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Ban The second Amendment

Being able to enforce more gun regulations, maybe go as far as banning the Second Amendment is essential in order to make communities a safer place. Others, in fact, might not have the same ideology which is understandable because everyone wants a shot at self defense when harm comes our way. 

The journal More Guns, Less Crime, by John R. Lott, Jr.  by author Kevin P. LaTulip Jr. reviews in detail John R.Lott. Jrs’ book “More Guns, Less Crime” and his theories as to why he believes that we should have even more guns in the streets instead of decreasing the number of guns available to people.

John R. Lott. Jr states that violent crimes are reduced when more concealed handgun permits are issued and gives the following theories: Deterrence and Substitution. 

Deterrence is based on the assumption that criminals are motivated by self preservation, meaning that a criminal won’t commit crimes against another human being, if they were aware their victim carries a concealed handgun, therefore, people should carry more guns. 

Substitution would be the consequence of the deterrence theory, Lotts explains that if criminals could no longer commit violent crimes towards another person, this would be substituted for property crimes. Meaning that there would be more burglaries nationwide in order to reduce violent crimes. 

Lott’s second reason is that guns are the great equalizer between the sexes.

He believes that women are perceived to be more vulnerable, making them targets for violent crimes. Women carrying hand guns would reduce women murder rate by about 3-4 times more than the murder rate for men. He also believes that the number of rapes would reduce as well.  

 Lotts third and last reasoning as to why we should have more guns is because most current gun control measures do not deter gun violence. This is because of the Brady Act. According to the article Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008 the Brady act requires background checks and criminal history by the FBI ( Federal Bureau of Investigations ) on people who attempt to purchase firearms by a licensed dealer.  

Lott’s states that  Nearly 100,000 people were denied guns as a result of background checks and 3,000 due to criminal history and somehow, there are still high crime rates. He also points out that civilian firearms training is ineffective in reducing crime because training is usually a few hours long, not giving people enough trainment in order to defend themselves properly in tough situations. 

While most of the theories stated by author John R. Lotts. Jr. may be accepted and supported by a grand majority of Americans due to their history with firearms, they still continue to be theories which are unproven. 

The idea that violent crimes are reduced when concealed handgun permits are issued seems valid when it comes to self defense only from strangers. The article 

More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows – Scientific American by author Melinda Wenner Moyer provides evidence of how a town named Kennesaw In Georgia passed a law, requiring every head of a household to own a firearm and ammunition and how it has been effective, supporting Lott’s theory. The problem with this is that Kennesaw did not have a high crime rate to even begin with therefore it’s uncertain whether it was effective or not, and, even if it deterred violent crimes and property crimes, it did cause new problems: Domestic violence which is the intimidation of a fellow household member over power and control. It also caused more gun thefts and homicides of intimate partners/ family members. Which is not ideal since the goal is to reduce crime rates. 

“ A growing body of research suggests that violence is a contagious behavior that exists independent of weapon or means. In this framework, guns are accessories to infectious violence rather than fountainheads. But this does not mean guns don’t matter. Guns intensify violent encounters, upping the stakes and worsening the outcomes—which explains why there are more deaths and life-threatening injuries where firearms are common. Violence may be primarily triggered by other violence, but these deadly weapons make all this violence worse.”

Lott’s second theory insinuating that guns are the equalizer between the sexes was something I used to consider myself at one point in life as well. Studies show that there is a 10% chance of someone being murdered by someone they don’t know, which leaves the 90% chance of someone getting murdered by someone they do know. 

 The article Having a Gun in the House Doesn’t Make a Woman Safer – The Atlantic by  author Evan DeFilippis states that:

“ In another study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers interviewed 417 women across 67 battered women’s shelters. Nearly a third of these women had lived in a household with a firearm. In two-thirds of the homes, their intimate partners had used the gun against them, usually threatening to kill (71.4%) them. A very small percentage of these women (7%) had used a gun successfully in self-defense, and primarily just to scare the attacking male partner away. Indeed, gun threats in the home against women by their intimate partners appear to be more common across the United States than self-defense uses of guns by women.”

This article gives insight on how most of the women who own firearms do have a chance at self defense but there is still an extremely high probability of their intimate partner using or threatening to use the firearm against them which does not support Lott’s theory. Firearms still have a great possibility to commit murder instead of protecting someone from being murdered, in speciality, women. 

