that the idea of allowing people own guns is to prevent crime. Obviously, this is an opinion and this can be valid only if it is supported by facts. No evidence has been found in support of this view. Gun death statistics only show the opposite to be true.
Gun control facts also include information on gun ownership. Studies have shown that we have about 90 guns for a population of 100 in our country. This is a fact but what conclusion can we derive from them? A simple interpretation of this is that on an average, almost every American has a gun! If we exclude children, then it will mean that there is more than one gun for each person residing in the US. We can understand the potential for danger from this abnormally high gun ownership. Another study shows that suicide rates are high in those regions that have a large gun owning population. This suggests that gun ownership leads not only to murders but also to suicides.
Gun control facts are sometimes countered by arguments. One such argument is that in a democracy, there is no place for any control including gun control. This argument fails to consider that curbs on gun ownership are needed to prevent tyranny, which will be a direct threat to democracy. With gun control facts strongly favoring a stricter gun control legislation, the pro gun lobby adopts various means to sabotage any move towards gun control. The action of some pro NRA (National Rifles Association) in making rules that make it difficult for the CDC to study gun violence is an example of this.