As mentioned in a previous post, my siblings’ house was broken into last semester while my sister was home alone. It was late at night, and a drunk guy thought their house was his, eventually breaking a window and attempting to break in. My sister was unarmed, except for some brass knuckles, and very scared. When it comes to home invasions, burglaries, and unexpected shootings, gun-right activists think having a gun can save the day. In fact, the 2nd amendment served the purpose to protect freedman from the Ku Klux Klan, the same way it serves the purpose today to protect women against sexual offenders. Among all gun crimes, 5 of every 6 people incarcerated as a result obtained their guns through theft or the black market. Due to the abundance of gun crimes that involve illegal weapons, I believe people should be allowed to own a gun, but it should not be as easy to obtain one.
On December 14th, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut was faced with a devastating tragedy. 26 people were murdered in an unexpected shooting at a local Elementary school. All of the weapons obtained by one of the shooters, Adam Lanza, were his mother’s. Since then, 4 states have created new laws requiring universal background checks, 3 others have expanded bans on assault weapons, and 4 states have expanded bans on ammunition clips with more than ten rounds. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns believe that “uneven regulation across states makes guns available to criminals in all states”. According to an interactive diagram from the Guardian, there is no dispute over whether the existence of uneven regulation is true.
Professor Gary Kleck from the department of criminology at FSU asked 5,000 people to participate in a study. 213 of these people confirmed that they used a gun against a criminal. Of the 213, 76% only used the gun for show, 16% actually fired at the intruder, and 8% shot just as a warning. The 213 people were generally successfully in protecting themselves and the only time they had injuries was when they were attacked before they were able to yield their weapon. A U.S. author named Wayne LaPierre believes, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In theory, guns can help defend a citizen against a criminal.
However those citizens obtain their weapons through the normal processes, by applying for a gun permit and buying the gun at a store. After searching for statistics on the black market, I came upon the website titled Black Arms Market. The website only requires a credit card number and an address in order for you to buy guns or ammunition. This is a big red flag. One man in Kentucky named Adam Bunger is in police custody after getting caught for selling guns through a website like this one. These kinds of websites have multiple encryptions to keep both the users and the site’s owner completely anonymous.
According to an expert on crime gun patterns, Jay Wachtel, who also works for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the most common way criminals obtain guns is not from stealing them, but from buying them from people who can legally get them. This is called a straw purchase, and it’s a little similar to how minors get their hands on alcohol, except the currency isn’t a U.S. dollar, it’s the bitcoin. This is a digital kind of currency that makes sure no one’s credit card number can be traced back to the owner. The second most common way criminals acquire guns is through legally licensed but corrupt gun dealers.
For exactly this reason, the Democrats, as well as myself, believe that Americans have the right to bear arms, under reasonable regulation. They also believe we should ban assault weapons (I mean why would anyone need an M16?) as well as enforcing gun regulation more effectively. In 1992, gun crime prosecution increased by 22% and since then, crime has decreased by 35%. As long as the felonious are able to acquire guns as easily and as anonymously as they can now, crime rates as well as devastating massacres will continue to augment. One website called Upworthy posted a video that warns the population against the absence of gun control by saying school uniforms in the future will require a bullet proof vest.
Recently after the Newtown shooting, over 100,000 people signed various petitions asking for more strict gun control, including one that supported the reinstatement for Bill Clinton’s ban on assault rifles that expired in 2004.
Therefore, I have to agree that stricter regulation is the answer, for now. It is impossible to predict the future role of weapons and how they will evolve. However, if we can decrease the amount of people who obtain guns illegally, we can decrease the amount of gun crime. If we improve the system for registration, we could avoid giving away guns to psychotics.