Gun Control

Topics: Crime, Firearm, Gun politics in the United States Pages: 9 (2749 words) Published: April 18, 2002
Argument Paper
Over the last twenty years, a large amount of effort and money has been spent over legislation regarding gun control. Gun control advocates maintained that increased gun control could reduce the soaring crime rates of the early 70's. However, most of the arguments used for gun control are the result of careful manipulation of data and emotional appeal. These "myths" are twisted by our liberal media until they are seen as the truth. However, despite the claims of gun control activists, gun control does not reduce crime, it leaves law abiding citizens increasingly vulnerable to violent crime.

One common claim of gun control advocates is that gun control in foreign countries, notably Great Britain, is responsible for their lower crime rates. They present statistics showing that Britain has lower murder rates than America, but skip some other interesting information.

First, the gun control methods used in Britain include searches and other checks found unconstitutional in America. Also, the British are far more successful than Americans in prosecuting criminals. For instance, 20% of robberies reported in London end in conviction, compared to only 5% in New York City (Ten Myths 5).

In a broader sense, consider that despite the fact that in a typical year about 8.1 million violent crimes will be committed in America, only 724 thousand will be arrested. Of those, only 150 thousand will receive prison sentences, and over 36 thousand will serve less than one year terms. The biggest problem in America is our revolving door justice system (Ten Myths 3).

Despite the efficiency of British investigative procedures, the British armed robbery rate has never been less than twice the highest recorded before the gun control laws took effect in 1920. In fact, over the last twelve years, the British armed robbery rate has increased an astonishing 300% while the American rate has dropped (Ten Myths 5). Also, from 1930 to 1975, the British murder rate has increased 50% while the American murder rate rose 30%. Another foreign nation, Jamaica, totally prohibited gun ownership in 1974. By 1980, Jamaica's gun murder rate was six times that of Washington D.C., which has the highest rate of any American city. However, Switzerland, Israel, Denmark and Finland, all of whom have a higher gun ownership rate than America, all have lower crime rates than America, in fact, their crime rates are among the lowest in the Western World (Bender 148).

Granting gun owners more freedom to carry their weapons responsibly has not caused America's crime rate to increase! Rather, American crime has been shown to decrease when more freedom is allowed. In 1996, the University of Chicago Law School conducted a study of the crime rates of every county in America over the last fifteen years and determined that violent crime fell after states made it legal to carry concealed weapons, with murder rates dropping 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%. Overall, it is estimated that 1.5 to 2.5 million people use guns for defense in America every year, saving society up to 38.9 billion dollars annually (Pratt 16A).

Another fabrication of gun control advocates is that gun control would reduce "crimes of passion," in which a person kills a family member in a fit of rage. However, 90% of all homicides involving family members killed by other family members are preceded by violence that caused such a disturbance that police were summoned. Professor James Wright of the University of Massachusetts conducted a study of "crimes of passion" and determined that the murders were, "the culminating event in a long history of interpersonal violence between the parties." He elaborated, noting that, "The common pattern, the more common pattern, is for wives to shoot their husbands. Proportionately, men kill their women by other means, more brutal means, more degrading means. To deny that woman the right to own the...

Cited: Bender, David ed. Would Gun Control Reduce Crime? St. Paul: Greenhaven Press, 1984.
Matza, Michael. "Do more guns mean less crime? No point blank answers" Philadelphia
Enquirer 31 May, 1998.
NCPA Crime Summary. Available (Online)
Crime.html. 4 April 1999.
Pratt, Larry. "Concealed guns save lives." USA Today. 26 April, 1999. natl. ed.
Rogers, Bill. "Gun Locks Go Faster Than Police Can Hand Them Out." Naples Daily News. 27
March, 1998, natl. ed.
Ten Myths About "Gun Control." Available (Online) 4 April 1999.
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