Gun Control: Con


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

While the tragic shootings that happen in America are horrible, some people make the point that jumping to a quick feel-good solution such as new gun legislation undermines personal freedoms.

Ryan Brewer, Viewpoint Editor

Before I get into my argument I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I will never value someone’s right to own a gun over someone’s life. I think the first and foremost priority when making any choices regarding legislation is the safety of everyone. With that being said, I think extensive gun reform, such as banning “assault weapons” would not only be inefficient, it would have very few positive effects and would leave the civilian population more susceptible to violence than before. I hope to show this with as little projection of opinion as possible by providing the appropriate statics.
Let’s begin with the notion of banning so called “assault weapons,” which is called for in the March for Our Lives platform. First of all the term “assault weapon” makes it seem as if though these weapons perform at a higher level when compared to other rifles. This is simply untrue; both can fire as a semi-automatic weapon and use similar if not identical ammo depending on the model. The difference is the design, and the branding.
Although it is true that these rifles are overwhelmingly used in mass shootings, when looking at the grand scheme of homicides, handguns are used over 20 times more often than rifles, according to an FBI report from 2014. This makes it clear that if one wanted to drop the homicide rate then the most obvious course of action would be a ban handguns, but this would leave citizens defenseless, which has proven consequences. According to a statement by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, guns were used around 47,140 times in self-defense per year from 2006-2011. This surpasses the total murder rate during that time period which the average number of homicides committed with a firearm was estimated to be 11,696.6. This goes to show that although handguns are a weapon used in crime, they are used by law abiding citizens to protect their families and themselves in overwhelming numbers.
However, we do have a problem. From Columbine to Parkland it is clear that something needs to be addressed. The common call is for “universal background checks”; again this is a reactionary statement to the problem our nation has faced. Only around 18% of total gun crime is committed by a legal gun owner, with many people such as the Parkland shooter obtaining a weapon legally because of failed action by authorities. Tightening background checks could result in leaving law-abiding citizens without their right the bear arms because of past minor misdemeanors, while the issue of criminals obtaining weapons remains.