The Efficacy of Gun Control Legislation: A National Debate

Give peace a chance!
Give peace a chance!

The recent murder of nine African-American Christians in their Charleston, South Carolina church by a lone gunman has rekindled the public debate about the need for stricter gun control legislation.  Most gun control advocates are earnestly looking for ways to save lives and to prevent or reduce gun related injuries.  They passionately argue that more gun control   laws are the solution to the problem.

Their objectives are laudable but their vision is nearsighted. Unless stricter gun control legislation is part of a larger strategy aimed at reducing all violence, gun control legislation will have limited real-life impact.  It is unrealistic and unreasonable to think laws will keep criminals from getting their hands on guns.  As long as handguns exist criminals will have access to them, even if the average law abiding citizen does not.[1]

Consider the following illegal activities that thrive among criminals. They cash other peoples’ checks. They steal other peoples’ identities and use those stolen identities to rack up debt in the names of innocent people. Criminals obtain illegal drivers’ licenses, fake birth certificates, diplomas, and degrees.  They even have a scam where they steal homes.

In light of the preceding examples of the myriad ways in which criminals skirt the law, what makes those calling for stiffer gun control laws think such laws, if adopted, will keep handguns out of the hands of those bent on using them to cause destruction?  Besides, national efforts should focus on reducing all forms of violence and not just focus on legislating stiffer gun laws.

Demonstrating Peace
Demonstrating Peace

In conclusion, the effectiveness of gun control legislation is dependent upon its inclusion in a multi-prong national strategy for reducing all violence.[2]

[1] Criminals and others with means (money, power, and positions of privilege) will have access to firearms regardless of legislation.

[2] The views expressed n this post and in other places on my blog and website reflect my personal perspectives. They are not intended to represent the theology, doctrines, or commitment to social justice of any religious or secular institution with which I am now or have ever associated.

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