Gun Control Laws and Their Effect on Crime

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  • Topic: Firearm, Gun politics in the United States, Crime
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Guns Control Laws and Their Effect on Crime.
Cole Edwards

Lieutenant Lowell Duckett, Special Assistant to the D.C. Police Chief made a profound statement in 1996 about gun control laws and their effect in his city. Duckett stated, "Gun control has not worked in D.C. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It's quicker to pull your Smith & Wesson than to dial 911 if you're being robbed." Profound in that this comes from someone who one might think would champion more gun control laws. Even though many anti-gun advocates claim guns are too readily available, gun control laws do not deter crime because they are an ineffective crime fighting tool and armed citizens serve as a deterrent for criminals. Arguments by gun control advocates

There are many arguments made by gun control advocates as to why more gun laws would not only decrease crime but make citizens safer. Though many of these arguments, on the surface seem to have credence, data on this subject often proves the contrary. Here are some of the arguments often offered by the gun control advocates along with some data that contradicts those arguments. The availability of guns often leads to the shooting or death of family members and friends. One argument posed by anti-gun advocates is that murders are more commonly committed by family members or friends of a victim. As the chart below illustrates, only 19% of murders involving guns are committed by family members, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends (Reynolds, 1992).

Figure 1

The incidences of this type of violent crime with guns often seem more prevalent due to the fact that these crimes are sensationalized by media coverage. However, as the data show this type of violence with guns is a relatively small percentage. Thus debunking the argument that the availability of guns often leads to murder by family members and friends. One of the main contributors to higher crime rates are guns. The argument that guns cause crime rates to increase seems to be one of the most prominent arguments made by gun control advocates. This argument is based on the false pretense that most violent crimes involve the use of a firearm. According to Reynolds (1992), “The National Crime Survey (NCS) estimates that there are about 5.4 million violent crimes (both reported and unreported) and that guns of all types are involved in some 650,000 or 12 percent. In other words, 88 percent of all violent crimes do not involve firearms” (para. 11). With such a small percentage of crime committed with guns it is reckless and unfounded to point to guns as the main contributor of higher crime rates. Guns are often taken from and used on victims by criminals.

Gun control advocates make the claim that oftentimes a gun that is intended to be used in self-defense is taken from the owner and used against them. This argument on the surface seems to have some merit as oftentimes it is assumed that criminals may be able to overpower a victim. However, seldom is an attacker successful in disarming their targeted victim then use the victims’ gun to harm or murder the victim. According to Kleck, Ph.D. (1997), “At most, 1% of defensive gun uses resulted in the offender taking a gun away from the victim. Even these few cases did not necessarily involve the offender snatching a gun out of the victim's hands. Instead a burglar might, for example, have been leaving a home with one of the household's guns when a resident attempted to stop him using another household gun. Thus, the 1% figure probably represents an upper limit” (para. 34). Is the cause of higher crime rates gun ownership?

Gun control advocates would like people to believe that gun ownership is the cause for higher crime rates. This argument insinuates that because someone owns a gun it is more likely that the gun owner will commit a crime. Not only is this argument inflammatory to law abiding gun...
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