AICE Global Perspectives
10 February 2018
Would implementing stricter gun control laws directly link to a decrease in deaths?
For decades, gun sales have been increasing and so have murder, manslaughter, property invasions, suicides and mass shooting rates. Not only is this going on in America but in other foreign countries as well. Could this be a direct link? Perhaps. In Las Vegas on Sunday October 1st, 60 people were killed and 500 were injured by one man. A group of college students investigated state gun ownership, which includes percent of households, with gun deaths per 100,000 residents. There was a positive relationship linking gun ownership to higher gun death rates. Nevertheless, in Britain, after the gun ban of all weapons, except the .22 caliber, was implemented, there was proven to be no decrease in homicide rates but there was an increase. There is a conceivable relationship between deaths and gun control. research will show whether deaths rise due to the lack of gun control or a further examined reason.
Statistics on politifact.com prove that 1 in 5 young men, aged 15 to 34, are killed in homicides. These men most commonly die due to gang loyalties or another street violence. A group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women, give or take, murdered per year. This is proven to be the result of domestic violence. An abundance more of people were killed in these acts of violence than in mass-shooting incidents. Seven children or teens, age 19 and below, are killed with guns every day in the United States of America. Rates of gun injury deaths increase rapidly after age 12 and unintentional shootings of those children and teen are likely to not be reported and put into the CDC data. On another note, you can take away all firearms, but guns deaths will never diminish completely. If criminals, abusers, or simple citizens want to obtain a gun, they will go through whatever measures it takes to get one even if it is illegal. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly half of prison inmates who committed murder, manslaughters, etc. got their weapon from a family member or a friend. You do not have to go to a Gun Shop to acquire a weapon and use it to harm others.
Looking at this chart of data from procon.org, you can see that since around 2006, deaths spiked. There is not an explanation as to why this has happened or why deaths are consistently increasing but the facts are there. Gun control in America has NOT been implemented significantly. Looking at this chart, you see that homicides are the lowest amount of deaths in 2015… but 22,018 people is still 22,018 too many. America says it’s a win when the number of deaths per year by firearms goes down. What they don’t realize is we could reduce that number drastically instead of just hoping that it goes down by implementing gun control. Simple things such as banning assault rifles from being available to the public directly reduces mass shootings. Another solution could be limiting the magazine amount available per purchase. Less bullets at a single time saves lives.
Look at this graph. According to politicalviolenceataglance.org, during this gun ban of limited magazines sold and the ban of semi-automatic weaponry, the average number of homicides was cut in half. Mass shootings were considered less lethal during this period of 8 years. With limited bullets and bullets not flying around so fast, due to the need to reload the weapon, mass shootings were decreased. During this time of ban, murder and manslaughter rates also declined. One theory of this is because those who are eager to kill another human being want to get the job done with fast. They want to take the easiest route with no complications.
In the united states, gun related murder is 25 times higher than any other country even though we have half the population rate, according to CBS News. A study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University found that implementing a “buy back” policy, 3,500 guns per 100,000 people strongly showed a 50 percent drop in firearm homicides. A 74 percent drop in gun suicides also was present within the study. The decrease in suicides was significant and speechless to everyone. Although 3,500 people out of 100,000 does not sound like a lot, it is because the rate of homicides was not initially high. That method is one of the ways to control guns from being available. Another method is background checks. Background checks are a structured way to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, mental diseases, etc. In America, background checks have hindered over 3 million sales to those with felony convictions, domestic abusers, fugitives, and many people prohibited by law from having guns. Currently, background checks are only required on gun sales at licensed dealers. This allows millions of guns to change hands each year with no questions asked. Therefore, rates are increasing. You can buy a gun at a gun show, off somebody in the street and even on the black market. Statistics state, “An estimated 22 percent of gun transfers take place without a background check… Yet states are closing this loophole. As of January 1, 2017, nineteen states and Washington, DC have passed laws to require background checks on all handgun sales.” Since this, there was a decrease in gun deaths.
In 2016 the rate of gun deaths rose to about 12 per 100,000 people. The CDC said that it was up from a rate of 11 for every 100,000 people in 2015, and it showed the second year that the mortality rate in that category rose in the United States. The report showed data that came after several years in which the rate was relatively flat. We are seeing increases in the firearm-related deaths after a long period where it has been stable. This is becoming concerning. The rates for the first quarter of this year showed an increasing trend while being compared with the same first quarter period of 2016.
Japan has been dodging gun deaths left and right and this is directly linked with its past. Following World War II, pacifism emerged as the most dominant philosophy in the country. Police only begun carrying weaponry after American troops made them. This took place in 1946 and it was for the sake of security. It’s also in Japanese law, since 1958, that no person shall possess a firearm(s) or sword(s). Their Government has loosened the law a little bit, but the fact Japan enacted gun control from the stance of prohibition is important. This is also one of the main factors of difference between Japan from the US, where in the US, the Second Amendment broadly permits people to own guns. If citizens in japan want to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and get a score of 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test. Then they must pass a mental-health evaluation. This takes place at a hospital. They will also have to pass a background check where the government digs into their criminal record and interviews friends, family, colleagues, and others. They can only buy shotguns and air rifles, no handguns, and every three years they must retake the class and initial exam.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes statistics on firearms and death rates. These statistics state in 2013, the 10 states with the highest firearm age-adjusted death rates were: Wyoming, Montana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. The 10 states with the lowest firearm age-adjusted death rates were: Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California and Iowa. Firearm deaths also include suicides, and there is quite a bit of them. In 2013, there were a total of 33,636 firearm deaths, and 63 percent of them were suicides. 33 percent are homicides. The rest were undetermined. The number of homicides that occurred in the first three states were so low that there were no deaths. Wyoming is different though because it has one of the highest firearm death rates but a homicide rate of zero. They also looked at rates for gun homicides in the 50 busiest and crowded metropolitan areas. For 2009-2010, the top gun murder rate areas were New Orleans, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, St. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Chicago. four of those have good working gun laws while six of them have poor ones. Chicago came in last in the top 10 and acquired a ban on hand guns at the same time. There’s no pattern among those cities, no clear convincing evidence, which means in these statistics, you can not come to a direct link that gun laws link rising gun deaths.
USA Today listed several reasons besides gun laws that these states might have high rates of gun deaths including that many of the states also have higher rates of poverty, lower educational availability and perhaps more areas that make getting to a hospital in time difficult. The report also showed that weaker to no gun laws were common among the states with higher gun death rates: None of the states with the highest amount gun violence require permits to purchase handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. At the same time, most states with the least gun violence require a permit or another form of identification to obtain a gun. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public came to a conclusion that a higher number of firearm laws in a state relate to a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state and for suicides and homicides individually. But the study said that it couldn’t determine cause-and-effect. Eric Fleegler, an emergency medicine physician at Boston says that in the states with the most laws there was a dramatic decreased rate in firearm deaths, though it is not for certain that these laws have led to fewer deaths.
After looking at both sides, statistics from various reliable sources strongly prove that gun control directly links to a decrease in gun deaths. From background checks to recalls, magazines to bans, every action taken has shown less loss of life. Tests, manufacturing, availability, age requirements and much more gives citizens a sense of being unafraid to leave the house, go to school, watch a movie, etc. Various countries have implemented these changes and each one, in the end, has improved gun deaths. Without these regulations, the government and the people need to understand that it is not safe. The world will never be safe, but we can work towards making it safer one step at a time. With every second of effort, one less death is a win and there are more wins to come. Gun control saves lives and is proven to work.