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For a couple of years now I have asked myself some questions about guns that I really hadn’t given a thought to before. What type of person owns a gun? Why do some people feel the need to own a gun and not others? Does owning a gun really make you feel safer? Is there a sigh of relief that owning a gun brings that mace, security alarms, guard dogs, police patrols, self-defense classes, etc. can’t provide? Even though rational argument against guns suggest trusted research that owning a gun makes the owners and family more likely to involved in fatal gun violence than those who don’t own a gun.

The argument for-

Fox News Medical A-Team Dr. Keith Ablow advocates for carrying a gun. He says the right to bear arms is a critical and necessary component of feeling competent and self-ruling as individuals. As opposed to relying on the goodwill of a super powerful unquestionable government. As Thomas Jefferson wrote to his nephew Peter Carr in 1785, “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind . . . ” The Dr. implies that a population that has ceded it’s power to state, local and federal government gives authority and trust with no question much like a child gives their parents which can be dangerous for the nation as a whole. He makes the comparison that another nation gave this trust and power to the government without question which was Nazi Germany.

Ablow continues with his statement by adding.”A disarmed population is allowed the toxic luxury of feeling as though our way of life and our safety from oppression comes without the tremendous responsibilities and moral complexities of wielding force. The same people who passively pay taxes that put tanks on the streets and fighter jets in the skies over our enemies’ nations can cringe at the idea of owning guns themselves — projecting their survival instincts onto an all-powerful father figure (the state).” “The psychological truth is that every gun privately and legally owned in America is a tiny impediment to the citizenry assuming a docile, nearly delusional perspective that the world will always be predictable, that one’s home and loved ones will always be safe and that government will always tend toward light and never toward darkness.”

The argument opposed

Males are 4 times more likely to own a gun as opposed to females. Also if you are the child of a parent who owned a gun makes it more likely to own a gun as well. Whites are twice as likely to own guns as opposed to non-whites. If you live in a rural area or in the South you are twice as likely to own a gun than if you live in the urban area or the Northeast. It also depends if you have military experience this also makes you more likely to own a gun than someone who doesn’t have military experience. Gun owners in general are 29% – 37% likely to keep guns loaded at home, 49% – 53% keep guns unlocked at home, while 21% – 22% do both. Another study that correlates with gun ownership is heavy use of alcohol which also is associated with high risk firearms behavior.For example keeping guns loaded and unlocked in the home. It seems alcohol consumption seems to be gun ownership and gun-related deaths at home.

Among those who keep handguns 46% say they keep them for personal defense. For those who keep long guns 77% say they keep them for sport. A study indicates that a perceived risk of criminal victimization increases the likelihood of purchasing a gun for self-protection. Perceptibly, both men and women believe that men with guns are more threatening than taller, larger more muscular without guns. Possession of a gun in turn can be used as a self-esteem aggrandizer that increases the intellection of intimidation.

Guns and Suicide

According to statistics the majority of gun deaths in the US is not from homicides, or murders against another person but suicides when an individual takes their own life. In 2011 19,766 committed suicide with a firearm while ONLY 11,101 committed homicides with a firearm according to “Hoyert and Xu’s” National Vital Statistical report. In 2004 the CDC did a survey and published an article for the American Journal of Epidemiology found that gun owners were more likely to use their gun rather than other means to commit suicide like pills. In 1992 the CDC found that those who own guns were five times more likely to commit suicide. On a national scale in 2003 a study found that access to a gun made a person three times more likely to commit suicide than someone without firearms. Suicide is an impulsive act and combined with the fact that 85-90% succeed in killing themselves at a much higher rate than any other method only certifies that owning guns inhabits the suicidal behavior and enables the person to make that wrong last second decision. Israeli Defense Force found that they lowered the suicide rate by 40% among its soldiers by not permitting soldiers to go home with their weapon or keeping it over the weekend.

A study performed in 2009 looked at 677 shootings in Philadelphia and found that those who carried guns were 4.5% more likely to be shot and also 4.2% times more likely to be killed as an unarmed person. Researchers believe it is the sense of empowerment that the gun owner has that leads a person to think rashly and go into dangerous places that they would normally avoid if they did not carry a gun. Perception also plays a part, when a study was done on 600 people they found that images of men holding a gun looked stronger and more powerful than other images such as men holding power drills etc.

Guns and Race

During the 60’s civil rights movement blacks were exercising their constitutional right to carry firearms for use of protection of corrupt cops and extreme white factions. The results unlike today where we are in a isochronism of gridlock where mass shootings are more and more the norm, stricter gun laws were enforced by whites. The Mulford Act was signed by Ronald Reagan who was the governor of California at the time in 1967. This law prohibited carrying firearms in public. Nowadays, stats show that 53% of whites want to own a gun to protect their own while only 24% blacks do. The debate over gun control legislation gets muddled when you add the equation of race to it. Fear of black violence may be one rooted side of the argument against gun control legislation.

It seems the negative stereotypes used against black people(blacks are violent) also fuel the conversation and policies measures related to crime. Examples in the past have been building prisons, death penalties that statistically shows minorities make a disproportionate amount of the population in the facilities and the ones who end up in those deaths. Symbolic racism is a belief structure underpinned by both anti-black and traditional values. The anti-black effect is said to develop during the pre-adult years through exposure to negative black stereotypes to the point that crime and physical violence have become typified as black phenomena.

While the effect may not be deliberate or intentional, but may still result in feelings of fear, anger, unease and hostility towards blacks. Symbolic racism has been linked to opposition to and support for a widespread range of policies that whites associates with blacks: welfare, affirmative action and others. Conservative ideologies and racism seem to go hand in hand. People with higher symbolic racism maybe more likely to own a gun and oppose gun control as a means of dealing with abstract fears regarding blacks. Whites have twice the gun ownership of blacks, oppose gun control to greater extents than, even though whites kill themselves in much higher numbers  than blacks or other minority groups.

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