Reducing Gun Violence. Essay

2063 words - 8 pages

"There are presently in excess of two hundred million guns in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms" (Gottfried 13). Each year this number grows by four to five million. There are sixty to sixty-five million legal owners of one or more guns, and half of these legal owners have their guns kept at home (Gottfried 13). Most people keep guns for protection. Others keep guns for hunting, target shooting, collecting, and similar pursuits.In recant years nearly 35,000 people have been killed annually by guns in the United States (Gottfried 13). These deaths have included 15,000 murders, 18,000 suicides, and 1,500 accidents.Young people, children, and young adults are members of families that own guns. Young people are victims of guns. Obviously, the question of just what restrictions, if any, should be placed on these firearms is as much a matter of concern to them as to their elders. Still, it is to their elders, the leaders among them at least, that they must look for guidance if not perhaps for answers.Gun violence claims over 40,000 American lives a year. Among all consumer products, only motor vehicles outpace guns as a cause of fatal injury, and guns will pass them by 2003 (Violence Policy Center).Their are many different methods in reducing gun violence, such as federal gun control laws, increasing penalties for gun-related crimes, banning handguns, reducing gun violence on the television, and different types of gun safety practices.Today there are 20,000 different types of gun control laws in existence, (Bender 197) ranging from those enacted by municipalities and states, to those enacted by the federal government. Some individuals opposed to gun control point to this fact, and assert that gun control is a failure. Yes, the truth is that, for the most part, these laws are ineffective. The only way that these laws will work is if they are upheld and enforced by the police and the government. We need to start some where and not be so relaxed on the controversy over gun control. If firearms are used to murder over 12,000 people annually (Bender 197) then that is a problem, and problems like this should not be ignored but fixed.It is clear to most individuals that a problem exists. Recognizing the problem is the first step towards a solution. Finding the solution is not easy, nor is it achieved quickly, but this should not hinder gun control.There are several realistic gun control proposals, but while constructing these proposals, two goals must remain constant. First and most importantly, it is necessary to decrease as much as possible the victimization of individuals through the misuse of firearms. Second, it is important to structure a legislation in ways that accomplish the intended purpose while not being overly intrusive upon the individual. In essence, a utilitarian approach must be taken towards gun control. The benefits to society must be maximized, while the possible intrusions to individuals must be...

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