The issue of gun regulation in the US is hardly as black or white as the extremes of the political spectrum would have us believe. There are broad swaths of gray in the gun control debate. Some people take a stand on ethical or ideological grounds; others (generally in the firearms industry) on grounds of profit. Most elected officials are in it to pander for the political points, and they majority of their supporters seem quite happy to decide now and get informed later. But what are some pro gun control arguments people are using?
This list of arguments is half of a two-parter debating both sides of the gun control issue, and focuses on the arguments for gun control. Or, more pointedly, the more rational reasons why people are for gun control laws being stricter, or even resulting in outright bans.Fact is, at the end of the day, most of us just want our homes and our nation to be safer places. But to do that both sides have to see where the other is coming from. Reality isn't won by consensus - but effective policy change is. And consensus starts with understanding. When you're done here, check out the list of arguments made by the other side, then decide for yourself on which ground you chose to stand.
Current Gun Laws Are Not Enforced
Much of the current focus of gun control advocates, like universal background checks, registration and tracking, and closing the gun show loophole are more about enforcing current gun ownership laws than changing them. For example, there is a robust national background check system, but it hasn't been properly funded in years. That's an important distinction to make, and one often overlooked in this discussion.
The US Has More Guns Than People
As of 2015, the US officially had more guns in circulation than it had people living in it. When you have more guns than people in a country, you have more opportunities for simple human error. This can mean accidentally leaving a gun where a child or teen can get to it, selling to the wrong person, or allowing a weapon to be stolen. People make mistakes - and at the moment, there are about 350 million mistakes out there waiting to be made.
Mental Health Screenings Are Rare
Despite the explosion of mass shootings by people with severe mental illnesses, there are still few effective ways to screen these people out from owning firearms. Only California and New Jersey make prospective gun owners go through any kind of screening for mental health issues, and these checks are cursory. Many other states allow anyone to walk into a store and either buy a gun for themselves, or for someone else, with no guarantee that the buyer is mentally stable.
Fewer People Own More Guns
Over the last few decades, the sheer number of guns has gone up several times over, while the per capita gun ownership figures are going down. At this point, the average gun owner owns a staggering eight firearms - with many gun owners proudly bragging about having hundreds. The more guns one person owns, the more likely it is that one will be misplaced or stolen and used in a crime.