Guns and Gun Control
Gun control has been one of the biggest topics facing our nation aside from abortion and homosexual marriages. There are so many different angles and arguments that surround it, its no wonder a definite decision can not be made. Violent crimes remain one of the most serious problems in the United States, in many of the violent crimes committed guns are used but an actual link between the two remains pretty unclear. Studies generally find no relationship at the ecological level between gun availability and nonfatal violent crime rates, but do find a small relationship between gun availability and homicides…’ ‘Perhaps the most important question in the gun control debate is whether handgun ownership by law-abiding citizens raises or lowers their risk of becoming violent crime victims. ’ (Barkan, 2007, p. 93) For those opposing gun control, they believe taking away the right to carry a gun would leave them more vulnerable to become victims of crime however those supporting gun control believe that if gun use was effectively controlled, there would be less crime. Media does not help in this constant debate since many feel as though outlets such as TV shows, movies and games promote violence especially in youth.
However in studies where children were observed before and after viewing violent shows on TV, they did become more aggressive meaning there is a correlation between watching TV and acts of aggression but that connection doesn’t necessarily mean watching that particular show caused it to happen. Meaning a child acting out in violence could have been acting out on his aggression but not because he saw it happen. A conservative conclusion is that mass media violence has a small effect on real-life violence that is eclipsed by other influences… we should remain skeptical of mass media effects until the empirical evidence becomes compelling…’ (Barkan, 2007, pp. 290-291) In 1999 Martin O’Malley was elected as mayor of Baltimore, MD. At this time I also resided in Maryland as a sophomore in High School. Mayor O’Malley changed the focus of how public safety would be handled since crime was so high in the urban communities especially in the downtown areas of Baltimore.
It was during this time he stressed the importance of neighborhoods and authorities pulling together to reduce crime and violence which turned out a 40% reduction in violent crime. (Maryland, 2009) The fact that he was able to get such a tough community to work together with officials to take charge of an ever growing crime rate is something that should be admired and mirrored throughout other states. To cut back on the types of firearms used in today’s streets I believe would start from the source, gun shows and or shops.
My suggestion to control the types used every applicant must go through a very thorough background search as well as an interview with a law enforcement official to see if they are competent enough to own a firearm. From there I think a class should be offered to all individuals as well as a mandatory waiting period of at least a month. Heavy artillery weapons should not be issued to anyone other than those with certain clearances, military or otherwise since they are not needed unless they are being fired at by insurgents.
As far as where I stand on the issue of gun control, I believe everyone has the right to bear arms as it’s stated in the 2nd amendment of the U. S. Constitution. I also fully believe in the slogan ‘guns don’t kill people; people kill people’ however those that are supportive of gun control possess a very strong argument when they state that if handguns were controlled effectively, it could possibly reduce the number or homicides and violent crimes. An example of this would be ‘…in 1975 Washington D. C. , banned the sale and possession of handguns.
Gun crimes there decreased, especially for homicides resulting from family and acquaintance disputes. More generally, gun homicides and gun suicides decreased…’ (Barkan, 2007, p. 295) In addition in a study that was conducted one scholar noted ‘…guns are more likely to be used when you’re drinking and you have a fight with someone you know. It indicates that people tend to use guns not for the reason they brought them into the house, but in fights with family members and friends. ’ (Barkan, 2007, p. 294) Had a gun not been present in the first place it probably would have kept this situation from becoming yet another statistic.
Barkan, S. A. (2007). Criminology (3rd Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River , NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Maryland, S. o. (2009, January 16). Martin J. O’Malley, Governor of Maryland. Retrieved January 18, 2009, from MD Manual: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/08conoff/html/msa13090.html