There are not many people, who really want to read about the social diseases of the United States. Particularly, people do not want to know that many citizens are poor, homeless or dying of AIDS, and especially do not like to talk about the crimes. Gloomy figures reported problems, which cannot be controlled. However, crime statistics with weapons use receive much attention since it is assumed that in this case, there are ways to find a solution to at least one of the social ills that are so burdensome for the society. According to Nickitas, every day, about 80 Americans die from gun violence, and several times as many are injured (57). The question is whether the government can reduce the level of crimes is related to violence against the person, particularly murder, by reducing the number of weapons in general and handguns in particular. Considering the numerous victims of shootings, the American government should tighten control over firearms, the sale of which should be allowed only under special licenses and subject to mandatory verification of the information about the customer because of mass shootings, suicide attempts, and high crime rate related to gun possession.
The right to have a gun is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Thus, the Second Amendment ensures the right of people to keep and bear Arms, which is aimed at protecting individuals interests in self-defense (Gilles & Lund 38). Americans have a great number of weapons in the hands. As a result, the United States has a large number of cases of armed violence. Some states have regional restrictions. In particular, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and California established certain bans on the gun possession.
The shootings of people that were committed because of racist attitudes added sticks to the center of the debate about the restriction on gun ownership in the United States. The polarization of Americans regarding the control of firearms has evolved into a complex social and political conundrum that evokes emotional reaction among individuals and groups (Hargrove & Purdue 225). In America, there have always been different from the European approach to the use of firearms by the individuals. The debate on the possession of weapons in recent years obscure American politics. Today, it is virtually impossible to introduce stricter legislation on the control of firearms, as armed lobby retains strong positions in both the federal level and at the state level. It is able to block even minor changes, despite the fact that public opinion is subject to stricter checks of at least buyers of weapons. The U.S. president sought to gain control over the possession of a weapon after the shooting in elementary school but this desire was not successful. In particular cases, the understanding of the Second Amendment was reviewed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court did not issue the decision to whether the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry weapons for self-defense. Federal appeals courts have taken contradictory sentences for this problem. However, the practice of open carrying of weapons by citizens in everyday life in the United States has increased in recent years.
The proponents of the open carrying of weapons point to the historical data and statistics. The defenders of the weapons that guns are not guilty of well-known cases of shooting. People accuse other factors. The criminals usually hide their weapons, which contrasts with the behavior of law-abiding citizens, who are proud to show their pistols.
The proponents of gun control believe that there is a direct link between the laws on gun and decrease of deaths from it. It should also be mentioned that the crime with the use of weapons is closely related to ethnic features and social environment. Thus, crime rates in the United States are high in connection with the gun free culture.
The legalization of weapons can be compared with the problem, which beat the United States a few years ago. It is the legalization of marijuana. Then, when marijuana was included in the list of banned substances, only about a fifth of the U.S. population supported the issue of legalization or decriminalization of the drug. This proportion remained stable until the early 20th century, but has increased dramatically in the last decade. In fact, marijuana has become part of popular culture: nearly half of Americans at least once tried marijuana in adolescence and does not consider it a dangerous drug. The supporters of the legalization of marijuana as well as supporters of increasing the free circulation of weapons rely on similar arguments. They believe that the legalization increases tax revenues and reduces crime. Legalization of marijuana as well as increasing the free circulation of weapons reduces the number of people arrested and will save costs on the prisons. Furthermore, it may reduce inter-racial tensions in the United States. Moreover, the legalization undermines the economic base of criminals and improves he situation in the global war against drugs and illicit arms trafficking. The disadvantages of legalization of marijuana and lowering control on arms are also similar. The legalization of marijuana increases the number of consumers. Opponents believe that legalization will significantly expand the number of drug users and people, who want to have firearms. This, in turn, will negatively impact the young generation.
