“The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, The Adventures of Sally
A weapon; a firearm- one characterised by explosive force, sharp loudness, warfare and the ultimate death- Guns have been in existence since humankind has known the concept of oneness in protection and war, and have affected the society in ways which no other weapon could ever match.
As lethal as Guns are; as much power as they hold, they must be handled with care, with respect, with kindness, and with the knowledge of harm they are capable of causing us or others among us. However, it is a common debate over belief amongst different schools of thought whether the power of guns can be held responsible positively or negatively- whether guns kill people or protect people?
Many believe guns don’t kill people, but people kill people; guns in themselves are harmless, and only harmful once in a ‘wrong’ person’s hands. However, being good or bad stands subjective. Especially in a scenario where one deals with a deadly weapon which serves the primary objective of causing eventual harm to an object/animal/person, the intent of the handler becomes void. People kill people in the direct proportion of the power of gun they have easy access to use/misuse in any way they want; no object, in vacuum, can kill people on its own unless we apply motion to it. Even though it is easy to believe that one is in full control of the weapon and responsibly handling it, it is very easy of high-shadowed strong emotions like that of rage to take over and turn a ‘good person’ into a ‘murderer’ within a dime.
Statistically, 75 percent of the world’s 875-million-gun crimes are civilian controlled. Roughly half of these guns (48 percent) are in the United States, which has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Globally, millions are wounded or killed by the use of guns. However, in the States alone, assault by firearm has resulted in 180,000 intentional deaths with added 47,000 unintentional ones. Mass Shooting- being one of the most prevalent gun violence crimes- occurs once in every 64 days in the US as compared to once in every 200 days in the rest of the world, throwing light on the issue of their lenient Gun Control Laws and highly flexible Gun Rights. In debate to combat such shootings, two prominent solutions take centre stage- either to implement stricter gun laws or to make guns more freely available.
Making a person with a gun fight with another person with a gun will only lead to the ‘eye for an eye’ concept- if you have a gun on your body in cases of protection from extreme scenarios as well, it can only lead to the killing or harming of either party as a result of a passionate reaction; leading to more violent behaviours more immediately. Yes, people may be scared of you if you own a gun, but today’s times are dangerous and even more with such prominent weapons at every corner, easily available and in reach by hand. Hence restoring to less dangerous and fatal alternatives like that of physical self-defence and pepper spray among others can help avoid the certainty of death.
Schools suggest teachers and students to carry such firearms with them in opposition to unforeseen and unfortunate shootings if to occur- suggesting to provide 11-year olds to gain ‘Gun-Usage Education’- forgetting it’s a space to be safe and to learn and gather knowledge; if everyone carries a gun, it would only increase the chances of such shootings to occur out of frustration, rage and stress at a higher rate. Studies also suggest that stricter gun laws lead to lesser homicides regardless of the rate of other crimes within a territory (as occurred in the case of comparison between Seattle and Vancouver).
It is a presumption that shootings- individually conducted or mass level- mostly occur out of intent, but negligence with a deadly weapon as a gun can also lead to death or cause severe harm to self, loved ones or others out of intent.
A bigger problem arising with the possession of such firearms is the substandard process of obtaining them- one which doesn’t cross check the background of the recipient, their psychological state and other important aspects revolving around their safe use and security. Guns absolutely contribute in protection and saving lives, but they hold a much higher chance of taking more lives than saving. The psychological power granted by a simple mechanical tool in our hand is magically dangerous; it provides a false sense of power.
Guns will protect you till you use them to threaten your power over your opposition, and turn you into an ‘innocent’ killer as soon as you bring that threat to reality- just pull the trigger.