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The Firearm Problem

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The paper describes the firearm problem and states that it affects different people in different ways. The firearm problem is different in rural areas from urban areas, different for women, men, children, whites, blacks and so on. For instance, suicide is more of a rural problem, while homicide disproportionately affects city dwellers. Black Americans have about half the risk of suicide of white Americans but further than five times the peril of becoming homicide victims.

The United States has a poor track record for protecting its children from firearm violence. Statistics show that an average of seven hundred children was killed annually in the United States during the nineties. Our firearm homicide rate for children between zero and fourteen is sixteen times higher than the average of other developed nations. Our overall homicide rate for the age group between zero and fourteen is five times higher than other industrialized nations. Our firearm suicide rate for children between zero and fourteen is eleven times higher than that of other high-income countries, while our non firearm suicide rate is roughly similar. Our overall suicide rate for zero to fourteen-year-olds is twice as high as that of other developed countries. These devastating figures could only be explained by the fact that The U.S. regions and states with the most guns have the highest rates of homicide, suicide, and accidental gun deaths of children. One study of children aged five to fourteen found that in states where more households had guns, significantly more children were dying violent deaths.

Guns cause a lot of trauma and discomfort to children. Samples taken from children’s artwork, writings, photographs and collages showed intense and unsettling anxiety. It is also obvious that guns provide very few, if any, benefits to children. For instance, children are not very likely to protect themselves using guns. It is funny that the government, through its agencies, takes a lot of precautions when dealing with less harmful and dangerous products. For instance, it was established that, in the 1990s, six children per year died in bunk bed accidents. In response, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 63o, ooo beds and created new regulations that toughened spacing requirements for lower bunks and required continuous guardrails on the wall side of top bunks.

The case of adolescents involved with firearms is dire. The period of changing from a child to an adult is characterized by a peak in physical strength but a dip in social, emotional maturity, judgment and increased impulsiveness. From 1985 to 1993 an epidemic of youth gun violence swept through the United States and was caused almost entirely by two factors: increased youth homicides and increased gun homicides. In 1983, about one thousand adolescents aged fifteen to nineteen were murdered with guns. A decade later, in 1993, this figure had tripled to more than three thousand adolescents. This could be attributed to the ease with which teenagers can obtain illegal guns. The adolescents most likely to carry are those who engage in other high-risk, dangerous, and often illegal behaviors. Such adolescents carry guns for protection and self defense. Their high level of irresponsibility forces other adolescents to carry firearms thereby creating a vicious circle. One problem that faces America is the difference in state regulation about firearms. For instance, Florida has very permissive laws about guns whereas New York has strict regulations about them. Therefore, guns are smuggled from the easy states to the strict ones.

Regulation of firearms can only take place during their four stages of life; during manufacture, sale, possession and use of the gun. The gun industry is an immensely profitable sector of the economy despite its activities being buried in mystery. It would be a surprise to learn that the gun industry is not regulated by any significant regulatory body. The gun industry is not subject to oversight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and other national regulatory agencies. Guns and ammunition are largely free of such federal safety and health regulation.

 Gun manufacturers are primarily interested in sales and profits. Given the reduction in haunting activities, gun manufacturers have had to change their strategy for selling firearms. Manufacturers have tried to convince people that they need guns by screening fear-inducing advertisement and increasing innovation. The gun industry has developed weapons with greater lethality. Manufacturers have made guns that carry more rounds, augmented the clout of the rounds and the velocity with which the ammunition can be shot, and made guns smaller and more concealable. All these changes increase the public health risk from firearms.

 Firearm manufacturers have been accused of marketing their products to children by making misleading claims about the safety benefits of firearms. Gun manufacturers are also accused of maintaining lax distributional policies that allow criminals and adolescents easy access to guns.  There are some of the contributions that gun manufacturers can make in order to reduce gun violence and improve public health. For instance, Manufacturers can make the serial numbers harder to obliterate. Manufacturers can also make firearms that would mark each bullet as it is fired. That would permit the matching of the bullet and gun with a high degree of accuracy.  Furthermore, manufacturers can increase the safety of guns, reducing the likelihood of unintended injury. Firearms should be manufactured with an indicator that shows when they are loaded.

In order to comprehensively understand the root of the gun problem, we must re-visit the American history. The United States, through its constitution, allows citizens to freely own guns. The second amendment states that “A well synchronized Militia, being essential to the sanctuary of a Free State, the right of the citizens to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. This clause may be wrongfully interpreted. Some pro-gun activists claim that firearms facilitate individual

Americans with a constitutional right to have firearms for personal self defense; some people also argue that this right is crucial to allow individual Americans to rise to combat government tyranny. However, historical and intellectual records do little to prove these claims. This has greatly attributed to the high crime rates in the country.   

All this is despite the fact that, for more than sixty years, the American population has consistently voted for regulation of guns. Public support for the regulation of firearms is strong and widespread. In general, people endorse actions to control firearms, increase gun security, and lessen firearm hostility. Poll statistics show that a majority of Americans want some regulations placed on firearms. For instance, 95 percent of Americans favor safety and quality standards for

domestically manufactured handguns comparable to those that imported handguns must meet; 90 percent encourage obligatory firearm safety guidance before an individual can purchase a firearm; 90 percent favor requiring that serial numbers on guns be tamper resistant while 85 percent want both a five-day coming up epoch and a locale check before a handgun can be purchased. The groups most likely to support these new policies are women and non-gun owners. In spite of blacks' historical wariness of government, general support for gun control appears higher for blacks than for whites. This is especially since minorities are at the highest risk for being victims of gun violence they will be among the largest beneficiaries of reasonable gun policies.

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