Guns are one of those polarizing issues in American politics. There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding, which an analysis of the gun control debate will show. Both sides of the discussion are obviously very passionate about their respective stances, but there seems to be a failure to communicate somewhere down the line, or barring that a failure to listen.
First of all, it should be pointed out that violent crime of any sort is certainly not something to take lightly. On a good note, violent crime seems to be on a downward trend from the 1990’s, according to information from Pew Research Center. However the rate is still much higher than it was back in the 1960’s.
Still, high-profile shootings seem to be a regular occurrence these days, and when they happen, they push the gun control debate firmly back into the spotlight. The Sandy Hook shooting was perhaps the most infamous of these. The tragedy of events such as these cannot be overstated, but it is also very sad when said tragedies become tools for political agendas.
As far as statistics go, it is somewhat difficult to get accurate, up-to-date information about how guns are used in crimes. It is also difficult to determine what effect gun control has on crime reduction, if any. A 2007 Harvard study challenged the idea that countries with more access to guns necessarily have higher murder rates. Although this study is admittedly a little out of date, the basic premise probably still holds.
An analysis of the gun control debate shows strong rhetoric by those involved. One of the problems with the whole controversy is that so many arguments become emotional appeals. For example, in a statement after the Sandy Hook shootings, Diane Feinstein used highly emotionally charged language in order to attempt to make a case for legislation against “military style assault weapons.”
To be clear, school shootings and similar events are awful, deplorable actions that should never occur. However, the rhetoric of Feinstein and some other gun control advocates is a little misleading. It seems like “gun violence” is some special category that is especially heinous. However, murder is murder regardless of the implement that is used. It is not as if violence did not happen before gun powder was invented. President Obama has used similar language, again using the term “gun violence.”
It seems like there is an awful lot of focus on the implement used in crimes rather than the human will that is required to actually commit a crime. Perhaps society should be looking at the causes of violence, rather than the specific tools used to carry out violent acts. There is only so much the government can do in terms of addressing the root causes of violence. Ultimately, it may be up to the citizens themselves to promote a more peaceful culture.
An analysis of the gun control debate shows a bit of a disconnect between those who hold the opposing views. It goes without saying that most people want to reduce shootings as well as other types of violence. How to actually go about reducing these occurrences is where there is disagreement.
Editorial By Zach Kirkman