In considering whether gun control is an effective method of deterring crime, the most important aspect to examine is what has worked historically, and what has not. In past instances, whenever governments have prohibited a population from engaging in a particular activity, it has almost always backfired and resulted in higher rates of the unwanted occurrence. This concept does not only apply to the issue of gun control, but can be applied to a wide range of political discussions, proving it as a practical logic. If the U.S government wants to minimize crimes related to firearms, it should not act authoritarian on the matter. Rather, efforts should focus should on implementing more comprehensive training and psychological screenings, while always abiding to the constitution in allowing citizens the right to bear arms. Therefore, while gun control is an effective method of deterring crime, this is only true to the extent that legislation does not infringe on constitutional rights.
When analyzing what has worked regarding gun control laws, it is integral to recognize that proper regulation can exist without taking an imperious anti-gun approach. Take the state of New York as an example. New York currently has some of the lowest firearm related deaths in the nation, it also has what are considered to many as ‘strict’ gun laws, yet an individual with residency in the state can legally purchase a semi-automatic rifle without a license. This is possible with extremely thorough background checks and enforcement of authoritative laws, designed to respond to the current needs of the people. Another example is the relationship between Massachusetts and California. Massachusetts is a state that enforces some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
Still, California, enforces the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Therefore, if stricter laws equals less gun related crime, why does California have more deaths by firearms than Massachusetts? This statistic may even suggest that there are underlying issues at the root of gun crime, completely irrelevant to gun laws. Finally, another great example of what has previously worked, is the country of Norway. While Norway has stricter gun laws than what would be considered acceptable for most Americans, there is still something to learn from their system. Accountability is a critical element in establishing a safe system, currently the U.S has more guns then people, this makes accountability nearly impossible.
Norway on the other hand, has one third the amount of guns per people. Norway is just one example of countries who has about this rate of guns per people, and this simple thing makes accountability for firearms feasible. Clearly, the right to bear arms has not been encroached, and hitherto, this has had positive implications. This type of proper regulation, while still allowing for common gun ownership is a potential model of success for taking steps towards deterring gun related crimes nationwide.
The second reason overly strict gun laws is not an optimal approach, is the fact that humans have never responded kindly to being told what they cannot do. Take prohibition era for example. When alcohol became illegal, it suddenly became more potent, as moonshine became popular. Also, gangs such as the Italian mob became more organized in order to cater to those who still wanted to drink. Another example of this phenomenon is found in marijuana. Since marijuana became illegal in the 1930’s, it has gradually become more and more potent. THC levels in the plant have risen to an almost unnatural 30 percent as growers discover new ways to perfect the art of nurturing strains. This is how we have historically reacted to prohibition of other rights, why would we respond any differently to the prohibition of firearms? The country of Portugal made all drugs legal in 2001 in response to a substance misuse crisis that was occurring, and since then has seen a complete reversal in attitudes about addiction and rates of overdose. This is a reflection of what is possible if government provides freedom to citizens in regards to the choices they make. Doing so establishes a level of trust between the government and civilian sectors which ultimately leads to better results. Although this is an extreme example when considered in terms of firearms, the same concept of freedom applies. To an extent of course, as accountability must always remain a factor.
Finally, when considering what gun laws should be used nationally, it is crucial to remember the parameters provided to us by the U.S constitution. With events like Sandy Hook and the Orlando club shooting becoming more and more common, gun safety is a growing concern in the United States. It can be easy to become partial about whether or not firearms are necessary for self defense. It has become the ‘easier way out’ to think we can simply ban guns. This is simply not realistic, and attempting to do so will have more negative ramifications than it could possibly do good. It is important to note the potential drawbacks to inadequately moderating gun laws. In order to ensure that the second amendment remains protected, while still keeping the safety and security of Americans in mind, the process to obtain a firearm must be foolproof. This includes comprehensive background checks, like those used in New York. As well as psychological screenings and in depth training followed up by yearly assessments. These precautions may be financially costly, but for the best interest of the safety of our country, it is the only way gun control can be effective while still allowing for common ownership.
In basic summary, gun control is an extremely effective way to deter crime if it is done right. People simply don’t like being told what to do, therefore, taking an authoritarian approach to gun control is far from optimal. However, accountability, thorough screenings and comprehensive training are necessary components to a functioning society where the right to bear arms is still respected.