Perspective - Gun Control

I do not own a gun. I don't have a fascination with guns. I might someday own a gun, but I have no plans for it. I think that a lot of people who have guns do not deserve the right to possess them. So, am I for or against gun control? The answer is yes, I'm both for and against gun control.

First, what exactly is "gun control". Basically speaking, it's the control of guns. Moreover, it's the government's involvement as to who can legally purchase and use firearms.

The government already controls the use of guns to some degree. You are not allowed to have extremely large guns like those used in the military. You are not allowed to have high-order explosives like dynamite and TNT. The government also restricts weapons of certain type like fully automatic weapons and weapons that can hold large amounts of ammunition. The government even forces you to register that you own certain types of guns. As of now, the government can even restrict who can buy a gun because of background checks, thus making it more difficult for convicted felons to obtain a gun.

You would think that with these regulations in place there would be very little violent crimes with guns. However, regardless of how many laws we put around criminals having guns, they continue to obtain them, and continue to injure and kill people with them. Why is this? Because criminals are people who break the law. If criminals can't buy guns, they do what they're good at and steal them. Obtaining a gun is very easy, even for a criminal, because they are not too difficult to find.

Well if it's still easy for criminals to get guns, why not just make all guns illegal that way they can't get them. This is a statement often made by people who are for gun control. They think that if guns are made illegal, then nobody will have them, criminal or not. However, if you think the scenario through you will see several problems with it.

If a law were made to take away all guns, you could only enforce it on the guns that the government knows about, that is only from honest people who properly registered their firearms. Once you've taken away all the guns of every law-abiding citizen, only the criminals with unregistered guns will still have guns. This makes the law-abiding citizen a prime target for every criminal because the criminal doesn't have to worry about retaliation. It has been proven, many times, in gun-free countries that gun related crimes are usually higher in the gun-free countries than countries that allow their citizens to openly carry guns.

Why is that? Well, trying to stop illegal guns from entering a country is just as impossible as stopping illegal drugs from entering a country. Also, the military will always have guns and they can be stolen by criminals as well. No matter what measures are taken to stop criminals from obtaining guns, they'll still get them, and then only the criminals will have them. If given a choice between robbing a person with a gun or a person without a gun, most criminals would prefer to rob the unarmed person. Criminals don't want to get shot, so they try to prey on unarmed victims.

So what do we do about the gun problem? First, we need to stop looking at the problem as a gun problem. If someone wants to kill another person and a gun isn't available, they won't just simply give up. They will use something else to kill with whether it be a knife, a car, a brick, whatever. Murder will exist whether we have guns or not. The problem exists in crime in general, the gun is just an accessory.

When people would fight prior to the use of manufactured weapons, the winner was decided by who was physically stronger. When the primitive club was invented even a weaker person could win with the added benefit of this new weapon. Then came the sword, which was more efficient. Then the spear with longer range. Then the bow and arrow with very long range. Then came the musket, then the rifle, then the handgun. Now we have tanks, rockets, missiles, bombs, etc. Weapons have existed since the dawn of time. If we use history as a guide then we will find that weapons will never go away and they will continue to get more and more powerful. The gun is just today's sword, it's a tool of power. In the right hands it can be used to make the world a safer place for everyone. In the wrong hands it causes violence, pain, and death. How do we keep the tools of power out of the hands of those who would abuse it?

The second amendment to the Constitution grants the right for all US citizens to possess a gun. I don't fully agree with that. Should convicted murderers be allowed to buy guns? What about people with extreme mental problems? I personally don't think that people have the automatic right to own a gun just because they're a citizen. I think people should have to earn the right to own a gun.

It would be nice to have several stipulations on who can buy a gun. Here in Michigan you have to complete a small test on gun safety before you can buy a pistol, but there is no test for shotguns. Why not? They are both potentially dangerous weapons. We could also increase the punishment for people who are intoxicated while in possession of a firearm, as a drunk person with a gun is a very scary prospect.

Thanks to the National Instant Check System that was added by the Brady Law, convicted felons can no longer buy rifles from standard gun dealers, which is a good start. There is still a problem with people who would use the gun as a means of violence who do not have a felony charge. The current checks of convicted felons are great start, but if you could stop a person before they committed the crime you would have a much better system. But how do you do that? Well, it would be nice if people with misdemeanors involving violence had to complete special courses, perhaps on anger management, before getting gun. That way we wouldn't be handing out guns to people who are obviously violent.

Eliminating guns would be a huge mistake and create nothing but problems. We need to focus on the criminals who are committing crimes, not on how they commit crimes. We could make better rehabilitation centers for criminals, for example. Consider this, you take a criminal and stick him in prison for five years. When his time is up the prison releases him, gives him a small amount of money, and tosses him back on the street. The person doesn't have a job and because of their criminal record, they will have no easy way to get a job. In order to live, they turn to the only lifestyle they know, crime. If we tried a little harder to try and make these people walk the straight and narrow I'm sure we'd see a lot less crime.

Don't get me wrong, I do not feel that all people are inherently good, I know some people cannot be helped. Just like everyone, I want criminals to be punished severely for their crimes. However, our current system of punishment is flawed. We need to stop worrying about gun control, and start worrying about crime control.

Perspectives