Lott’s third and last theory indicates that there are no effective gun control laws to deter violence, when in reality, it’s inconclusive. The article Gauging the Effectiveness of Gun Control Laws by author Jeffrey Fagan states that : 

Other state legislation has restricted the reach of the Brady Act, simplifying the purchase of firearms and ammunition. Of the 25 state gun laws identified in the report, nine were credited with reducing firearm mortality, nine were associated with increased firearm mortality, and seven had an inconclusive association. Three of the state laws were strongly associated with lower numbers of firearm deaths, and at least one was associated with higher firearm mortality rates.

This article explains how twenty-five different states applied the Brady Act, resulting in different outcomes. While nine successfully reduced violent crimes, nine failed, increasing the violent crimes and seven were found to be inconclusive. Lott’s theory stating that there are no laws to date which are effective in order to deter violence can’t be proven. Even if the Brady Act seems to not have any effect on some states, it has certainly shown effectiveness in others. States, history with crime rates and laws are all contributing factors when it comes to deterring violence in a state. 

A perfect example of what lack of gun control can do to a community is the city of philadelphia, where people die everyday, cemeteries are running out of space to bury bodies and 911 no longer answers the phone.  

High crime rates have not only affected the lives of the families and the victims, it has also affected the morality, respect, love and the motivation people have to protect one another. The city of brotherly love has become one of the most dangerous cities in the United states. Crime rates have skyrocketed throughout the years, making it harder for law enforcement to keep up with preventing, investigating and fighting crimes. Just as residents of Philadelphia, police officers don’t feel safe as well, which has caused the amount of active police officers to drastically decrease. The lack of police officers has been caused by many contributing factors, Such as community relationships with police officers, stereotypes towards cops, COVID-19 casualties and retirements.

On multiple occasions, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, mainly used by teenagers and young adults, have made us witnesses of how a few cops have applied unnecessary force towards citizens.

Social media has exposed how cruel police officers can be, resulting in law enforcement being one of the most unwanted jobs. One of the most famous cases up to date has been the killing of Breonna Taylor. An African American medical worker who was shot and killed by police officers during a home raid in Louisville, Kentucky. Resulting in people all across the nation to fear for their lives during law enforcement presence.

Situations like this eventually resulted in police academies having extremely low numbers of applicants, making it harder to hire more officers. From personal experience, police officers are avoided as much as possible because there has always been a history of racism or abuse of power from their side, which forces the community to not trust officers when it comes to emergencies.

 In the article  Pennsylvania faces ‘historic shortage of police.’ AG Shapiro, Commissioner Outlaw call on Harrisburg for help by author Campbell Robertson, he states that: “The fact is, and we see this, fewer young people are deciding to make law enforcement their career,” Shapiro said. “That’s a problem. And it’s going to lead to long-term negative consequences in our communities.”Pennsylvania as a whole currently has 1,229 vacant police positions across the state.

Some factors that affect the relationship between law enforcement and the community does not improve for many reasons: 

  • Officers placed in a city don’t live in the same town due to personal protection. 
  • Officers who do live in the same community take advantage of this position to benefit allies, or harm others. 

In the same previous article Pennsylvania faces ‘historic shortage of police.’ AG Shapiro, Commissioner Outlaw call on Harrisburg for help  Robinson also states that:

“officers choose between walking their beat or engaging with the community in ways that help build confidence and trust. “And that confidence really matters because having it leads to more tips from the public, more cooperation in solving crime, and it leads, importantly, to safer streets.” 

Studies show that officers that live within the community tend to care more about what goes on and have more sympathy when it comes to treating people, which is beneficial towards both ways because there is a possible relationship being built which leans towards the first step to reducing crime and police hate. The downside to this is when extortion and bribery happens. Extortion is when a public official threatens future violence or harm under the color of the office, and bribery is the payment by person to a public official to gain advantages they are not entitled to, which can happen often within family members, friends or associates. 

    COVID-19 was one of the major contributing factors to why Philadelphia lacks police officers. Whilst officers were trying to avoid physical contact as much as possible, offenders took advantage of the pandemic to commit more crimes, knowing that there weren’t many officers willing to risk their health to stop them or any officers in general, since the police academy was shut down until further notice. 

The article More Violence, Less Cops. Why Are There Fewer Police Officers in Philly?  By authors Claudia Vargas and David Chang is a perfect example of the concerning  state the police academy found itself in. Due to Covid, there was a hold on recruiting applicants for the police academy which led to the amount of active police officers staying the same or decreasing and also led to people not wanting to waste any time and effort trying to apply. 

