There has been a lot of debate around the topic of Gun legislation, whether should the government stringent gun laws or should it make the laws more liberal. In this essay, based on other countries’ experience, I will try to investigate all the aspects of the topic and try to prove that in the case of Georgia gun laws are too austere, and making them more liberal would make this country’s citizens more protected from inner and outer dangers.
Supporters of strong restrictions argue that the fewer guns the citizens have, the less crime is committed, and the fewer people are killed, therefore people are more protected. On the other side of the debate are the people who believe that guns are the most reliable way of self-defense: The criminals are afraid of people who have guns, which serves as an incentive for them to commit less crimes, therefore reducing the overall level of crime in a country. In order to find out which side is correct I will use three research papers which argue about this topic according to Georgia’s and other countries’ statistics.
For my essay I used the following research papers:
“Evaluate and control: Light weapons and people’s security in Georgia” By David Wood and Duncan Hiscox. (Wood, n.d.)
This study provides useful information about gun legislation in Georgia, it informs us with important statistics, mentions reasons for increased crime in this country, and acquires about Georgians’ attitude to this topic. The weakness of this survey is that it was conducted in 2005, but still, it is reliable to conceptualize the whole picture.
“Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003” By Christopher S. Koper. (Koper, 2004)
This study provides us with the conclusion that gun control laws, such as the ban of Assault Rifles, gradually but still might reduce gun violence, but the research does not conclude whether it reduces or not crimes rates in total.
“Will Giving Up Our Guns Really Make Us Safer? An International Survey of Gun Laws and Violent Crimes” By Elizabeth Uliano Giblin (Giblin, n.d.)
This survey answers the question: “does banning firearms indeed end violence or does it just end gun violence?”. The author examines nine nations, their gun laws, and their violent crime rates in order to determine if guns make a nation safer or more dangerous. Elizabeth Giblin explores and compares countries with constitutional right to bear arms, nations where guns are permitted and easily accessible and countries where guns are prohibited except in very limited circumstances. The author concludes that stricter regulation of firearms may diminish the number of firearm-related homicides, which is substantial but will not decrease crime rates in total.
One of the positive sides of mitigating gun laws in Georgia is that it would make citizens able to defend themselves, their families, or other people from criminals which is quite important because the police cannot protect everyone all the time. According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), guns are used for self-defense 2.5 million times a year ( (CDC, 2021)), also 48% of convicted felons surveyed admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed with a gun as James Wright and Peter Rossi’s research “Armed Criminals in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons, 1983,” says (Haltiwanger, 2018)). These stats prove how important guns are for self-defense. On the other hand, apart from self-defense legally obtained guns might be used to commit a crime, the question is which side outweighs, and to find out this we have to use the research papers, which I have already discussed. My goal in this essay is to prove or deny the assumption that the mitigating gun laws in Georgia will make the country safer. In order to get information effects of gun control I use examples from different countries and according to them conclude what will be the approximate effects in the case of Georgia. As Elizabeth Uliano Giblin suggests (Giblin, n.d.) the countries which significantly clamped down gun control in the recent past years are the U.K., Australia, and Japan their rates of homicide are low, the highest out of the three mentioned has 1.1 while the countries which that constitutionally protect the right to bear arms such as U.S., Guatemala, and Mexico have way higher homicide rates: 4.7; 38.5 and 23.7 respectively. Thus, all but the prohibition on gun laws remarkably reduce homicide, but this is not what we want to achieve, low homicide rates do not mean that people in Georgia are safe as they have strict gun laws and a 1.9 homicide rate. The main thing is the effect on crime in total, which as the research suggests, is not affected as the law becomes stricter. For example, assault rate out of the countries mentioned is the highest in the U.K. (601), Australia (307) and U.S. (240); also, the highest rate of sexual violence belongs to the U.K.; Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. (in that order) those three countries have the highest incidents of robbery. As it seems crime in a country cannot be determined by gun control, it can only reduce the homicide rate, so banning firearms does not end violence, but gun violence. The conclusion gained from this data is that bad people exist and will commit violent crimes everywhere in the world no matter the gun restrictions imposed. In the case of Georgia, we have heavily restricted gun laws (Wood, n.d.) (as the data from David Wood’s research suggests photo below) and relaxation of these rules will have an opposite effect, the number of homicides might gradually increase (as (Koper, 2004) research paper concludes) but overall crime rate will not be affected significantly. According to David Wood’s survey, the main reason people commit a crime in Georgia is not because of the number of guns in a country but, because of economic distress, as the research suggests the way to make Georgia safer is to make it richer, more prosperous country.
