Do stricter gun control laws make us safer?


Fact Box

  • The Second Amendment of the US Constitution firmly ensures “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
  • America has 120.5 guns per 100 people, which amounts to about 393,347,000 guns—the highest per capita worldwide.
  • 2019 Gallup polling reports 32% of US adults “own a gun,” while “44% report living in a gun household.” Earlier, a 2013 Pew Foundation report found that nearly 80% of both male and female gun owners reported that owning a firearm made them feel safer. Likewise, 64% of members living in a gun-owning household felt safer.
  • A 2019 Quinnipiac Poll shows 32% of Republicans, 59% of independents, and 91% of Democrats are in favor of stricter gun laws in America. 2017 Pew Research shows a general partisan divide for gun ownership amongst Republicans (44% are gun owners) and Democrats (20% are gun owners). 
  • 7 of the 50 states always require gun permits in order to obtain and carry a firearm: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin.

Stephanie (No)

Criminals, by definition, do not follow laws. Law-abiding citizens do. Regulations or laws relegated to firearms and other self-defense items only put innocent people in danger by unarming them while allowing all others access.

Gun laws not only infringe upon the Second Amendment but are a threat to other Constitutional rights, as well. Extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws, allow authorities to seize an individual's firearms, bypassing Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, which guarantee due process. Arguably, the First Amendment is also under threat thanks to consistent Democratic attack on many Americans' passion for this right.

Tragedies such as in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Parkland, Florida, give gun-grabbers additional narrative to preach their anti-firearm agenda. This puts the public at risk from anti-gun laws when the average civilian is not legally permitted to own or carry a firearm, which could prove more effective at saving lives than a designated 'gun-free zone.'

This is especially true in democratically run places with strict gun laws and 'may issue' stipulations where the average civilian must 'demonstrate a justifiable need for a permit to be issued.' Additional hurdles make it harder to take advantage of this Constitutional right, rendering vulnerable populations such as women and the elderly, who are especially at risk.

Frighteningly, the politicians who generally endorse gun control laws clearly know little on the subject, as seen from talks on banning 'semi-automatics' and phrases such as 'assault rifles.' The Founders ultimately saw the 'right of the people to keep and bear arms' as a way an 'armed citizenry [would be a] hedge against tyranny.' It's paramount Americans continue to cling to this right, for freedom's sake. 

Sheryll (Yes)

If you live in the United States, you're 22 times more likely to die from gun violence than from dying in a car crash. And though many blame gun violence on the influence of video games or mental illness, most experts agree today that a better indicator of armed violence is a person's ability to access firearms. 

Individuals who have access to guns are over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun compared to those without access. Studies also suggest the reduced availability of firearms is highly correlated to a lower suicide rate. It is also important to note after Congress allowed the 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun deaths in the U.S. had skyrocketed. By contrast, when this 1994 ban had first come into effect, gun deaths in the U.S. went down by 43%

An example could also be made of the United Kingdom, home to some of the strictest gun laws in the world, where the gun homicide rate in 2017 was only at 0.06 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people. Despite some arguing the U.K.'s strict gun laws have resulted in increased knife crime, statistics show the U.S. still has more knife murders per capita than the U.K. does. This provides further evidence stricter gun control is indeed effective at keeping people safe. If our priority is to protect the wellbeing of all people, it is clear then that enforcing stricter firearm laws is the way forward.

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