Top Pro & Con Arguments
More gun control laws would reduce gun deaths.
There were 572,537 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2016: 336,579 suicides (58.8% of total gun deaths); 213,175 homicides (37.2%); and 11,428 unintentional deaths (2.0%). Guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (67.7% of all homicides) and by suicide (51.8% of all suicides). Firearms were the second leading cause of deaths for children, responsible for 15% of child deaths compared to 20% in motor vehicle crashes.
Female first-time firearm owners were 35 times more likely to commit suicide within 12 years of buying the gun compared to women who did not own guns; male first-time firearm owners were about eight times more likely to do so.
Approximately 50% of unintentional fatal shootings were self-inflicted; and most unintentional firearm deaths were caused by friends or family members.
Five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States. A woman’s risk of being murdered increases 500% if a gun is present during a domestic dispute. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 5,364 US soldiers were killed in action between Oct. 7, 2001 and Jan. 28, 2015; between 2001 and 2012 6,410 women were killed with a gun by an intimate partner in the United States.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that “legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death”
Researchers found that a “general barrier to firearm access created through state regulation can have a significant deterrent effect on male suicide rates in the United States. Permit requirements and bans on sales to minors were the most effective of the regulations analyzed.”
According to a Mar. 10, 2016 Lancet study, implementing federal universal background checks could reduce firearm deaths by a projected 56.9%; 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%.
Gun licensing laws were associated with a 14% decrease in firearm homicides, while increases in firearm homicides were seen in places with right-to-carry and stand-your ground-laws.
More gun control leads to fewer suicides. When US gun ownership goes down, overall suicide rates drop; meanwhile, each 10 percentage-point increase in gun ownership is linked to a 26.9% increase in the youth suicide rate. In Indiana and Connecticut, after “red flag” laws to remove guns from people who may pose a threat were enacted, gun suicides decreased by 7.5% and 13.7% respectively, while suicides by other means did not decrease during the same time. A person who wants to kill him/herself is unlikely to commit suicide with poison or a knife when a gun is unavailable.
The US General Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that 31% of total accidental shooting deaths could have been prevented by installing safety devices on guns: 100% of deaths per year in which a child under 6 years old shoots and kills him/herself or another child could be prevented by automatic child-proof safety locks; and 23% of accidental shooting deaths by adolescents and adults per year could be prevented by loading indicators showing when a bullet was in the chamber ready to be fired.
Marjorie Sanfilippo, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Eckerd College who has researched children’s behavior around guns, stated, “We put gates around swimming pools to keep children from drowning. We put safety caps on medications to keep children from poisoning themselves…. [B]ecause children are naturally curious and impulsive, and because we have shown time and again that we cannot ‘gun-proof’ them with education, we have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of children.”Read More