The article states that “ Mileika Colon has been waiting since January of last year to become a Philadelphia police officer.” She graduated college and decided to apply to the police academy in order to pursue her career as a police officer, but, unfortunately 

Her application was placed on hold indefinitely. They proceed by quoting Mileika Colon saying: “I honestly thought that when I graduated I was going to already be a police officer by July or August.”

“ Colon applied while finishing college in 2020. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, putting a halt to many things, including the Philadelphia Police Academy. “I don’t know if my application is still out there and I don’t know if it’s pending,” Colon said. “I don’t know if I need to reapply again.” Colon isn’t the only one dealing with the issue. Hundreds of applications were put on hold indefinitely and there hasn’t been a new recruit class in the academy since March of last year. As a result, Philadelphia will not have any rookie officers during A year that’s on pace to be the most violent in history. Meanwhile, veteran officers continue to retire. The police department is down to approximately 6,100 officers, nearly 300 short of what it’s budgeted to have. “I think we’re still safe, but it’s worrisome,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.” 

   Another contributing factor to why the city of Philadelphia has a shortfall on police officers is because of the widespread of Covid-19 throughout the city. The article COVID was again the leading cause of death among US law enforcement in 2021 by author Rachel Treisman stated that last year was the deadliest year for law enforcement officers, with covid being identified as the leading cause. This data shows how law enforcement officers realize that being safe is more important than apprehending criminals which eventually led some to quitting, retiring or simply deterring people from wanting to pursue a career in law enforcement. Treisman states that:

“This year’s statistics demonstrate that America’s front-line law enforcement officers continue to battle the deadly effects of the Covid-19 pandemic nationwide,” the report reads. “Preliminary data shows that some 301 officer fatalities have been identified as caused by Covid this year, and this number appears to increase almost daily.It has been reported to NLEOMF ( National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Funds) that these officers have died due to direct exposure to the virus during the commission of their official duties.” 

   Age is also a huge factor to why there is a decrease in police officers in Philadelphia. Many older police officers are seeking retirement which is leading to experienced police officer shortages. The article Staffing shortage in the Philadelphia Police Department becoming a crisis by author Annie McCormick states : 

“We’re talking about at least 800 people over the next four years that have signed up for the drops . These times are very scary. They’re very challenging. We have to come up with a solution to make this more attractive. The service calls, you’re not going to get a response time, to me, that’s adequate enough to really help and support people,” said Poplar about his concerns for the public during this officer shortage.

According to DROP Basics: Considerations for Adding a DROP to a Pension Plan – Bolton, DROPS is a retirement plan encouraging law enforcement officers to work a few more years in order to receive the normal value of their retirement benefits, Which is what most police officers have been doing lately.

 Having more guns does seem ideal in order to defend ourselves in emergencies, but, Taking into consideration when Implementing more gun control laws will not only help reduce the violent crime rates, but it will also give communities a chance to value human life. In order for someone to kill another human being, without a firearm, it will take physical force, having to look someone in their eyes and see how their life leaves their body, which can be an extremely traumatic experience that most of the people who kill by gun would not want to have for the rest of their lives. We are also losing the people who have sworn their lives to protect us. Soon enough, Philadelphia will become overtaken by violence, drugs, resulting in the city being left completely abandoned. 

References :

  1. Treisman, Rachel “COVID was again the leading cause of death among US law enforcement in 2021.”, 12 Jan.2022
  1. Frandsen, ronald J. “Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008.” federal And state investigations and prosecutions of firearm applicants denied by a NICS check in 2008. Jun.2010
  1. Fagan, Jeffrey “Gauging the Effectiveness of Gun Control Laws.” Columbia law school. (10 March,2016.)
  1. DeFillipis, Evan “Having a Gun in the House Doesn’t Make a Woman Safer – The Atlantic.” the (23 Feb,2014. ) 
  1. Wenner Moyer, Melinda. “More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows – Scientific American.” Scientific american. (1 Oct, 2017.)
  1. LaTulip,Kevin P. “ More Guns, Less Crime, by John R. Lott, Jr.Journal of health care law and policy. (2000)
  1. Vargas, Claudia. Chang, David. “More Violence, Less Cops. Why Are There Fewer Police Officers in Philly?.” NBC philadelphia.  (6 May 2021.)
  1. Tung, Liz. “Pennsylvania faces ‘historic shortage of police.’ AG Shapiro, Commissioner Outlaw call on Harrisburg for (15 March, 2022.)

9. Mccormick, Annie “Staffing shortage in the Philadelphia Police Department becoming a crisis.”  Action news Philadelphia,PA. (19 Aug.2022.)

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