After the Sandy Brook school shooting left 20 children dead, the American government, media, and public demanded stricter gun laws. Some even demanded the United States banning types of guns and creating more gun-free zones across the country. Though I support stricter gun policies, especially ones focusing on individuals with mental illnesses, I do not believe banning guns and creating more gun-free zones will make the country safer.
Is the United States becoming more Violent?
Clean-up crew at the ruins of Bath Consolidated School. (Photo credit: Wikipedia
Due to the media’s ability to focus only on mass-shootings, many Americans believe the country is heading toward a violent future. Inreality, the most mass-killings in the country occurred in the year 1929. Due to the ban of the evil alcohol (sounds familiar) the mafia and other gangs became involved in illegally selling alcohol to the American citizens, resorting to violence during turf wars with other gangs. Though what occurred at Sandy Brook was horrible, the deadliest school-related massacre in America occurred in 1927 when school board member Andrew Kehoe, upset with a property tax, wired the school building with dynamite and set it on fire. After the school building blew up, he drove the scene of the crime in his car where he blew his car up, killing him and a few more adults. A total of 45 people, including 38 children, were killed. And when the town population contained only 300 residents, everyone knew someone that died. According to FSU criminologist Gary Kleck, there are 2 million defensive uses of firearms by law abiding citizens each year, though those stories do not make the news. Though the media has painted a picture of a violent future for the United States, the country saw its worst days when Al Capone called the shots.
How many people die each year from guns?
In 2010, 11,078 people were killed because of a firearm, 26,009 died from an unintentional fall, 33,041 died from positioning, and 33,687 died from a motor vehicle accident. Though guns play an important role in violence, Americans are more likely to die while driving in their car. According to the FBI, between 2007-2011, 8,967 people were murdered with knives or cutting instruments, 3,918 people were murdered with knives or shotguns, 2,918 murdered with blunt objects (bats and hammers), and 1,874 were murdered with rifles.Even if guns did not exist, thousands of people would still die every year from another weapon. Let’s not forget how the Aurora Movie Theater Shooter had a bomb set to explode if someone entered his apartment; that would of killed a lot more people if he had succeeded.
Do Strict Gun Laws work?
Western Europe has some of the strictest gun laws, yet three of the worst school shootings in the world took place in either Britain or Germany. In China, a country that bans guns, it is common for a school attack to take place each month; instead of guns, the killers use hammers, knives, and meat cleavers to kill school children. In Kennesaw, Georgia, the law requires that each household (with a few exception) own a firearm. In 2007, Family Circle named it one of the 10 best towns for families. The reason is probably because ever since the law passed in 1982 requiring everyone to own a gun, crime rate has decreased 50% and continues to decrease, having one of the lowest crime rates in the country. The residents believe it is because criminals know that everyone had a gun, thus it is best not to rob someone’s house. Strict gun laws do not guarantee safety since criminals do not obey the laws and will do harm, even in countries where guns are not allowed, the criminal still manages to kill. Meanwhile a town with a lax gun law boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
Do Gun-Free Zones work?
No guns (Leo Reynolds)
In 1999, John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago published a study that stated that mass shootings usually occur at places were firearms are banned, such as schools and malls. A shooter does not want to be shot before he finishes his goal of killing. When he goes into a gun-free zone, he knows that no one will be able to fire back at him. The Aurora movie theater killer, who killed 12 people, had 7 theaters to choose within 20 minutes of his house to commit his vicious crime. He did not choose the farthest theater or the closes theater, he chose the only one that banned concealed handguns. In the past, several shootings that occurred on gun-free zones were stopped when a civilian ran back to his car to get a gun out from the glove compartment and then confronted the shooter. Though some people are outraged that President Obama proposed more police officers in schools, the large number of mass shootings that require at gun-free zones show that gun-free zones do not work; to the shooter, he knows he has plenty of time to kill before the police arrive.
Though people have gone anti-gun crazy since the Sandy Brook shooting, the facts show that the United States is not becoming a more violent society. While the media and politicians call for stricter gun laws, stricter gun laws will not deplete all gun crimes since criminals do not follow the rules; meanwhile Kennesaw is one of the safest towns in the country due to its relax gun laws. Gun-free zones do not work since majority of mass-shootings have occurred in them since the shooters know no one will fire back at them. If the United States government wants to decrease the overall crime rate it should focus on decreasing poverty and assimilating immigrants since gun violence is more likely to occur to minorities and those in poverty. The country should also focus on researching mental illness and making health care more available because majority of mass-shooters were suffering from a mental illness. Also, the country should increase funding for education since countless studies have shown that an educated person is less likely to commit any type of crime. America needs to remember that the whole society needs to work together to address these issues in order to decrease violence in the country.