|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/11/18 14:53 《SPEAK TO ME》杂志|
The debate on gun control splits America
In 2001, American gun companies produced over 3 million handguns, rifles and shotguns, enough for one for every 93 men, women and children. Every year, over 30,000 Americans are killed by guns, slightly over half in suicide. Every day, twelve children in the United States die in gunfire. What is it with Americans and their guns?
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution says, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ” Gun owners, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), interpret this to mean that the government has no business telling people how many and what kind of guns they can own. Over the years, the NRA has headed off most attempts to restrict gun ownership, insisting that the freedom to own guns is the peoples’ only protection against oppressive government. “Guns don’t kill people,” they say. “People kill people.”
True enough, but studies have shown that a gun kept in the home for “protection” is 22 times more likely to be used on a family member than an intruder. Following several student shootings, high schools across the country have begun to install metal detectors and to search students for weapons at the door. Though the murder rate has dropped in recent years, for a while shootings were so common in some cities that newspapers didn’t bother to report all of them.
People often buy guns because they feel afraid they might become victims of a crime. According to John Donohue of Stanford University, however, “criminals are more likely to use a gun if prospective victims are carrying guns,” creating a vicious cycle. With all these guns so easily available, is it any wonder that so many people are dying?
On the other hand, guns are legal and widely available next door in Canada. How many people are murdered with guns in Canada annually? About a hundred.