Many Americans have a deep sentimental attachment to their firearms rooted in the struggle for independence and the experience of that comes with hunting and sport shooting as well as the avid collecting of guns and other firearm related memorabilia. In some places, sport shooting and hunting is directly connected with a lucrative tourism industry. The firearm industry has created numerous employment opportunities in the form of gun manufacturers, distributers, shooting range operators and instructors (Spitzer, 1995). However, over 30,000 Americans die every year from accidental or intentional firearm incidents and close to a hundred thousand more are treated for firearm related injuries in hospital (CDC, 2017). This paper will seek to prove that although guns cannot be completely eliminated from the American society as is the opinion of the anti-gun campaigners, the carrying and usage of guns can be regulated in a way that does not undercut their cultural significance but still reduces the level of violent crime and firearm accidents by enforcing laws and policies that instill a sense of responsibility in gun owners (Parker et al, 2017).
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Guns Can Be Regulated
The pro-gun control faction of the gun control debate argues that guns ownership should be licensed and this license be restricted to individual residences and rendered invalid in public spaces. Moreover, thorough background checks should be carried out on potential gun owners, guns in public places should be concealed and possession of illegal firearms should carry a higher sentence in prison and become a non-bailable offense (Blanco, 2015). On the other hand, the pro-gun ownership faction emphasized on stricter enforcement of gun control laws, gun education and responsible gun ownership. It is discernible from these suggestions that violent crime, suicide, firearm accidents and the homicides that result from firearm misuse have not pleased any of the two parties. However, there seems to be great disagreement on the kind of policies that can be implemented to pave way for a better future.
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It is the responsibility of the gun owner to ensure that he/she does not misuse a firearm and the responsibility of the law to ensure that the gun owner does not neglect this responsibility. Firearms cannot be completely banned from the American society, this would be a direct assault on the American culture of individuality and self-sufficiency. However, guns cannot be readily available and individuals cannot be free to purchase guns at any time, without any authorization and receive no sanctions for doing so. Effective laws need to be put in place that do not take away the right of Americans to bear arms and exercise their right to self-defense but still manage to instill a sense of responsibility on gun ownership. According to existing research, child access prevention laws can reduce self-inflicted injuries and firearm related fatalities among children and there is moderate evidence that storage laws can reduce the number of firearm related suicide among the youth. Moreover, there is moderate evidence that background checks and prohibiting individuals who have pre-existing mental illnesses from owning guns could reduce the level of violent crime (RAND, 2018). From the evidence provided by these statistics a sense of responsibility in gun ownership instilled by the presence of sound laws and policies can help reduce the number of suicides and the number of gun related violent crime.
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From the discussion presented above, it can be concluded that in the absence of the political underpinnings that have characterized the gun control debate, sound reasoning can be employed and a compromise can be arrived at. Members of the pro-gun faction can retain their cultural attachment to their firearms as long as they do this responsibly and attain proper registration and licensing (which should not be restricted). While the presence of laws that ensure that the gun owners bear arms responsibly may restore calm in the hearts of members of the gun-free society.
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