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Essay Example: Legally Owned Guns Are Used for Committing Crimes

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Sewanee University of the South
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The common belief that legally owned guns in the house protect a family from crime is a fallacy. Guns in homes have been increased with increased risks of suicide and homicides. According to Robert (2013), suicide and murder are common among people who keep legally owned guns in their homes. In his research, the risk of owning guns were shown, for example homes that owned guns had increase odds of homicides and murder than homes without legally owned firearms.

Although legally owned guns in homes are considered to have reduced the rate of burglary by half, the numbers might be misleading. This is because the instances of strong-arm robberies and rape have increased in small towns with more legally owned guns. According to Adeyo (1993), 444 people were killed in their homes in three US regions between 2011 and 2015 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, King County, Washington State and Shelby County, Tennessee. He found that their deaths were linked to legally owned guns in the home. This was a threefold increase in odds that was killed by either an intimate acquaintance or a family member. Such findings shows that although gun ownerships may protect the welfare, security and safety of an individual, it may also change the behavior of the person owning it putting his or her family more at risk. Owning a gun may make a person do things he shouldnt do, take chances, and visit unsafe places but still feel safe. Such risk may over power any protective effects.

Violence is a contagious behavior, which exists independent of guns. Therefore, guns are accessories to violence and not fountainheads. This means guns intensify up the stakes of violent encounters and worsen the outcomes-there are more life threatening injuries, homicides and deaths where legally owned guns are common. For example, in Alabama, 12% of residents have legally owned guns, possibly the highest in the US. However, the frequency of the guns used for protection is less since most individuals rarely encounter situations that they could use them for self protection. There is also a fact that with more legally owned guns, more opportunity exists for people to steal and use them nefariously. Guns at home are more likely to cause accidental shootings and more likely to be used in mass hooting or homicide.

However gun advocates believe that legally owned guns deter crimes because people are able to protect themselves. Having a gun helps one protect himself from being a victim (Lott, 2013). As a result, violent crime rates in the US have dropped considerately. Besides, as a result of Stand Your Ground Laws which allow gun owners to shoot and kill in self-defense criminals have realized that victims can now fight back. However, states that adopted the law have had increase rates of homicides compared to other states since the law protects individuals with legally owned guns. Though by arming more Americans the country would become safer and peaceful since criminals would be afraid to cause trouble if they realize they are surrounded by gun toting guys, I believe that legally owned guns become dangerous when they get into the hands of bad guys. The notion that owning legal fire arms deter crimes is a fallacy and instead guns make violence and crime worse- guns don't kill people, people kill people.



Dube, A., Dube, O., & Garcia-Ponce, O. (2013). Cross-border spillover: US gun laws and violence in Mexico. American Political Science Review, 107(3), 397-417.

Lott, J. R. (2013). More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press.

Kennedy, D. M. (2009). Deterrence and crime prevention: Reconsidering the prospect of sanction (Vol. 2). Routledge.

Kleck, G. (2009). Mass shootings in schools: The worst possible case for gun control. American Behavioral Scientist, 52(10), 1447-1464.

Malcolm, J. L. (2009). Guns and violence: The English experience. Harvard University Press.

Watkins, A. M., Huebner, B. M., & Decker, S. H. (2008). Patterns of Gun acquisition, carrying, and use among juvenile and adult arrestees: Evidence from a highcrime city. Justice Quarterly, 25(4), 674-700.


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