Gun Control; Why it's important:
There has been much debate (albeit often shrill and heated) between Gun Rights Advocates and Gun Control Advocates. As a gun control advocate myself, here are my reasons for being in favor of gun control. The Gun Control advocates are not trying to deprive hunters and target shooters of their sports, nor are they trying to deprive people who simply collect guns as others would collect stamps. coins, or whatever, nor am I referring to Security personnel, cops, or people serving in our military, and who therefore, are authorized to carry guns.
Although I've always favored an all-out ban on snub-nosed handguns, I realized that, as time went on, that the Gun Lobby and the NRA are too powerful, well-founded and too well organized for an all-out ban on these guns to be realistically possible. Unfortunately, the NRA and Gun Lobby have bullied various lawmakers out of passing more stringent, affective firearms laws. Contrary to what many gun rights advocates say, the adage "Guns don't kill, people do" is a slogan that I have refused to buy into. Whether it's realized or not in many circles, a gun is a weapon of war that's designed to kill people. A life is either abruptly ended or is either abruptly and irrevocably altered, negatively, by the squeezing of the trigger and the crack of a pistol.
Most murders are crimes of passion that occur among people who know each other; in barrooms, in the home, on street corners or in parking lots, by family members, friends and/or acquaintances. When heated situations arise, the presence of a firearm or forearms make a murder or a permanent maiming a far more likely occurrence. Another frequent occurrence is when young kids get access to guns, and play the typical "bang bang" kids' games, where one pretends to shoot the other dead, and actually end up killing a friend or sibling, due to not realizing that the gun is actually loaded.
All too often, people who know each other get into nasty, heated arguments, which turn deadly when firearms are present. Some people will say "Oh, I can control myself", but, in reality, they don't know what they'd actually do until that bridge is actually crossed and they are faced with such a situation. It's all too easy, in a fit of anger or depression to simply pick up a gun and fire it at another person, or even to turn the gun on themselves, resulting in death or permanent maiming. In many poor urban areas, murders are rampant due to poverty, lack of decent housing and educational opportunities, and drugs. The prevalence of guns, which often come in illegally or through mail order make this an even more deadly situation, upping the number of homicides and making whole areas far more dangerous for law-abiding residents.
The vast majority of guns that end up in the hands of criminals are stolen from private homes, or even cars nd/or trucks. When breaking into private homes, guns are frequently the first thing that burglars look for. All too often, these stolen firearmes are used in assaults, hold-ups, and armed robberies, murder, or suicide, and much too frequently, people with histories of mental illness, substance and alcohol abuse, and anger-management issues get access to firearms, which has led to horrific results. Many of the assassinations that have occurred in the past (i. e. MLK, JFK, RFK and others) could've been avoided had there been stronger, more affective gun laws in the books. The United States has the highest murder incidence of murder by handgun per capita in the Western Hemisphere, due to extremely lax gun control.
Many pro-gun people argue that one can kill or maim a person by beating, stabbing or even strangling their victim(s). While it's true that a person who's hell-bent on murdering somebody could stab, strangle or beat his/her victim to death, it's far easier to fire a gun at a person from a distance than to go up to the person and beat, stab or strangle him/her. Sometimes, too, the chances of surviving and fully recovering from a stab wound, a beating or an attempted strangulation can be and are a little better, depending on the depth, intensity and location of the injured area, and how quickly the victim of such an attack is rushed to the hospital and receives prompt, good medical care. While a person can only beat, stab or strangle one person at a time, a gun can kill and/or maim many people more quickly, due to the ability to spray many bulletts into the air, therefore hitting two or more people at a time. Gunshots also do much more damage than fists, fee, or a "nerve hold", or even a club, at least partly due to the fact that a bullet travels at a much great velocity due to being fired from a distance and out of the barrel of a gun. An angry person who wants to beat, stab or strangle their victim must go up to the person, hence increasing the possibility that they'll regain their "cool" afterwards., and preventing a deadly incident from occurring.
