The events that have taken place in Newtown, Connecticut in recent weeks are some of the most tragic we have seen in years. There is now a constant, politicized debate about how the Government should react to this horrific event, of which has taken precedent over other pressing issues, including the Fiscal Cliff. The left has always been pushing for tighter gun regulation, but now they have taken it a step further, and are nearly demanding it. Some members of the right have stated that they would support tighter restrictions on certain weapons.
But this makes me think of the obvious; Why don’t we examine the historical and present day experiments regarding gun laws? There have been dozens of important lessons we can learn from regarding how to prevent violence like the violence demonstrated in Newtown. My favorite example is in Kennesaw, Georgia.
1. Kennesaw, Georgia.
It’s 1982, and the city council passes a law calling for compulsory gun ownership among each and every household in city limits. Each family was legally bound to own at least one gun, and this was challenged heavily by the media. “Violence will go through the roof- crime, family violence, and suicides,” the national media was saying in regards to this law. This was a consistant theme throughout the media, to portray the city as a future place of violence. The next year, overall crime dropped an astonishing 89%. Yes, 89%. The media didn’t say a word about their gun law again.
2. Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago has the tightest gun laws in the nation. In Chicago, guns are banned, and if you’re caught with one, it’s jail time. And yet, ever since the ban has been enacted, Chicago has been considered the most deadly city in the world. The homocide rate by Gun is larger than the homicide rate in Afganistan, and nearly 10 people die by gun homicides every single day. All of this since the gun ban.
In Israel, Military service is compulsory. Every Israeli who is capable of shooting a gun is enlisted into the military, and they can take their weapons home from work. They have gun regulation, but general access to a gun is very easy, and yet… the homicide rate by gun (Non-hamas murders) is substantially lower than anywhere else. As a matter of fact, Chicago (This year) has actually had three times the total number of murders in all of the State of Israel.
This is evidence that gun regulation is not necessary for violence prevention, and such regulation may actually backfire and make the situation worse. The focus needs to be on mental health issues and making access to mental health services stronger, along with a larger police presence in schools. As a high school student in a public high school, we do have a police officer on campus. But one is not enough, and all schools need to have at least one (Sandy Hook didn’t have any.)
Pray for Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out the victims, their loved ones, and their entire community.