Gun quite rare relative to number of crimes







Gun ownership
should be banned

Average citizens
should not be allowed to own guns.

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Mohammed H. Butt

Middle East
Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus

Gun ownership should be banned

Mass shooting is
defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “a multiple homicide incident
in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms, within one event, and
in one or more locations in close proximity.” (as cited in Krouse &
Richardson, 2015, “Summary” para. 2). In the summer of 2012, during the screening
of the “The Dark Knight Rises” in the state of Colorado, United States, a man with
his hair dyed red entered the cinema wearing tactical gear and equipped with
firearms. He first threw a canister and then began open firing, killing at
least 12 people and leaving 58 injured, including a four months old child (Pearson,
2012). Surely, a man so devious could only acquire his ammunition through
illegal means. However, according to police, the perpetrator, who was later
identified to be James E. Holmes had in fact, bought his four guns including an
AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun, along with 6000 rounds of ammunitions legally
(as cited in Jacobo, 2017). Mass shootings, such as this one, and other gun
related deaths have higher rates of occurrence in countries which have more
guns per capita, sharing a strong correlation with each other, especially for
the developed countries (Bangalore & Messerli, 2013). I therefore strongly
believe the government should completely ban the right to own a gun since a higher
number of gun owning population leads to higher rate of lethal violence and
mass shootings per year and because possession of a gun can pose a risk to the
owner and those around him due to accidental shooting or misuse.

Many gun owners
(around two-thirds of gun owning Americans), argue that owning a gun helps them
defend themselves and their property during an attack (Igielnik & Brown, 2017).
The problem with that concept however, is that in most cases, the use of guns
for self-defense is quite rare relative to number of crimes carried out, as researched
by Hemenway and Solnick (2015). According to this research, which was carried
out over five years, it was found that the usage of guns to protect one’s self
during a crime incident happened quite rarely (less than one percent of total
cases). Furthermore, there were in essence zero cases in which a victim used­
guns as an act of self-defense during cases of sexual assaults. Thus, ow­ning a
gun doesn’t seem to help the victims. A second reason brought by certain gun
enthusiasts such as Sarah Palin, an ex-candidate for vice presidency of the
United Sates (Molloy, 2012) is that “the bad guys, the criminals, don’t follow
laws and restricting more of America’s freedoms when it comes to self-defense
isn’t the answer. Not when you consider what the reality is. Bad guys don’t
follow laws.” she says (Molloy, 2012, para. 4). The entire point of banning
guns, in my opinion, is to make it harder for criminals to acquire them, in
efforts of discouraging its possession. Criminals don’t follow laws because it
is what makes them criminals in the first place. Revoking some prime laws of
protection for environment and society simply because a “criminal would not
follow them” seems rather unintuitive. Hence, such logic should be deemed to be
invalid and so citizens must be banned from owning a gun.

A prime reason why
governments should ban gun ownership is because a higher gun owning population
may lead to a higher rate of crime rate and mass shootings per year. United
States and Yemen, the two countries with the most mass shootings per capita, also
happen to have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with the United
States having an approximate of 89 guns for every 100 people (as cited in
Palin, 2017) and a rate of having around one mass shooting every day with a major
one happening every couple of months (as cited in Kirk & Scott, 2017).
Australia, on the other hand, seems to have solved its mass shooting problem. In
1996, a mass shooting in Australia resulted in 35 being killed and 23 injured. This
resorted the government to introduce a buyback program, in which the guns owned
by citizens were to be bought back by the government. Around 600,000 long guns
were collected and then destroyed, thereby reducing the number of guns in the
country by half. The result? Not a single mass shooting has occurred in the
last 21 years since the incident (Oremus, 2017). There is also some research
done about higher rate of crimes due to increased presence of guns in the
counties of United States. According to a study conducted in 2003, it was found
out that higher rates of burglary in households take place in U.S counties with
higher rates of gun ownership. This increase of risk is due to the fact
burglars are not only attracted to jewelry or money, but now the guns they wish
to steal as well (as cited in Hemenway, 2015). Another research done by Moore
and Bergner (2016) concluded that increase in firearm popularity resulted in
increase of violent crime including rape, robbery, homicide and assault in that
area. Therefore, guns should be banned from being owned by citizens because
they increase the risk of violence in that community.

