The Other End of the Barrel: The Side That Sees Correlation Between Gun Laws and Crime Rates
Sometimes it is not so easy to see the other side of an argument. In the case of correlation between strict gun policies and crime rates, there is another side that a light should be shown on. This side argues that if implemented correctly, tighter gun laws can reduce crimes rates, more specifically murder and suicide rates. In the article, “The Research is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives” the author, German Lopez, vouches for the side that believes in the positive effects of gun control. In the article Lopez makes the claim that more guns lead to more deaths. Lopez uses multiple graphs and illustrations to support his side. One of the illustrations he uses shows how there are 29.7 homicides by firearm per 1 million people in the U.S. This is substantially higher than the other countries listed in the chart. Switzerland comes in at second with 7.7 homicides per 1 million citizens. However Lopez only compares European nations to the U.S (with the exceptions of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia). These countries have far less people than the United States, and the citizens of each would most likely own firearms for different reasons. However, if you compare the violent gun deaths in the U.S to other countries as seen in “Gun Violence: How the U.S Compares to Other Countries” by Nurith Aizenman, the U.S’s violent gun deaths per 100,000 people is actually a fraction compared to Brazil, Colombia and other countries. The U.S.’s rate is 3.85 deaths per 100,000 people, this was substantially lower compared the Brazil’s 19.34 and Colombia’s 25.94. One might make the claim, “it is outrageous to compare the U.S to Colombia, a crime stricken country.” However, it is also ridiculous to compare the U.S’s gun caused homicide rates with Switzerland. Each country has a totally different population with different cultures and views. The events that go on in each country will be different, and cannot be compared on the same scale.
Lopez goes on to say that more gun laws will help decrease the U.S’s homicide rates by guns. One key factor, Lopez says, that attributes to the high rates of homicide, is the fact that Americans own the most guns. This heightened availability of firearms leads to a higher homicide rate. The US has the highest rate of gun ownership at 88.8 guns per 100 people. With more guns leaves more room for accidents along with a higher chance of crime. Since America has such an infatuation with firearms the rate of homicides carried out by a firearm should naturally go up. However, adding more gun laws to this mix will not be effective at solving this issue. The obsession Americans have with guns is not something that can be taken away by law. Gun ownership is something our founding fathers stood for, and this can be seen through the second amendment. Many Americans would rather die or be thrown in jail, rather then have their guns taken away. By implementing stricter policies, this will just anger the community who owns firearms. Most people will not listen to these rules. One might now say, “What about background checks to make sure the crazy people do not acquire weapons.” Well these crazy people can still buy guns on in the underground market. Until the government cracks down on the illegal buying and selling of firearms, many people who should not own guns, can buy them. Also, background checks will not decrease the amount of guns currently in the possession of U.S citizens. With more guns, more homicides might occur. This is an indisputable fact, however the way our nation should go about to solve this, is not through stricter gun policies.
In Brazil, researchers put much confidence in the positive results from gun control measures. New policies have been perceived as beneficial towards reducing the violence toll in Brazil. According to the article, “Reductions In Firearm-Related Mortality and Hospitalizations in Brazil After Gun Control,” firearm related mortality declined 8 percent from 2003 to 2004. More than a decade’s time had passed since an improvement like this had occurred. About 5,563 firearm related deaths had been avoided from these new legislations in 2004. The article advocates for these policies passed in the early 2000’s and provides evidence and data associated with the research. According to the article, Brazil has one of the highest homicide rates and about one person is murdered every twelve minutes. About 90% of all homicides that occur in the age group of 15-44 are carried out with a gun. The homicide numbers in Brazil double those of the United States. However, this shows that Brazil is in a different situation than the U.S. The crime rates cannot be compared between the two nations, therefor gun laws would have completely different outcomes in both places. There is a higher amount of overall crime in Brazil than there is in the U.S. In addition more murders are carried out with a firearm in Brazil. This signifies that they have a much larger gun problem than the U.S does. The results of these gun laws might have proved successful in Brazil, but the outcome of these policies in the U.S would most likely be totally different due to cultural and societal differences. Americans take pride and value in the 2nd amendment. This is why many of us own firearms. In Brazil many people need guns to protect themselves from violent people on the streets. The atmosphere in both countries can be polar opposites.
Aizenman, N. (2017, October 06). Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With Other Countries. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/06/555861898/gun-violence-how-the-u-s-compares-to-other-countries
De Fátima Marinho de Souza, M., Macinko, J., Pereira Alencar, A., Carvalho Malta, D., & Libânio de Morais Neto, O. (2007, March/April). Reductions In Firearm-Related Mortality And Hospitalizations In Brazil After Gun Control. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.26.2.575
Lopez, G. (2017, October 04). The research is clear: Gun control saves lives. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/4/16418754/gun-control-washington-post