A problem that has developed recently in our society is the debate over gun control. Many questions arise concerning who should be able to own guns, and how those particular guns are obtained. One major debate is over our Constitutional right to own guns. I want to know when the government should draw the line. Statistics are not the only way a point can be proven about the harmful effects that guns have on our society. Stories from parents who have lost children, or children left fatherless or motherless due to gun violence hit home harder than graphs on paper.
How exactly do guns effect society? What is it that makes Americans so fascinated with guns? Erik Larson believes that the homicide fantasy is the engine that drives American’s fascination with guns (Larson 163). People by the thousands flock to shooting ranges year round in order to shoot at, what else, human silhouettes. Many shooting competitions are held in which the targets are humans that pop up out of nowhere. Let’s not forget video games. Children are more or less brainwashed into liking violence by use of guns. At the age that children are generally introduced to video games, their young minds still have not yet grasped the difference between reality and fiction. Guns have been an American pastime for generations. Old TV programs always show the heroes and bad guys in glorious gun fights. Many people collect guns, or use them for hunting. By far the largest category of gun owners is those who use guns for sport (Leddy 229). Police and military men use them for protection. Others, use them to kill maliciously. Research shows that over half of the households in America contain some sort of firearm. One-fourth of that number own a handgun as opposed to a hunting rifle or shotgun (Wright 311).
What is the first thing that comes to an American’s mind when we hear the word robbery? Most likely, a gun. Guns have turned out to be the epitome of violence in our society. Whenever people are robbed, or murdered, chances are that these events occurred with the use of a gun. This brings up the topic of how people with such destructive means obtain these deadly weapons. Just about any US citizen can go buy a gun. Easy aquisition of firearms leads to a higher rate of guns used in crimes (MacGillis 160). The Brady Bill is one step to limiting the easy access to buying guns. This bill requires a seven day waiting period for potential gun buyers to take their new weapon home. The real problem lies not in the stores that sell shotguns, rifles, handguns, and semi-automatic weapons, the problem lies in the black market. Guns, mostly stolen, are sold and reused on the streets. Police have much difficulty tracing the origin of most guns used in crime due to the fact that the guns have traveled from person to person over an extended period of time. Guns do however, put a psychological spin on crime in some homes. With the current knowledge at hand, criminals are aware that many American homes contain firearms. This knowledge creates a deterrent to most criminals who seek to break into a residence (313).
How does American society compare to those societies in which guns are illegal? Take England for example. Guns, mainly shotguns and rifles, are bought and sold in Great Britain primarily for hunting purposes. Other than that, handguns are hard to find in the United Kingdom. Very few police carry guns, though it is believed by most that no English police officers carry guns. The crime statistics of England in relation to the population is significantly lower than that of the United States’. Granted, crime still occurs, and a few brave criminals choose to use guns in their crimes in England. But the level of the fear of being shot or involved in some sort of gun related crime is higher in the United States than is in Great Britain.
The subject of guns in America and gun control laws is a very controversial one. We as a society must take into effect that guns for the most part are more harmful