Thursday, 23 June 2016

Gun control

Gun control, refers to laws or policies that regulate within a jurisdiction the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians. The main purpose of gun control is to regulate who in a jurisdiction is to have access to a firearm, and to attempt to prevent the use of firearms in criminal or other acts of violence, and in suicides and accidental shootings, as well as in acts of terrorism or political violence. Laws vary greatly around the world, with some countries, such as the United Kingdom, having very strict controls while others, such as the United States, having relatively few restrictions (although policies vary from state to state). Jurisdictions that regulate access to firearms typically restrict access to only certain categories of firearms and then to restrict the categories of persons who will be granted a firearms license to have access to a firearm. Even in jurisdictions with strict gun controls, illicit access to firearms still takes place.

Proponents of gun control generally argue that widespread gun ownership increases the danger of gun violence. Opponents of gun control and advocates of gun rights argue that gun control does not reduce crime, violates individual liberties, and reduces the ability of citizens to defend themselves.

Gun control refers to domestic regulation of firearm manufacture, trade, possession, use, and transport, specifically with regard to the class of weapons referred to as small arms (revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns).

Usage of the term gun control is sometimes politicized. Some gun enthusiasts instead prefer to use the terms such as "gun-violence prevention", "gun safety", "firearms regulation", "illegal guns", or "criminal access to guns".

In 2007, it was estimated that there were, globally, about 875 million small arms in the hands of civilians, law enforcement agencies, and armed forces. Of these firearms 650 million, or 75%, are held by civilians. U.S. civilians account for 270 million of this total. A further 200 million are controlled by state military forces. Law enforcement agencies have some 26 million small arms. Non-state armed groups have about 1.4 million firearms. Finally, gang members hold between 2 and 10 million small arms. Together, the small arms arsenals of non-state armed groups and gangs account for, at most, 1.4% of the global total.

High rates of gun mortality and injury are often cited as a primary impetus for gun control policies. Whether gun control policies increase, decrease or have no effect on rates of gun violence is a difficult scientific question. While a variety of disparate sources of data on rates of firearm-related injuries and deaths, firearms markets, and the relationships between rates of gun ownership and violence exist, research into the efficacy of various gun controls has been largely inadequate and not proven whatsoever. A 2004 National Research Council critical review found that while some strong conclusions are warranted from current research, the state of our knowledge is generally poor. Despite the potential for improved research design, the National Research Council review concludes that the gaps in our knowledge on the efficacy of gun control policies are due primarily to inadequate data and not to weak research methods. The result of the scarcity of relevant data is that gun control is one of the most fraught topics in American politics and scholars remain deadlocked on a variety of issues. Notably, since 1996, when the Dickey Amendment was first inserted into the federal spending bill, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been prohibited from using its federal funding "to advocate or promote gun control," effectively ending gun violence research at the agency. The funding provision's author has said that this was an over-interpretation.

No comments: