Guns necessary to deter violence


Harsh Singh

A student at RBHS has a sticker on his truck to support loosening gun control.
Photo by Maribeth Eiken

Two weeks ago, a gunman entered a mall in Maryland with explosives and a gun, killing two workers and killing himself as well.

One response to the shooting would be to blame guns. However, if the government prohibited guns, it wouldn’t mean there would be fewer murders.

Marijuana, for example, is illegal, but usage has not declined. Roughly 750,000 people are arrested for the possession of marijuana each year, according to the Drug Policy Organization.

There is obviously a difference between murder and the use of marijuana, but the comparison stands that banning something does not mean it will necessarily stop. The reasons behind shootings don’t lie in flexible gun policies; they lie in people using guns for the wrong reasons.

The nine European nations with the lowest rate of gun ownership have a combined murder rate that is three times greater than the nine European nations with the highest rate of gun ownership, according to the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Thus, stricter gun policies will not necessarily reduce murder rates.
In fact, countries with more gun owners have a lower number of shootings.
Crime rates in Mexico also suggest stricter gun laws will not decrease murder rates. The country is home to only one gun store, which is run by the army with strict laws to own a gun. However, more than 53,000 people have been murdered in Mexico in the last six years — most of them by a variety of pistols, rifles and assault weapons owned by Mexican drug cartels, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
Adding gun laws will not decrease the amount of shootings.
Statistics also prove that many families do not safely store their guns in homes — another reason why guns aren’t the problem behind shootings. More than a third of homes with children — that’s 22 million children ages 18 and under in more than 11 million homes — had at least one firearm, according to researchers in a RAND-UCLA study. But only 39 percent of these families kept their firearms locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, Adam Lanza, the culprit of the 2012 Newtown shooting, was able to get a gun only because his mother kept all of her guns in an unlocked closet. Keeping guns in a safe place is important — perhaps important enough to prevent shootings.
People are the ones to blame in shootings, not guns; in fact, guns can be used for self-defense. Guns could have been used for another level of self-defense in the Maryland mall shooting. Schools can use guns to their benefit also. The more guns the school administration carries, the harder it will be for any shooter to kill people. Studies done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show states with more gun owners have a smaller crime rate than states with fewer gun owners. Some may argue more guns will create a greater danger for shootings, but more guns could allow people to prevent perpetrators from shooting people.
It is true that shootings have increased over time, but stricter gun laws will not prevent shootings. The problem lies in who is able to buy guns and how the guns are kept in homes. Instead of laws that prohibit the use of guns, there need to be laws which mandate that homeowners keep their guns in locked closets. The government should also allow workers at places like schools and malls to have guns because this will make it harder for shooters to kill people. Examples in places like Mexico and Europe suggest that adding gun laws do not influence crime rates.
Guns save many lives, prevent crime and most importantly are used in real battlefields to protect our nation.
By Harsh Singh
What do you think of current gun laws?