Another prime
reason why keeping guns should be unlawful is because possession of a gun can
pose a threat to the owner and those around him due to accidental discharge or
misuse. A study conducted by the researchers of School of Public Health stated
that areas with higher number of gun ownerships also have a higher number of
suicides. Out of all suicide cases they researched on, around 71 percent of
males carried out the act using a gun while for females it was 49 percent (as
cited in Chedekel, 2016). This could make sense because around 71 percent of
suicides occurred in less than an hour of having thoughts on (Johnston, 2017). A
gun then, is more lethal than any other means and more accessible to a gun
owner who is about to commit suicide (Soffen, 2016). In addition to this,
countries with citizens’ accessibility to buy guns suffer from more
unintentional shootings, especially among children. In the United States alone,
unintentional firearm deaths among children (0 to 14 years old) account for
around 110 per year, making it the highest number of death rates compared to
other developed countries according to studies carried out (as cited in Lopez,
2016). However, adults too have suffered the consequences. A study in 2001 shared
that disregarding the age factor, states in US with higher number of gun
ownerships have around nine times more death rate due to accidental shooting
injuries than others (Miller, Azrael, & Hemenway, 2001). The government,
should therefore not allow people to buy guns in the first place since they are
susceptible to cause harm to the owner or the people in his vicinity.

In conclusion, the
greater the presence of guns in a community, owned by citizens who might or not
be mentally stable, the greater the potential of occurrence of various unfortunate
consequences to the society, such as increase in crime rate and mass shootings,
as well as harm to one’s self or closed ones, be it an increase of rates of
suicide, or the rate of unintentional shootings, especially in the case of
children. It is important to think how normal it would have felt at the time to
sell firearms to an average citizen such as James E. Holmes, who was reportedly
the smartest person in his field of study and who only had a traffic misconduct
recorded as an offence prior to the bloodbath he caused on the night of the
screening (Castillo & Carter, 2012). The death of so many innocent lives
could have been avoided had the government never had issued for a citizen’s
right to buy a gun in the first place. In general, guns are the most common
weapon used to take a life (as cited in Keating, 2015) and to give such
tremendous power to any one not in the law enforcement should just be
considered unethical. If you, the reader owns a gun or resides in a country
where gun ownership is considered a common thing, it is essential to realize that
guns have the affinity to do more harm than good. Perhaps think of the people
who die everyday due to gun abuse and take the initiative to take the first
step towards decreasing the number of guns in your country by convincing
yourself or your relatives to give up their dependency on guns for their
protection and instead, focus on the strengthening of the community’s law
enforcement to get more efficient to save more people.



Bangalore, S., & Messerli, F. H. (2013). Gun ownership and firearm-related
deaths. The American Journal of Medicine,
126 (10), 873-876.

Chedekel, L. (2016, May 19). Firearm ownership closely tied to suicide
rates. Retrieved from

Castillo, M., & Carter, C. J. (2012, July 22). Background of Colorado
shooting suspect full of contrasts. Retrieved from

Johnston, I. (2017, August 17). Suicide rates boosted by easy access to
guns, researchers say. Retrieved from

Hemenway, D. (2015, August 4). Does owning a gun make you safer? Retrieved

Hemenway, D., & Solnick, S. J. (2015, October). The epidemiology of
self-defense gun use: Evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys
2007–2011. Preventive Medicine, 79,

Igielnik, R., & Brown, A. (2017, June 22). Key takeaways on Americans’
views of guns and gun ownership. Retrieved from

Key takeaways on Americans’ views of guns and gun ownership

Jacobo, J. (2017, July 20). A look back at the Aurora, Colorado, movie
theater shooting 5 years later. Retrieved from

Keating, D. (2015, May 7). The weapons men and women most often use to
kill. Retrieved from

Kirk, A. & Scott, P. (2017, November 6). One mass shooting every day:
Seven facts about gun violence in America. Retrieved from

Krouse, W. J., & Richardson, D. J. (2015, July 30). Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and
Victims, 1999-2013 (Report No. R44126). Retrieved from

Lopez, G. (2016, May 2).
Toddlers have shot at least 23 people so far in the US this year. Retrieved

Miller, M., Azrael, D., &
Hemenway, D. (2001, July). Firearm availability and unintentional firearm
deaths. Accident Analysis &
Prevention, 33 (4), 477-484

Molloy, T. (2012, July 25).
Sarah Palin Speaks on Colorado Shootings. Retrieved from

Sarah Palin Speaks on Colorado Shootings

Moore, M. D., & Bergner,
C. M. (2016). The Relationship between Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime. Justice Policy Journal, 13 (1), 16.

Oremus, W. (2017, Oct 3). Did
Gun Control Stop Mass Shootings in Australia? The Latest Research Says
Yes—Probably. Retrieved from

Palin, M. (2017, November 9).
The only country with more mass shootings per capita than the US. Retrieved

Pearson, M. (2012, July 20).
Gunman turns ‘Batman’ screening into real-life ‘horror film’. Retrieved from

Soffen. K. (2016, Jul 13). To
reduce suicides, look at guns. Retrieved from




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