So a few days ago I was scrolling through BBC Asia when I saw an article about a deadly shooting in South Korea. Early Tuesday morning a man open fired in a convenience store, killing three people. In South Korea, it is against the law to possess or distribute guns. One can only have a gun if they are security personnel, and hunters must keep their guns locked up in police stations. However, most men have experience using firearms due to South Korea’s compulsory military service. Annually, the rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people is 0.06 (GunPolicy).
Great Britain has the “reputation of having some of the tightest gun control laws in the world.” (Library of Congress) The Firearms Act of 1968 defines a ‘prohibited weapon’ and dictates what is illegal in terms of those weapons. It is an offense to “possess, purchase, acquire, manufacture, sell, or transfer these prohibited weapons without the written authority of the Defence Council or Scottish Ministers.” Therefore the only people who are legally able to have guns are officers, members of the armed forces, or those with permission from the Home Secretary. Annually, the rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people is 0.23.
Right here in the United States the rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people is 10.3. Over the last five years there has been an increase in gun-related crimes. We as a nation are divided over the issue of making stricter laws concerning gun possession, especially considering the recent Newtown shooting. Firstly there is the debate of whether current gun laws are sufficient or whether more should be implemented. Then there is the issue of whether less guns would be safer, or more guns – like having guns in schools – would offer more protection. Unfortunately, this has been an ongoing issue for many decades. In the 1990’s, there was a deadly confrontation and siege at Ruby Ridge that resulted in controversy over the actions of federal agents going after the Weaver family. There is still disagreement over “which side” open fired first, but a woman and a young adult were killed in the process, thus escalating the event to a national level. The public was divided over federal rights vs. personal rights, just as it is today. Who should be trusted with guns? Higher ups and people with experience so that they can help prevent crime, or the public so that they can protect themselves?