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The Debate over Gun Control

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The Debate over Gun Control

Guns and crime seem to go hand in hand with one another in today's society. Yes it is true that guns are powerful and deadly weapons and with guns the nation's crime rate has changed dramatically. But should crime and guns really be associated together? Are guns really the main reason why there is so much crime today? Will enforcing tighter firearm laws really the solution to a problem that has existed for many years? These are all some of the questions that not only lawmakers face but citizens as well.

A question people often ask is why gun control is such a huge debate? To answer this question it is very important that we look at some of the statistics concerning firearms. During the 1990s in the United States, about 32,000 people died from gun violence and nearly 67,000 were wounded by gun related incidents. From this statement alone, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why gun control is such an important issue. However, as bad as this may seem, the number of firearm related incidents has decreased by fifteen percent over the years.

One of the main topics about gun control is whether or not people can use the self-defense argument. The most recent highly publicized self-defense case is that of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. The state of Florida has a Stand Your Ground law that states "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."(Hussein & Webber) But honestly who is to say whether or not a gun is a good means to self-defense? At Florida State University, criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz researched data from the Department of Justice. They stated that "people who are against guns say you don't need a gun to help save your life. You can just try and escape, reason with the offender, or use physical resistance (other than a handgun), and that will work. That is not true. By doing all of those things, there is actually a larger chance of injury and the crime being completed." (Gertz & Kleck) According to Kleck's and Gertz's study, "only thirty-three percent of the surviving robbery victims were hurt, about twenty-five percent did not resist, and seventeen percent who used a handgun, were injured. The same comes with assault victims. Of the thirty percent that survived with injury, twenty-seven percent gave to resistance, and only twelve percent that resisted with a handgun were injured." (Gertz & Kleck) The major point that Gertz and Kleck show is that people were less likely to be injured when they defended themselves with a handgun, as opposed to those who gave no resistance at all.

The political approach on gun control deals with the issue of laws and political organizations that surround the debate. The government is where the critical laws



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