The Paw Print
How many times are guns actually used for self-protection, as opposed to inflicting harm on someone else? With the outbreak of firearm-related murders in the past decade, the cry for stricter firearm regulations is louder now than ever before. The controversial debate orients itself around keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but in the hands of responsible people who feel they need protection in their own homes. According to studies, gun owners have stated that protection is the main reason for attaining a firearm, a statement that has doubled since 1999 and overtaken hunting purposes. But the question is, how often do Americans use their firearms for protection, and in what way?
Countless studies have been unable to answer such controversial questions, which only adds fuel to the firearm regulation debate. Like in most debates, there are two legitimate sides to this story. Even President Obama recognizes that the debate is highly sensitive. Determining the important of self-protection is complex, as the variables can differ from one circumstance to another.
Sometimes trained professionals like the police cannot be there in the instant they are needed, and a firearm can give needed protection. However, that decision to pull the trigger is now down to the individual, who may be acting in fear, the main argument of the opposing party.
Most Americans are split on the issue. However, crime in America—whether it be assault, murder or property crime—has dropped dramatically since the early 90s, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Criminologists have stated that the drop in crime could be related to fewer Americans drawing firearms. Since the early 90s, eighteen states have introduced stand-your-ground laws, and some states have reduced gun regulations.
These regulations have reinforced America’s need for self-protection and have reflected its attitudes about guns. The problem with these laws is that they have given the individual the power to make a decision on whether or not to pull the trigger. We all know about the incident in Florida, with the 17-year-old boy who got shot by an individual who took matters into his own hands rather than waiting for trained professionals. It’s a perfect example of how these laws are failing. How can a salesperson at Wal-Mart determine whether a person is appropriate to attain a firearm?
The situation differs from state to state, but the overall consensus is that firearm sales and regulations need to become tougher, like in other countries where firearms are used on a daily basis. In a country obsessed with security and protection, it’s bewildering to think that such relaxed regulations are in place for firearms. It’s even more astonishing to think about now with all the recent school shootings.
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