Pros and Cons of Gun Control

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US President Barack Obama is set to introduce executive actions that will try to minimize gun violence. Congress – controlled by Republicans – have opposed changes to gun laws and have called Obama’s actions an infringement of constitutional freedoms.

Obama will bypass Congress and introduce steps to regulate the sale of guns, as well as cut down on illicit purchases. According to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the measures will tighten rules on who can register as a gun dealer, limit the “gun show” loophole allowing buyers to avoid background checks and curb “straw purchases” which allow weapons to be bought through intermediaries.

But despite the good intentions of the new measures, a lot – especially weapons makers, gun enthusiasts and Republicans in Congress – are still against introducing changes to gun legislation. To understand why, here’s a look at both sides of the story:

List of Pros of Gun Control

1. It curbs gun massacres.
According to USA Today, “around 30,000 people die in gun violence every year in America, most by suicide.” Not only that, Mother Jones also reports that about three quarters of the guns used in mass shootings in the US were obtained legally. By introducing tougher gun laws, these kinds of crimes can be prevented.

2. It protects children and families.
A grassroots group formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy called Moms Demand Action believes that guns create a public health crisis that is attacking children. The group cited statistics that show nearly eight children are shot and killed each day in America. They believe that the introduction of stronger laws will protect children and their families.

3. A background check gets guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t possess them.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is supported by former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, call for background checks to ensure that criminals, domestic abusers and those who are seriously mentally ill cannot purchase guns. According to the group, the enforcement of background checks have stopped close to two million people who shouldn’t be in possession of a weapon from purchasing one.

List of Cons of Gun Control

1. The right to bear arms for protection is a fundamental right.
“Self-defense is a fundamental right” has been the rallying cry of the Institute for Legislative Action of the National Rifle Association (NRA). They always point out that the right to bear arms for the purposes of self-defense is a fundamental right – it is protected in all states and the US constitution.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as several Republican presidential candidates have accused President Barack Obama of “dismissivemess” towards Americans who value the right to bear arms.

2. Carrying guns legally lessens violent crime.
According to the NRA, “Through 2010, the nation’s murder rate has decreased 52 percent to a 47-year low, and the total violent crime rate has decreased 48 percent to a 37-year low.”

3. Gun bans have not stopped crime.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons ban. It has since expired and hasn’t received enough support to be renewed. According to the NRA, the assault weapons specified in the ban “have never been used in more than a small percentage of firearm-related violent crime.”