Gun Control in the US: A Rising Debate
06-Oct-2017


Gun control is an explosive topic to discuss in the United States.

There are people lobbying for stricter gun control laws. And there are those completely opposed to it.

Invoking the ‘second amendment’ of the US Constitution, the pro-gun group argues that all Americans have the “right to keep and bear arms”.  And that their founding fathers have, in their wisdom, guaranteed the right.

But the horrific shooting in Las Vegas this week, which has caused 59 deaths(including the shooter’s) and some 500 plus injuries, has brought to the fore, once again, the debate on gun control legislation. And I think it should.  

After all, here is a man who gathered an astonishing 47 firearms, and created for himself a personal arsenal. And he had even modified 12 of his semi-automatic weapons so that they can work like automatic weapons!

And, does the US government’s legislation on guns, matter to the world? I think it does.

As I watched the video clips of this ghastly attack on news channels and websites, I realized – like probably many others have done – that I could have been one in the crowd.

And my simple enjoyment of country music - which I am personally very fond of – and my life, could have been brutally ended by a psychopath’s assault weapon.

After being at music concerts of this type - standing, clapping, and singing aloud, with friends who shared my passion - just imagining what we would have all done if we were suddenly hit by a hail of bullets, horrifies me.

Actually, I should not imagine any such thing. But neither did those 58 people. They were alive five days ago. And today, their families are mourning their deaths.

Maybe, just a few days ago, some of them must have made exciting plans to attend the music festival. Some of them must have begged unwilling parents to let them go. They went. They saw. And they got killed.

The reason? A demented man who massacred innocent men and women.

The partners in crime? A society that made him a psychopath. And a government that allowed him to acquire those deadly weapons. Or, that’s what I think.

The main argument of those who speak in favour of the ‘right to keep and bear arms’ is this: It is not the gun at fault, but the man behind the gun. Similarly, they will argue that it is really not the truck, which ploughed into crowds, that killed people, but the man behind the wheel.

Agreed. But simple logic tells us that guns are weapons, and trucks are transport vehicles. And there should be a stricter control on the sale of guns.  

To know how the US compares with the rest of the world on gun-related deaths, I recommend an article on BBC’s website titled “America’s gun culture in 10 charts”.

It gives an international comparison of gun-related killings as a percentage of all homicides. And it shows that in USA (2016) it is 64, in Canada(2015) it is 30.5, in Australia(2013/14) it is 13, and in England and Wales (2016) it is 4.5.

The USA also is world’s number one, on ‘most guns owned by civilians’. It has around 270 million guns!

In 1791, when the second amendment was ratified,  there were no automatic assault rifles. But, this is 2017. Guns have changed, and people too.

Arguments that self-defence is necessary and that private gun ownership would desist government tyranny are causing unbridled proliferation.

If USA wants to be a good example to the world, it must address its gun culture too, by stricter legislation.


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