The issue of gun ownership and control has been the source of constant political bickering and controversy since time immemorial. Americans hold guns for various reasons. These include hunting, self-defense, target practice and gun collection. The United States had a population of three hundred and seven million people in 2009. From this population, there were around 300 million guns, with 100 million of them being handguns.
The media popularization of crime and criminal acts has led to a marked increase in gun ownership. Constant media reports showing violent crimes, has created fear in the civilians, which has in turn led to a massive rush to own firearms for self-defense. The second amendment of the United States constitution allows civilians to own guns so long as there is some mild regulation. The reports of gun violence are a constant feature in media news coverage. Such reports fail to show the exact truth about gun ownership. The news fails to show a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of gun ownership. The reports that seem to blame the incident of crime on gun ownership are faulty and biased. For instance, there is a higher rate of gun ownership in Switzerland and Israel than in the United States. Both countries still have lower murder rates than the United States. This report shows that guns do not commit crimes; criminals do.
America has remained a free country due to the laws allowing civilian ownership of guns. Were it, not for such laws, the American Revolution would have never occurred. Confiscation of guns from civilians leads to increased crime, loss of freedom and government oppression. There are lessons to be learnt from history of other countries. When Great Britain banned civilian ownership of guns in 1997, there was a 10% increase in crime. Criminals knew that the civilians were defenseless and could, therefore, take the opportunity to harass them. The government and media should do more to educate the population on responsible ownership and use of guns rather than confiscate them.