A large number of deaths and injuries caused by firearms attracts close attention of many policy-makers. Their main task is to develop strategies for addressing this issue. This paper will discuss the relationship between the availability of guns and violence. At first, it is necessary to examine the major tendencies in the use of these weapons. One should also describe the measures that can contain the violence involving firearms. Overall, the increased accessibility of guns can pose a threat to public safety; therefore, governmental officials should take precautions ensuring that these weapons are not readily available to potential criminals or mentally deranged individuals.
The Patterns of Violence Involving Guns
At present, there are many debates about the need to strengthen government control over the use of firearms. There are several reasons that prompt researchers and officials to advocate the necessity for new policies. At first, it is possible to consider the trends observed in the countries with different gun control laws. For instance, in the United States, the number of deaths caused firearms per 100.000 people is significantly higher than in other advanced countries (Carter, 2017).
In Canada and the United Kingdom, the rate of homicide caused by firearms is much lower (Carter, 2017). One should bear in mind that in these countries, it is more difficult for an individual to buy a gun than in the United States. For instance, in Canada, many types of guns with a short barrel cannot be legally purchased (Hand, 2016). Many of these restrictions do not exist in the United States (Hand, 2016). These examples suggest that the availability of guns may be closely related to the level of violent crime. More importantly, strict rules governing the sale of these products may increase public safety.
Much attention should also be given to the way in which people use firearms. The opponents of strict gun control laws argue that these weapons are critical for self-defense (Yuill & Street, 2017). This argument cannot be overlooked; nevertheless, one should also remember that in most cases, these weapons are used by offenders, rather than victims (Yuill & Street, 2017). The murders involving the use of firearms are normally committed by perpetrators who assault other individuals. The decreased accessibility of guns will deprive these people of opportunities for carrying out various crimes.
Researchers also report that guns significantly increase the risk of deaths in any conflict or a dispute. Very often, the murders committed by people are not the result of premeditation or planning. Sometimes, they can be attributed to spontaneous decisions based on emotions, rather than reason (Carter, 2017). In many cases, such conflicts occur between spouses or close relatives (Carter, 2017). If a person has access to firearms, his impulsive aggressiveness can lead to the death of his/her relative. The absence of firearms may not necessarily reduce the risk of violence since people can use other weapons like knives. Nevertheless, if a person does not have a gun, the probability of a lethal outcome will be much lower. Thus, policy-makers should create a safer environment in which firearms cannot destroy the lives of families.
Additionally, the policies restricting the use of firearms are helpful in increasing public safety. For instance, it is possible to mention the requirements according to which a person cannot carry guns in various public places like airports, schools, restaurants, hospitals, and so forth (Carter, 2017). This strategy ensures that criminals and mentally deranged individuals cannot threaten the lives of other people. To a great extent, these examples indicate that the decreased availability of firearms can reduce the risk of violence or at least make its effects less dangerous.
The Implications for Policy-Makers
While speaking about the accessibility of firearms, one should focus on several aspects. At first, it is critical to mention the ability of individuals to purchase various types of firearms. Much attention should be given to those guns that can be easily concealed by criminals. Furthermore, one should consider automatic weapons that can pose serious dangers to the public. The task of legislators is to ensure that these firearms are not easily accessible to the public. The second issue is related to the rules describing the cases when these objects may be legally carried. Policy-makers should identify specific cases when a person is not allowed to carry firearms.
To address the problems related to the use of guns, American policy-makers should make several steps. Firstly, they should enact the laws prohibiting the distribution and sale of certain firearms, namely semi-automatic weapons and those guns that can be easily concealed. Additionally, they should establish safeguards that will prevent potential offenders from entering public places. For instance, schools should have an opportunity to install metal detectors preventing students from bringing firearms. Such precautions will be useful in minimizing various risks to which the society is now exposed.
This discussion indicates that the availability of guns is strongly related to violence and homicide. In particular, the greater accessibility of firearms creates many opportunities for criminals and individuals who may struggle with some mental disorders. In their turn, legislators should adopt the laws decreasing the accessibility of guns to the public. They should not deprive citizens of their right to self-defense. However, they should introduce safeguards that will make public places safer.
Carter, G. (2017). Gun control in the United States: A reference handbook (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Hand, C. (2016). Gun control and the Second Amendment. North Mankato, MN: ABDO.
Yuill, K., & Street, J. (Eds.). (2017). The Second Amendment and gun control: Freedom, fear, and the American Constitution. New York, NY: Routledge.