What is Gun Control?
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Written for Hot Potato News
Gun control is a set of laws put in place to regulate the use of firearms by civilians. It means there are limits to the manufacture, sale, possession and modification of guns but every country will have different policies.
So, the government or body in control of the gun policies can decide what type of weapons can be legally available to the general public. For example, after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, the government banned shotguns and semi-automatic rifles – firearms that can kill people quickly.
But in the US, gun laws can be managed from a local state level as well as federal. It is a lot harder to control the overall gun usage in that country.
Yemen and the United States have a unique relationship with firearms compared to other countries because it is regarded as a basic right for civilians to own a firearm. They also have the highest rates of mass shootings in the world. It’s estimated that 393 million US civilians own a gun and 52.8 million in Yemen.
The United States has seen a rise in devastating school shootings and homicides. In 2017, Stephan Paddock opened fire from his hotel suite onto a music festival in Las Vegas. He killed 58 people and injured 851. It is the deadliest mass shooting incident in The United States.
There have been at least 288 school shootings in the US since 2009. In February 2018, 17 staff and students were killed by a gunman who was a previous student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Gun control is subject for fierce debates worldwide such as:
- Gun control is regarded as a violation of the Second Amendment. The United States’ President Donald Trump tweeted ‘The Second Amendment will never be repealed!’ on March 28, three days after mass student-led protests calling for more control on firearms.
Trump is known for his controversial gun control policies and is touted to be a member of the NRA
- Gun control won’t work – an example of an argument used against gun control in the US was Mexico, the country has extremely strict firearm policies yet struggles with massacres. Although, it is also widely regarded that Mexico’s crime rate is due to many extremely complicated and unique causes.
The UK is used for an example for pro-gun control, one adult and 16 children aged five to six were killed when a gunman entered their school in Dunblane and opened fire in 1996. The government banned private ownership of all handguns in Britain in the months that followed Dunblane, there has not been a school shooting in the country since.
Gun control has always been a cause of protest, whether for and against. Most recently was The March for Our Lives protest, an organisation dedicated to eliminating gun violence, they marched specifically against the USA’s firearm policies in connection to school shootings. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas Shooting helped organise the demonstration, it took place on March 25 in 800 locations across the planet.