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Guns have been an ongoing problem in the United States ever since their creation. The invention has been a good thing, but with all good comes bad. The ownership of guns is protected under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers thought guns were enough of a necessity to create an amendment protecting their presence. Also, being in a place where there is a gun that can be used?if needed?makes people feel safer. If it comes down to creating gun laws or protecting their families, most people would protect their families. However, guns for victims means guns for offenders. If people are allowed to protect themselves with guns, criminals will also have access to guns. Deaths caused by guns is also a statistic that should include more than half of deaths. The Need for Stricter Gun Laws Guns have been a part of American society ever since the European settlers made their way over to the New Land and brought all personal belongings they thought would be needed to survive in a completely new surrounding. The use of guns has drastically changed over the time that they have been used in this country. The purpose of guns and owning them is no longer what it used to be: they are now used for something much more terrible than the creators ever had intended for. Today, guns are much too easy to purchase, and the majority of the United States population owns a gun. “The ideology of gun ownership and gun control in the United States, that among the categories in crimes, gun violence is the most common type of crime that occurs on a regular basis in the U.S.” (Kopel, 1995) Stricter gun laws should be implemented in the American government, and the ability to purchase a gun of any kind should be more of a hassle.   According to the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This means that any citizen of the United States has the right to own a gun. Our founding fathers created the document this amendment came from with the people’s safety and wants in mind. The addition of more gun laws would only infringe on the right to bear arms as a United States citizen. According to Lawrence Hunter, Chairman of Revolution PAC, “The Founders understood that the right to own and bear laws is as fundamental and as essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion and the other protections against government encroachments on liberty delineated in the Bill of Rights.” The right to own a gun is one of the most basic rights one can have, second to the freedoms of the First Amendment. Another reason stricter gun laws would not be better for citizens is because guns are used for self-defense and personal safety.  According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), guns are used for self-defense 2.5 million times a year. Police officers do not always have easy days. They can not be protecting every citizen all the time. If an intruder breaks into one’s home and is much bigger than the home owner, how is it expected that they would be able to take down the intruder with their own strength? As Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, put it, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In a survey conducted on May 9, 2013, 48% of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes or following through with a crime they were in the process of committing when they knew the victim was armed with a gun. (LaPierre, 2013) If gun laws become stricter, felons will know that most people will not have guns on them, making it easier on them to commit the crime successfully. A report found by Pew Foundation stated that 79% of male gun owners and 80% of female gun owners said owning a gun made them feel safer, and 64% of people living in a home in which someone else owns a gun felt safer. If there is absence of a gun, parents of children or people living alone will not feel as safe knowing they have no immediate form of protection. Between 1999 and 2013, there were a total of 464,033 deaths that were caused by a gun. The reasons for these deaths include suicide (58.2%), homicides (37.7%), and unintentional deaths (2.2%). If guns laws are harsher, many of these deaths would have not happened. According to asfp.org, the rate of suicide is highest for middle aged men, white men in particular. However, the percentage of white males who own a gun is 48%. Almost half of gun owners are white males, and the majority of deaths by suicide come from white males. Including all suicides, firearms account for almost half of them. If guns were not as easily accessible, as they currently are, many of these deaths would not be taking place. According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, “legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death.” The elimination or even reduction of firearms all together could drastically decrease the risk of suicidal, along with homicidal and accidental, deaths. According to a Mar. 10, 2016 Lancet study, a projected reduction in firearm deaths by 56.9% would occur with the implementation of federal universal background checks. The study also found that background checks for ammunition purchases could reduce deaths by a projected 80.7%, and gun identification requirements could reduce deaths by a projected 82.5%. Mass shootings are a very big problem and are widely known and fought about across the United States. Since 1982, there have been 754 deaths and 1,200 people wounded by mass shootings. In 2017 alone, there has been 112 deaths and 531 people wounded by mass shootings (Wilson, 2017).  These mass shootings take place anywhere at any time. For example, in 2012, the deadliest shooting to occur at a high school or grade school occurred and was the fourth deadliest shooting conducted by one person. (CNN, 20) Adam Lanza, who was twenty years old at the time, shot and killed twenty children between the ages of six and seven, along with seven adult staff members. Before he drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School to mass murder children, he shot his mother in their home in Newtown, Connecticut. According to CNN, when Lanza was found after he had shot himself, along with the twenty-seven other victims, he was laying with three other loaded guns. Police also found later that there was another shotgun in his car. Gun laws should prohibit the purchasing of more than one weapon. Mrs. Lanza was a school teacher and Mr. Lanza was an accountant. There was no need for Adam Lanza to have access to four guns. If stricter gun laws were enforced, it is possible that the whole incident would not have happened. That goes for many other mass shootings, too. Overall, there are many reasons to disband the idea of gun laws becoming something the government should start taking control of soon. However, there are also many reasons for the government to take control and do something about the current problems the United States is facing when it comes to gun related crimes and deaths. If the future of the United States is ever going to turn around into the right direction, gun laws need to be created and enforced in today’s society before it becomes too late. “Let them have guns’ is as much a solution to mass murder and gun violence as ‘Let them have drugs’ is a solution to drug addiction.” (Stokes, 2012)

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