Gun Control – Does Violence Deter Violence? Yes, But Is It That Simple?
With the outpouring of violence and violent crimes in New York City over the last few months, including a spree which resulted in 25 people shot, six deceased in a 48 hour span, it has once again sparked the seemingly never ending debate of Gun Control and laws regarding civilians possessing firearms.
While I, myself, agree with the premise that one should have the right to bear arms, I’m also very skeptical as I know that there certain people – no disrespect to anyone in particular – who really have no business being in the possession of a gun. There are individuals who most certainly do not understand or comprehend the responsibility of owning a firearm and the severity said weapons can do. And many would also argue that there shouldn’t be laws put in place so these individuals can legally possess one.
Now basic logic will tell us that violence does in fact, deter violence. For example, if there are two people and of them is armed and the other one isn’t, if an assailant is going to perpetrate a violent crime against one of the two, which one is it likely to be? Common sense says it’s more likely to be against the unarmed civilian, but why? Probably due to the threat of physical injury to the perpetrator by the individual who is armed?
We know the Zealots from both sides will argue that gun possession decreases violence (or the threat of it) while the opposing side will tell you that it will not only increase violence, but escalate it. They are likely to cite that any dispute or altercation may turn deadly if these types of weapons are present. Of course the counter argument to that is these types of situations will be diffused more rapidly and it will make people more reluctant to engage in confrontations that can escalate to violence as the threat of injury to oneself, or even death, is more imminent.
The problem is laws prohibiting firearms only make it illegal to own one. This means even if guns are outlawed across the board, it will not remove them from our society. I don’t have the statistics to verify this, but I’m fairly sure that most would agree that the majority of violent acts and crimes committed with guns are not done by individuals who have a licence to carry one, or obtained one legally, but by ones who don’t and haven’t. Thus the victims of these crimes are usually law abiding citizens who did not have the means to protect themselves.
Although I do believe possessing (or being able to possess) a firearm can deter violence, I’m also aware that it isn’t that simple. We certainly don’t want to turn this into the Wild West, but many feel that they need to be protected. So, does that protection come from bearing arms?