Addressing Handgun Control Essay Research Paper Good

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Addressing Handgun Control Essay, Research Paper Good morning ladies and gentlemen! I first want to thank you for your interest in organizing your communities for gun control. Before you begin to organize for gun control, you should have a basic understanding of the dimensions of this issue. Many members of existing groups believe that gun control is a unique issue, one that invokes even more emotional, gut-level responses than other controversial subjects such as abortion or school busing. You may or may not find this to be true, but you should approach the job ahead prepared for a wide range of responses, ranging from apathy to hate mail and death threats. To gain supporters for gun control, it is not enough to merely present data- even information supporting only the

mildest form of control. Acceptance for any form of control does not rest simply on technical arguments about effectiveness; rather, positions on the issue are influenced heavily by values and personal belief systems. Thus, much of our energy will be devoted to changing these attitudes and beliefs- a difficult task under any circumstance. When views are linked to concerns for physical safety, they usually are unaffected by data and information. Yet a gun control group must try to deal with these concerns. How do we define gun crime as a social problem? Violent crime that threatens or abuses the physical safety of its victims lies at the heart of the crime problem in America today. In turn, the use of firearms to commit crime constitutes a major portion of the violent crime

problem. Each year, approximately 85,000 American citizens die through the suicidal, homicidal, or accidental abuse of guns; several hundreds of thousands are injured (intentionally or accidentally); hundreds of thousands more are victimized by gun crimes (Wright, Ross, Daly 1992). Despite mounting evidence of handgun crimes and deaths, Americans in general and public policy makers in particular have failed to halt this ever-increasing national tragedy. These facts fail to diminish the increasing gun arsenal. Crime of all sorts impacts on a major portion of the nation s households. Victimization surveys show that one out of five households is victimized by crime annually. Although violent crime per se constitutes only about one-tenth of all crime, the remainder being property

crimes in which firearms ostensibly played no role, it contributes considerably more than its share to the fear of crime and to the public s sense of crime as a serious problem (Rossi, 1992). Indeed, it can be argued that violent crime is the crime problem and that its reduction should be a matter of the highest priority on the enforcement and criminal justice policy agendas of the nation. The line between violent and nonviolent crimes is clear in some instances but hazy and indistinct in others. Homicide, manslaughter, assault, and robbery are, by definition, clearly violent crimes in which physical harm is either inflicted or threatened. But a burglary, ordinarily a nonviolent crime, can easily become violent if the burglar (or his victim) is carrying a gun. Similarly, a minor

argument that would otherwise be no more serious than a disturbance of the peace can be transformed into an aggravated assault if one of the parties attempts to emphasize his or her views by brandishing or using a weapon. The main dimensions of the social problem of gun crime are often said to be the obvious consequences of these characteristics of firearms. Gun crimes cause more physical damage to victims; guns make crimes easier to commit, thereby increasing the crime rate; guns make it possible to undertake larger scale crimes, thereby increasing the overall social cost. Clearly, or so it is argued, if guns could somehow be abolished, both the scale of our crime problem and the physical damages associated with crime would decrease. Major reasons for our lack of strong gun