Having guns around the house often present additional dangers. Suicide and/or homicide are more likely if a person's depressed or angry and there are firearms right within reach. One often reads/hears about someone hearing another person walking around the house, shoots that person or persons and then discovers that the person who's been shot was a spouse or offspring who'd just wandered into the kitchen for a midnight snack or a drink of water. Cases also abound when a person comes home, finds their spouse/beau/belle in bed with their best friend or even the mail-carrier, and shoots both the partner and/or their best friend and then shooting him/herself. Killing or maiming oneself due to improper handling of the gun, which resulted in it going of has also resulted in many instances.
The Columbine High School shootings and other school shootings, as well as the number of drive-by shootings that regularly occur in many really poor urban areas not withstanding, one very catastrophic incident occurred up in Vermont four years ago, when a 13-year-old boy who'd been the victim of constant cyber-bullying by his classmates, took to heart a suggestion by one of his tormentors that he kill himself as a way out of it, got his father's loaded shotgun, and committed suicide by shooting himself. I believe that the combo of the father keeping a loaded, unlocked gun around the house and within reach of an extremely distraught child, plus the lack of parental supervision of youngsters who were posting on computers and the internet all contributed to the boy's taking his own life. Not long after that, the father of the deceased boy waged an anti-cyber-bullying campaign, thus helping to get anti-cyberbullying laws passed up in Vermont.
Contrary to popular believe among many gun rights advocates, most guns DON'T end up being used in self-defense, but to kill other people in homicides. A gun can easily be taken away from an owner and turned on him or her, because there'll always by somebody quicker on the draw than they are. As the saying goes: No matter how great a person thinks s/he is, there's always somebody who'll be their master"
Having said all of the above, I'm admittedly not a fan of firearms being in civilian hands, because I really don't think that they belong. However, civilians who choose to own and keep firearms around the house should and must take responsibility and the following preventive precautions:
A) Firearms should be kept safely locked up and unloaded, and family members/friends with histories of mental illness, substance and alcohol abuse problems, or anger management issues should not be allowed access to them. Nor should young children have access to firearms. Keeping firearms locked up and unloaded will also prevent or minimize the chance of theft followed by crime in the event that someone's private home is broken into.
B) No matter where one lives, be it in an urban, suburban or rural area, firearms should never, ever be left out in plain sight on the dashboard or seat of a car or a truck, where somebody walking or driving by could see the firearm(s) in the vehicle, break in, and steal the firearms.
C) Firearms should be properly registered and licensed, family members should be taught how to handle and use guns responsibly, and the gun dealer and/or law enforcement people should be notified immediately in the event that a gun is lost or stolen.
There are also certain things that gun dealers and gun manufacturers should be required to do:
A) Gun dealers should be required to engage in extensive screening and background checks, as well as the requiring of a waiting period for perspective gun buyers. Perspective gun buyers with histories of mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse problems, emotional instability and anger management issues should be denied access when such people's names come up on a gun dealer's computer screen.
B) Gun manufacturers should be required to implement tamper-proof locks in firearms to prevent unauthorized use in the event that a gun is lost or stolen, or to prevent young kids from tampering with them, causing them to go off accidentally.
C) The number of firearms manufactured in t he United States every year should be better regulated than it is.
Unfortunately, the Gun Lobby and the NRA have affectively bullied various lawmakers here in the United States out of passing even laws that demand that simple requirements as more extensive and thorough screenings, background checks, and waiting periods, for perspective gun buyers, as well as requirements for gun manufacturers to implement safety locks to prevent unauthorized use of the firearm, as well as accidental discharging if tampered with or carelessly handled, as well as stricter regulations of gun manufacturing here in the United States, which as often led to catastrophic results. As a society whose culture has long depended upon and revolved around the gun, the United States has witnessed the net results come into fruition; in many streets, homes, barrooms, street corners, and among family and friends, in many, or most cases.