Recently, the Old Gold and Black published an article on “common sense gun reforms.” Our Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights, which, is the backbone of our nation. Thanks to the Second Amendment we all have the right to bear arms and this article is in defense of that right against the OGB.
Overall, the article relies on charged language and appeals to the readers’ emotions in order to argue for gun control; there are not many facts and statistics to back up the author’s claims.
An argument the author tries to make in favor of gun control is that more guns correlate with an increase in violent crime, specifically firearm homicide. The author writes, “while the U.S. is only home to less than five percent of the world’s population, Americans own 35-50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms,” and because of this “vast proliferation” of firearms, the homicide rate in the United States is much higher than those of other first-world countries.
The author is correct that Americans own more guns than any other country in the world (88 per 100 people). She is also correct that the U.S. has the highest firearm homicide rate among industrialized countries (2.97 per 100,000 people). However, the author fails to prove that a high gun ownership rate in the U.S. directly correlates with a high firearm homicide rate.
In fact, statistics show the opposite is true. According to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, private gun ownership in the United States increased from 185 million guns in 1993 to 357 million guns in 2013. However, during this period, violent crime rates did not increase. The Brookings Institute reported that from 1991 to 2013, violent crime fell by 51 percent (79.8 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 population). More specifically, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the firearm homicide rate decreased by almost 50 percent between 1993 and 2013 (7.0 to 3.6 per 100,000 population).
These statistics, as well as statistics on international murder rates, led a study in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy to conclude that more legal gun ownership equates to less violent crime. For example, the study found that “Denmark has roughly half the gun ownership rate of Norway, but a 50% higher murder rate.”
Another good example of low gun ownership resulting in high rates of violent crime is the United Kingdom. In 1997, the Labor Party banned handguns. Today there are about 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 population in the UK compared to 466 per 100,000 population in the United States.
In contrast to the UK, the town of Kennesaw, located in Georgia, has a city ordinance that requires all heads of households to keep a firearm in their home. After the law’s passage in 1982, the town’s crime rate dropped 89 percent. Today, Kennesaw has a violent crime rate 85 percent lower than the national average.
The author also claims “many of the deadliest mass shootings in American history simply would not have been possible had their perpetrators been unable to obtain [firearms].” However, even if firearms were banned, these individuals would still find a way to obtain guns. Furthermore, with the exception of one incident, every single public mass shooting in the United States since 1950 has occurred in a gun-free zone. These mass shooters target these areas knowing the people are defenseless.
The right to bear arms as the Second Amendment was no accident. The right to bear arms is the Second Amendment because the Founding Fathers intended it to be the second most important right in the Constitution. As Americans, we have a duty to preserve the words of our Founders. We must not allow the government to infringe upon our Constitutional rights.