Causes and Effects
Such a broad spread of firearms in the United States had two key reasons – the activity of manufacturers of firearms and its mythologizing in literature and cinema. It is believed that the tradition to represent the American as a man with a gun appeared in the era of colonization of the New World, the endless battles of law-abiding and peaceful colonists with the Indians, the British and criminals. Only firearms helped to survive in this struggle. However, American colonists rarely used firearms. They asked the regular troops for protection. Shotgun hunting was fun among few representatives of the upper class. As a result, a firearm in the North American colonies of Great Britain and later in the United States has been extended a little. However, the situation has changed, when the arms manufacturers were able to establish mass production of rifles and revolvers. The price on the arms has fallen sharply. Weapons were advertised as an indispensable attribute of the life of law-abiding Americans and universal means of protecting the justice. The passion for firearms is more powerfully than just the pursuit of self-defense. The right to arm is spelled out in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, for some part of the U.S. population, firearms present a potential way to defend themselves from state arbitrariness and tyranny.
As a result of such traditions, everyone can possess a mean of killing. This results in mass shootings. The great concern is caused by shootings in schools, when children suffer from adults and authorities non-intervention. The event in San Bernardino and a series of mass shootings that have happened before had become a wake-up call that Americans relationships with firearms are unhealthy. (Horwitz) The ongoing sweep of killings of individuals, which have so often the case in the United States, is a symptom of a deeper pathology. The free access to firearms results in the formation of the problem of harmful habit of violence.
Easy access to guns increases the risk of suicide and homicide by intimate human hands, but does not reduce crime and badly helps in self-defense. The more firearms in the hands are, the stronger the epidemic of suicide is. The access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide. Having reviewed the rates of suicide, Levy assumed that high gun ownership goes hand-in-hand with high rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide. The strategy for the prevention of suicide in England indicates that one of the most effective ways to prevent suicide is limiting access to the means of suicide with a high mortality rate. This is due to the fact that people sometimes make impulsive suicide attempts, and if the means to commit suicide is not readily available, survive suicidal impulses may disappear. At the same time, the firearm is the most detailed method of suicide.
The firearm increases the level of deaths as a result of home violence. In homes, where there are firearms, women often become victims of murder. Women are more likely to die from the careless use of weapons. The presence of firearms at home makes violence against women more lethal. Generally, Horwitz states that a number of researches have shown that gun ownership made a person and his loved ones more likely to become victims of suicides or accidental deaths. Moreover, the states with extensive gun regulations are characterized by lower rates of gun-related deaths (Horwitz).
The legalization of firearms does not reduce crime. Whatever proponents of the decriminalization of guns say, in fact, there is no reason to think that the increase in the number of guns in the hands of the population leads to a reduction in crime. Levy argues that there is no dependence between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide. In addition, the use of firearms for self-defense just is not effective. The skills and knowledge of when and how to use the weapon in a life-threatening situation appear as a result of proper education and training. An untrained person with a gun in a dangerous situation will be able to effectively use the weapons in self-defense with an extremely low probability. Moreover, it can even lead to fatal consequences for the owner of the firearm, as well as for others.
Therefore, there is a need to strengthen gun control legislation. The check of biographies of arms buyers will reduce the level of violence in the United States (Horwitz). There is an initiative that provides for the expansion of the U.S. Department of Justice database, where information will be collected not only on dangerous criminals, but also for people suffering from mental disorder, as well as seen in domestic violence. Through this database, it will be possible to check details of all potential buyers of weapons, and transmit this information to the authorities.
It is hard to find a problem that would be so hotly debated as the question of control of personal weapons in the United States. The debate intensified in connection with several bloody incidents in American schools. The cases of mass shootings, suicide attempts, and ineffectiveness in reducing the crime rate proved that the access to firearms causes more problems than benefits. Therefore, the government should enhance the control over the guns, paying attention to the sale of firearms. People should receive permission to buy the gun under special licenses. In addition, there should be special system of mandatory verification of the information about the customers.