The Gun Control Debate

A protestor's sign at a protest against guns. Editorial credit: Rena Schild /

Misuse of a gun can bring about destruction and result in death. To avoid such incidences, the handling and use of guns needs to be controlled. Any gun holder outside the armed forces needs to be licensed and well trained on the usage and the dangers of mishandling the gun. The debate on the control of the gun emanates from the fact that guns have been used to cause violence and death either from an attacker or through suicide. In the past, we have witnessed trigger-happy gunmen opening fire even when unprovoked to innocent people in a church, mosque or at a party. To conclude this debate, it is paramount that credible data be obtained on the correlation between gun holding and peace in a country.

Terms And Conditions For Obtaining A Gun

For a person to be issued with a gun in the US and other countries, one must have attained the age of majority. The age limit differs by country with some being 18 years and others 21 years. Such a person should also be of sound mind and not seen as a threat to the community. A criminal record leads to the authorities declining to give the gun. Before the gun is issued, proper training on usage, maintenance, and safety is a must. In America, these are contained in the US National Firearms laws of 1934. Also, if one wants to stock and sell guns, he should obtain a Federal firearms sales license. Such a license costs $200.

The Gun Control Debate

The people arguing that the state should issue guns say that all citizens should be issued with a gun as long as one is not causing harm to others and self. The opponents state that a gun may pose a threat to freedom and liberty of others and compel one to acquire a behavior which may threaten the freedom other citizens. The people around may feel intimidated, especially where the holder keeps on brandishing the gun. Freedom of expression may come to an end once one party “holds the barrel”.

Those advocating for guns for all citizens argue that by having the weapon, one can defend himself. The opponents state that holding guns can lead to individualism. After all the government has the overall responsibility of protecting the citizens. If by having a gun you become a criminal, then only a criminal will have the gun. The good citizens will, therefore, be discriminated. Nevertheless, even when guns are issued on the innocent people, elements of the crime can crop up in self-defense, in anger or crime driven by poverty, jealousy or distress.

Statistics have indicated that where there are more adults with guns, the incidents of suicides, crimes and homicides are higher than where there are fewer guns among the population. Another argument is that the law enforcing agencies will benefit more when more people are holding guns thereby improving private community policing. The truth on the ground is that a policeman is more likely to be shot at by the civilian with a gun more so if the holder feels threatened by the presence of the police officer.


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