Guns in the home Essay

This essay has a total of 939 words and 5 pages.

Guns in the home

Statistics on the National Safe Kids Campaign Website reveals that "Americans possess
nearly 200 million firearms, including 65 million handguns. Approximately one-third of
families with children (representing more than 22 million children in 11 million homes)
keep at least one gun in the home. Gun owners keep firearms in the home for hunting and
recreation (60 percent) or for protection and crime prevention (40 percent)". Although 40
percent seems to be on the minority, households with guns are at higher risk of homicide,
and there are few beneficial effects of gun ownership; as a result, alternative methods
for crime prevention and protection should be adopted.

The most startling examples of these risks usually involve children. Children are very
curious and will stop at nothing to discover new ideas. When they play, it is normal for
them to move about and find bits and pieces around the house. This innocent, normal
behavior becomes dangerous when children start finding guns hidden or lying around. A
typical story was told by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization
working together for nuclear disarmament, (PSR) when "three-year-old Billy Higgins sat in
the corner of his parent's bedroom, trembling and confused, a gun having just gone off in
his hand. His 2 year old sister, Anne Marie, lay motionless on her back, a small hole in
her chest. While playing with his sister, Billy had found his father's loaded handgun in a
bedroom drawer. The father, John Higgins, never dreamed his small children were capable of
finding or using his gun. He was wrong. And his daughter died". ("Billy Higgins")
Obviously, John Higgins thought that he had his gun only accessible to himself, and even
if his kids found it, they would not be able to shoot it. However, the National Safe Kids
Campaign website shows that "Children as young as age 3 are strong enough to pull the
trigger of many of the handguns available in the United States".

Not only are children at risk but also adults. A study by Arthur Kellerman shows that "the
risk of homicide in the home is three times greater in households with guns."(2) He
implies that guns stored in the home are more often used to kill a familiar person than an
intruder. Gun owners do not always know who they're shooting when they pull the trigger,
often the victim of this shooting is a family member. The Orlando Sentinel backs up this
assertion with the following incident on June 4, 2001, Felicia Genter, a 28-year-old
Florida woman shot and killed her husband after mistaking him for a prowler in their home.
(3) No reason seems important enough to have a gun when it is a family member or a loved
one that is put at risk. From this incident, it is clear that protection was not realized;
instead homicide occurred.

The second amendment states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of
a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This
amendment has been used as the justification to allow Americans store guns in their homes
for protective reasons. However, Kellerman's study shows that "a gun in the home is
actually used for self-protection in fewer than 2% of home invasion crimes." (4) As the
evidence suggests, guns are rarely used for protection against home invasion; instead they
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