Gun Control Debate: Anti

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In the wake of a horrible mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, there has been an increased amount of attention paid to the debate on gun control in United States politics.  

I’ve noticed a trend that gun control advocates tend to push for increased gun control in the wake of mass-shootings. There are multiple problems and reasons behind the usage of this strategy. One problem with this strategy is that the type of weapon used in a mass-shooting is typically much different than the type of weapon used in everyday shootings. The fact is that most homicides in the United States are not carried out by people using assault rifles. Many more people own handguns, so to push for a repeal of the ability to buy assault rifles seems insufficient when looking at the big picture of gun related homicides in the U.S. It would make more sense to call for a complete confiscation rather than a ban on assault rifles given that the majority of people killed by guns are not killed by assault rifles. However, I don’t think gun control advocates will call for a complete confiscation, fearing that it would be unpopular politically.  

Another problem of the current strategy is that mass-shootings, although they are horrible, represent a tiny percentage of shootings every year in the United States.  According to Mother Jones, there were four mass shootings in 2015, while the number of federal homicides involving guns was almost 13,000. Therefore, mass-shootings represented a very small percentage of the overall statistics of gun related homicides in the United States. Why not push for gun control in light of the constant rate of people being shot in Chicago every weekend?

Another problem I find with the current push for gun control is that the normal murder rate has been going down for the last twenty years, while the number of firearms per person has gone up from .94 in 1993 to 1.45 in 2013. If the murder rate goes down while possession of guns increases, there is no direct correlation between the right to bear arms and the normal murder rate.

Also, Gun control advocates tend to use the term gun violence when promoting their policy proposals. Gun violence and gun-related homicides are two entirely different things, and using the term gun violence creates a distorted statistic to many people.  Gun violence includes gun-related homicides, as well as gun-related suicides. It is misleading to the public when people are saying that gun violence is up when it's because gun-related suicides have gone up, rather than gun related homicides. If we're going to talk about gun-related suicides, it should be noted that there is no correlation between having increased gun control and less suicides, based on the suicide rate in countries and the gun control policies of those counties.  

Although I do not think the United States needs increased gun control, there are a couple of policy prescriptions I would be on board with. First, there are talks of banning the ability to use a bump stock on an assault rifle. I think banning bump stocks would be a good idea because they give a rifle the ability to fire more like a machine gun. Since machine guns have been illegal in the United States since 1986, people shouldn’t be able to obtain add-ons that can make their weapon more like a machine gun.  Another policy that would be good is a policy that would ban the auto glove.  The auto glove is a glove used to help someone fire a semi-automatic weapon like a fully-automatic weapon.  Again, if U.S. citizens cannot have fully-automatic weapons, then we shouldn’t be able to have devices that help weapons act as such.  

Overall, the gun control debate in this country needs to be debated on the statistics and data of gun related homicides and gun control policy effectiveness, rather than on emotion.  We are all deeply disturbed at what happened in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, everyone just has different opinions on how to respond to tragedies like the Vegas shooting.  People on either side of the gun control debate need to know that everyone does care about tragedies like the Las Vegas mass-shooting and that we will get nowhere as a country if we continue to blame those for what happened who we happen to disagree with politically.