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Stronger Gun Control Laws Will Save Lives Editor: Christine Watkins Date: 2012 From: Guns and Crime Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company Series: At Issue Document Type: Viewpoint essay Length: 1,932 words Content Level: (Level 5) Lexile Measure: 1350L

Full Text: Article Commentary

“Ten Myths About Gun Violence in America,” LCAV.org, 2009. Copyright © 2009 by Legal Community Against Violence. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.

The Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) is a national public interest law center dedicated to preventing gun violence and to providing legal assistance in support of gun violence prevention.

With nearly 400,000 gun crimes committed every year, the United States has the highest rate of firearm deaths (more than 30,000 each year) among twenty-five high-income nations. Clearly, stronger and more effective gun control laws are needed to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to better protect the public. Furthermore, despite what the gun lobby claims, most Americans are in favor of common-sense gun laws because they understand that such laws will, in fact, help reduce gun violence. If guns really kept us safe, the United States would be the safest nation in the world, since we own an estimated 270 million firearms—approximately 90 guns for every 100 people. Far from keeping us safe, guns are used to kill more than 30,000 Americans each year and injure approximately 70,000. Guns are also used to commit nearly 400,000 crimes each year. The rate of firearm violence in America far exceeds that of other industrialized nations, where gun ownership is strictly regulated.

Although many people own guns for self-protection, studies have repeatedly shown that a gun in the home increases the risk of firearm-related death or injury to a household member. According to those studies, a gun kept in the home is more likely to be involved in an accidental shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill an intruder in self-defense.

Convicted felons and other prohibited persons are able to buy guns easily from unlicensed sellers in undocumented transactions.

In addition, no evidence exists to support the claim that society would be safer if more people carried concealed guns in public. Evidence shows that permissive concealed carry laws may increase crime. Moreover, common sense tells us that putting more guns into more hands does not make anyone safer: it merely increases the odds that everyday disputes will escalate into deadly encounters.