Essay on Gun Rights
Number of words: 1416
Gun rights contentious debate has been fueled by the number of mass shootings currently on an upward trend. Among the contemporary issues affecting global human rights is gun-related violence. The right to life guaranteed under the laws of all jurisdictions of the world and the most fundamental human right is threatened by violence associated with guns. Daily around the world, lives of individuals are cut short by gun violence. As a result of firearm-induced violence, more than 500 individuals lose the lives daily. No one is immune to violence caused by firearms; however, in particular circumstances, marginalized groups, women, and communities of color in the society are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. In other instances, fearfulness and feeling threatened can be evoked among people with the mere presence of a gun and this can result in psychological effects which are both long-term and severe. The health care and education systems can collapse as a result of gun-related violence owing to people being afraid to attend these facilities or following the discontinuation of services in these facilities (Merry 747).
Statistics worth noting
The global statistics of gun-induced violence are very grim. Every day records more than 500 deaths associated with firearms. Globally, gun violence is linked to 44% of all homicides and between 2012 and 2016; firearms had a role to play in 1.4 million deaths. Young men act as the majority of the perpetrators and victims although women are also subjected to violence using firearms meted out by an intimate partner. Firearms can also facilitate sexual violence. Additionally, every single day sees gunshot injuries affecting an estimated 2000 individuals. Globally, people living with injuries inflicted by firearms stands at around 2 million. Yearly, production stands at 15 billion rounds of ammunition and 8 million new small arms. A whooping US$8.7 billion is generated each year from the trade of small arms. Communities, families, and individuals in their millions undergo psychological effects which are both long-term and severe as a result of gun violence or the threat associated with it. In 2017, firearms were used to injure and maim close to 134,000 individuals in the United States (Braga et al. 45).
The physical health and the long-term mental state of a victim are indelibly impacted by gunshot injuries. Most of these victims are unable to work especially in jobs that are physically demanding and some require permanent, long-term care. Job retraining, rehabilitation and adequate long-term programs are virtually non-existent. Remarkably, there is little government response in the United States as the public health system is grappling with a chronic crisis resulting from the toll experienced in medical services, family members and victims occasioned by gun violence. Mental health care, rehabilitation and other support services, long-term pain management are long-term health interventions that should be included in affordable and quality health care services around the world.
The right to life, which is the most fundamental human right, is violated by gun violence. Measures should be taken to protect people and their property from firearms threat, actual or foreseeable, by the state which is obligated to do so. Under the laws of international human rights, states are obligated to protect the rights to life and security of person and failure to control the manner in which civilians own and use firearms, is in direct contravention of these obligations. A significant socio-economic dimension is at play when it comes to firearm violence. Typically, this violence occurs in urban areas associated with low income and high crime levels. More often than not, this includes, lack of access to public services, policing which contravenes international thresholds of human rights or inadequate policing and trafficking of illicit drugs. In these situations, proliferation and easy access to firearms can impact society across the full range of human rights (Stark and Nigam 85).
The right to health can be undermined by violence perpetuated by guns. Health care access is difficult and sometimes dangerous in communities where gun violence is rampant. Police interventions, such as frequent curfews, official or de facto, may close off healthcare services while access can also be obstructed by armed criminal gangs who partition neighborhoods. Sometimes, poor staff retention and insecurity are some of the issues that make healthcare facilities not to be stationed in areas infested with firearm violence. Neighborhoods with rampant firearm violence lack safe or refuges for people fleeing from violent relationships and are deprived of essential psychological support for domestic violence survivors.
Similarly, violence associated with guns is disruptive to the education system and the school journey, to and from is unsafe. The right to education is undermined by the negative impacts of violence perpetuated by guns since schools cannot retain teaching staff and also find it difficult to recruit new teachers due to lack of state resources for education. Gun violence and the resultant insecurity can have severe effects, particularly for children and adolescents, which comprise of reducing the quality of teaching, damaging the learning environment, and disrupting school attendance and retention. The prospective employment and income opportunities for these children could be very slim and this could propagate the cycles of violence, crime and deprivation.
North America and South America are particularly hotspot areas for gun violence owing to poor implementation of laws meant to arrest the prevalence of gun violence or weak regulation and easy access to guns. The problem in the Caribbean and Latin America is further fueled by a dysfunctional criminal justice system, organized crime and corruption. Firearms are directly responsible for 72%, 91.1% and 58.9% of killings in Brazil, El Salvador and Honduras, respectively. In the United States constitution, the bill of rights comprises the right to keep and bear arms. This was ratified in 1791. Debate has raged on the Second Amendment’s purpose and precise meaning. Advocates of gun control have argued that the ratification of the Second Amendment was only meant to protect the States from the Federal government by arming civilians who acted as part-time soldiers. However, advocates of gun rights see the Second Amendment as the clause that gives sureties to anyone who keep and bear arms (Wu 29).
One such organization that can deal with violence caused by guns is Amnesty International (AI). The organization has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom and their core objective campaign for human rights across the world. The organization is funded by members and ordinary civilians. The organization focuses its efforts on prevention of firearm-induced violence and domestic gun reforms by rallying behind amendments of policies of gun possession and use. Programs to reduce violence are established by AI based on evidence in communities ravaged by violence caused by firearms. Additionally, the organization halts the export of guns into crisis zones that would lead to grievous violations against human rights if they fall in the wrong hands. For instance, AI uncovered exportation of arms in Saudi Arabia-led coalition. It was discovered that these guns were used in the Yemeni civil war by militia men to abuse human rights. In doing so, the perpetrators contravened European Union laws and breached global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In 2014, the global Arms Trade Treaty was part of international law, thanks in part to Amnesty international along with other organizations. Transfer of arms internationally has now stricter rules and all signatories of ATT are expected to abide by them.
The license to own a firearm must only be issued if the applicant meets certain requirements. These requirements can be in the form of conducting a background check to ascertain past criminal record and other priors and also identify risk factors. Mandatory training should be enforced before issuance of licenses. Credible justification and principles of necessity should be used to determine the number and type of weapons one can have. Private individuals should be prohibited from possessing guns that can cause excessive damage such as, semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic assault rifles and fully automatic firearms.
Braga, Anthony A., Andrew V. Papachristos, and David M. Hureau. “The concentration and stability of gun violence at micro places in Boston, 1980–2008.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 26.1 (2010): 33-53.
Merry, Melissa K. “Narrative strategies in the gun policy debate: Exploring proximity and social construction.” Policy Studies Journal 46.4 (2018): 747-770.
Stark, David E., and Nigam H. Shah. “Funding and publication of research on gun violence and other leading causes of death.” Jama 317.1 (2017): 84-85.
Wu, Stephen. “The effects of cueing and framing on youth attitudes towards gun control and gun rights.” Social Sciences 7.2 (2018): 29.