To thoroughly discuss the issue of gun violence in America or anywhere, one would need thirty to forty pages instead of seven to eight paragraphs, but I'll try to consolidate. The statistics of gun related violence in the U.S. are absolutely staggering. In one study, it was found that 3012 children and teens were killed by the use of guns in one year, five times as many suffered from gun related injuries that weren't fatal (NEAHIN, 2005).
In one particular year in Japan the statistics showed that no children were killed by guns. In the same year in Great Britain there were nineteen, fifty-seven in Germany, France had one hundred and nine, Canada one hundred and fifty-three, and in the United States there were a staggering five thousand, two hundred, and eighty-five children killed by guns (NEAHIN, 2005). These numbers are outrageous when we consider that in theory, the U.S. is an educated and developed nation. So what are we doing wrong? Why is gun related violence in this country so high?
Before any readers of this post get it in their minds that I’m just another “one of those anti-gun/anti-hunting” people, please understand that I am a life member of the North American Hunting Club. So, before you pass judgment on my intentions, please read on.
I'll tell of a personal experience here to back up what I will state afterwards. From the time I was able to walk, my father drummed into my head the fact that guns should be respected, and never pointed at something I didn't intend to kill and eat. I was a Vermonter at the time and guns were a part of our lives. One day it was time to go buy my hunting license. I was 14 years old. We sat in the Game Warden's office and he hollered out of a back room that he'd be with us in a minute. We sat in the chairs and on the coffee table in front of us, sat a .357 Magnum handgun. We both looked at it and commented on what a nice weapon it was and doubted we'd ever have a need for one, but that it was a nice looking and well maintained weapon. The Game warden came out after about ten minutes and my dad explained that we were both there to take a test so we could get our hunting licenses.
He said, "You just took the test, and you both passed." We looked at each other and shrugged.
He explained, "You wouldn't believe the number of people that come in, pick up the gun, point it around the room, and I end up sending them to take a hunter's safety course."
So why did I tell that story? It's simple. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Guns just make it easier. And, unfortunately we live in a society where too many would-be Davy Crocketts roam the woods or the streets with guns. I can walk into any many gun shows around the country, purchase a gun and leave, and never have a back-ground check done. Looking at this situation from this particular perspective, maybe guns should not be purchased by anyone under the age of 25. I'll go a step further and say that in the country atmosphere, where hunting is a big deal, nobody under the age of 21 should be in possession of a firearm. My sincere apologies to the young adults that would like to be hunting with their dads, but you’ll just have to learn bow and arrow techniques, develop good hunting abilities and learn to be safe and responsible first. Being caught with a firearm outside of those guidelines, should carry a mandatory one year jail sentence. If a person has ever been convicted of a felony, they should never, for the rest of their life, be able to possess a firearm for any reason whatsoever. Thorough background checks should be performed before every gun sale.
In the second amendment, "The right to keep and bear arms" I wish it would have added, in a peaceful and responsible manner. I believe in the need for better gun control, but I don't believe people should be deprived of the right to own them. A gun is a tool as much as it is a weapon. Consider another statistic. Here are the statistics on the number of assaults on police officers resulting in injuries:
Knives: 30.5 %
Other weapons: 40.8%
Personal weapons: 35% (Folders.org, n.d.)
People need to be controlled. Remove firearms from the above stats and I guarantee the percentages in the other areas will rise. Imagine being in Pakistan right now. An enemy force infiltrates your area, and you watch your husbands, wives, and children being slaughtered and you have no way to protect them. Call the police? How many times have we called the police for things and an hour later they show up, only to tape off the area for the Crime Scene Investigators? Should we turn in all of the knives in our kitchen because of all the school stabbings? Or should we consider maybe teaching our children responsibility, values, morals, and respect, instead of letting them plop down in front of video games that are more violent than anything you'll ever see on TV outside of a video clip of an actual battlefield.
Statistics don't lie. But if a person is going to kill, they are going to kill. Be it a bow and arrow, a gasoline explosion, a knife, an automobile, a physical beating, a marble rolling pin, a pitchfork, poison, or a gun. So let’s teach society how to put control on people. In a society of so many different variables that won't be easy, but it is possible.
Folders-R-Us.org (n.d.) Knife Statistics. Retrieved on May 9, 2009, from:
http://www.folders-r-us.org/statistics.htmNational Education Association Health Information Network (2005)
Statistics:Gun Violence in Our Communities. Retrieved on May 9, 2009, from: