The United States of America has by far the highest firearm ownership rate in the world. This tendency is due to the relatively non-restrictive gun control laws of the country, as the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution. However, gun ownership comes with risks, and the legislation is the topic of ongoing debate between supporters of strict control and freedom to own and carry firearms. This essay outlines the law, its consequences, and my position on the topic.
Gun Control Laws in the United States
The United States strongly supports gun ownership, as most types of weapons may be owned and carried by the majority of the population. However, according to Masters, specific categories of weaponry that are considered malicious or too dangerous are banned, and minors, convicts, dishonorably discharged former military members, mentally ill, and some other categories of people may not own arms. Furthermore, unlicensed persons have to undergo a background check before purchasing firearms.
The legislation is significantly laxer than in almost every other country in the world. According to Masters, Canada, Australia, and other countries apply restrictions on most varieties of guns, including handguns. They often require the prospective buyer to undergo licensing or present a genuine cause for the purchase of the weapon. The legislation in those countries was laxer in the past, but shooting incidents made the governments introduce restrictions and prohibitions on firearms.
Consequences of the Laws
The United States has the highest citizen gun ownership rate among the world’s wealthy democracies. According to Masters, there are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the country, and the country’s residents possess 35 to 50% of the world’s civilian-owned guns. The closest competitors are Canada and Norway, which average approximately 30 firearms per 100 people, slightly more than a third of the U.S. rate.
Proponents of the gun control laws cite the gun violence rates in the country, which are also the greatest among the world’s wealthy, peaceful states. Masters provides a statistic of 3.54 gun homicides per 100000 people, which is several times greater than the 1.04 figure displayed by Israel, which in turn dwarfs the 0.38 and below numbers for Canada and other countries. Gun law opposition claims that the two statistics may not be related and that the rates of gun crimes have dropped since the 1990s despite the lack of any significant firearm restrictions in that period.
My Position on the Laws
I do not believe that current firearm control laws are insufficiently strict. The right to bear firearms is a part of the Constitution and an integral part of an American citizen’s life. The current restrictions and prohibitions restrict civilian ownership of weapons that are unsuitable for recreation or militia functioning, which is appropriate, as American citizens should only exercise their privilege to productive and moral ends. However, further prohibitions would limit the ability of the people to defend themselves and infringe on their rights and therefore should not be allowed.
The United States firearm laws are considerably more lax than those of most other developed economies. As a consequence, American citizens own significantly more guns than people in most other countries. The gun homicide rate is also considerably higher than in other wealthy democracies, but the phenomenon may not be associated with the numbers of firearms owned by the population. Overall, I believe that citizens of the United States should retain their privilege to own, carry, and lawfully use most types of firearms.
Masters, Jonathan. “US Gun Policy: Global Comparisons.” Council on Foreign Relations. 2017. Web.