Clamping down gun laws is reasonable if the only source of guns in a country is purchasing them legally. When illegal guns are easily accessible criminals use the black market to buy them, so we end up with criminals with prohibited guns and law-abiding citizens without a gun at all, moreover, the black market creates a monopoly which helps some groups of criminals to get stronger than other criminals and form a cartel, this only reinforces criminal environment in a country. Therefore, it is intuitive to investigate the number of unlawful guns in Georgia, whether they are easily accessible or not, and their prices in the black market. David Wood in his research paper (Wood, n.d.) easily names accessibility of unlawful guns as one of the most serious problems. He provides us with statistics about the number of legal and illegal guns in Georgia (picture below). Even though these numbers are only approximations, this information still is valid to conclude that number of illegal guns in Georgia is way greater than legal guns. It is worthy of noting that according to David Wood’s research, prices of unlawful guns in the black market of Georgia are low, as the author suggests, the prices are approximately equal to legal guns’ prices. On the report of reasons mentioned above, it seems that in Georgia it is not a big deal for criminals to obtain illegal guns, so softening gun laws' impact on the number of guns the criminal world holds would not be increased and it would weaken the black market and equip citizens with the legal guns.
One of the main reasons people who advocate heavy gun control laws mention is the great number of firearm suicides. For example, in the U.S. in 2019 23 941 people committed suicide with a firearm( (PreventFirearmSuicide, 2021)), it is debatable whether the increase in the number of guns in Georgia would increase suicides or not, but stats provided by WHO and ISD-100 (Picture below) shows that suicide by firearms is not a big problem in Georgia, because only 2 people in Georgia committed suicide by firearm in 2005. These numbers might not express the exact picture, but it is obvious that this argument does not work against relaxing gun control laws in Georgia, because the firearm suicide rate for the given number of firearms in the country is negligible.
By mitigating gun laws Georgian citizens will be protected not only from criminal groups but also from the government. There were a lot of cases in world’s and Georgia’s history when governments tried to go against people’s will and take control of the whole country, some of these attempts failed, but some of them ended up in tyranny. When people are armed the government does not have too much power. In a democracy a country is ruled by people’s will and freedom of citizens is its crucial part, but when the power is held by the government, if the governors decide not to follow people’s will but to take control of a country, armed citizens have more chance to backlash and overthrow the government. One of the goals of the Second Amendment of the constitution of the U.S. is to protect people from tyranny as Wayne LaPierre-the CEO of the National Rifle Association states: “if you look at why our Founding Fathers put it [the Second Amendment] there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny” ( (Rossi, 1983)). Chances of establishing tyranny is way lower in developed countries then in developing countries, in the case of Georgia lightening gun laws and therefore increasing number of citizens holding guns would increase the power of people, decrease chances of tyranny and dictatorship, and empowers democracy. In this case, we would face a positive externality, because people who own guns not only protect themselves from criminals, but also protect other citizens from the dictatorship of the government, thus, we face positive externality which is one more reason to lighten the laws.
The region where Georgia is situated is conflictive, the country is in peril of an incursion from Russia which has already occupied 20% of Georgia and continues unlawful occupation of Georgian land ( (Welna, 2013)). Compared to Russia’s military armament, Georgia’s defense capabilities are miserable, which is logical for such developing and small country. Gun control laws make the citizens of Georgia capable of protecting themselves from foreign invaders. The more people have guns in the country, the more gun training centers, shooting ranges, firing grounds... are opened, because there will be more people who will be willing to get specialized in guns and learn how to properly use them. An increase in armed people in the country will significantly increase the military potential of Georgia and therefore makes people more secure from external enemies. Scott Lee Woodruff talks about the importance of people holding guns and states: ” It is evident that the framers of the Constitution did not intend to limit the right to keep and bear arms to a formal military body or organized militia, but intended to provide for an ‘unorganized’ armed citizenry prepared to assist in the common defense against a foreign invader or a domestic tyrant” ( (Woodruff, n.d.)). A good example of this is 2022 war in Ukraine where people were given guns to protect their country which would be even more effective if the people would be more specialized and well trained, that would be achieved by lightening the gun laws earlier. Thus, mitigation of gun laws not only protects people from the dangers inside the country but also helps them to serve Georgia and protect their country from foreign invaders.
In conclusion, mitigating gun laws in Georgia will increase the number of people holding guns in a country, this might cause an increase in homicide rate, but will not increase crime in the country, moreover, from the arguing above it is obvious that it is easy for criminals to obtain firearms from the black market this makes strong restrictions on firearms less intuitive in Georgia. Also softening gun laws and increase in armed citizens would prevent the government from tyranny and would increase the military potential of the country which is important for Georgia given its geopolitical situation. Therefore, because of the reasons given above, I conclude that mitigation of gun laws in Georgia would make its citizens safer and, thus, the government should relax the gun legislation laws.
- CDC. (2021, 5 4). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/firearms/fastfact.html#:~:text=Estimates%20of%20defensive%20gun%20use,defensive%20gun%20uses%20each%20year
Giblin, E. U. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://scholarship.shu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1477&context=student_scholarship
Haltiwanger, J. (2018, 8 8). Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-quietly-seizing-territory-in-georgia-10-years-after-the-war-2018-8
KLECK, G. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022427803256229
Koper, C. S. (2004). Retrieved from http://dev.journalistsresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/UPennAssaultBan.pdf
PreventFirearmSuicide. (2021, 3). Retrieved from https://preventfirearmsuicide.efsgv.org/about-firearm-suicide/statistics/
Rossi, J. W. (1983). Retrieved from https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/104293NCJRS.pdf
Welna, D. (2013, 4 8). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2013/04/08/176350364/fears-of-government-tyranny-push-some-to-reject-gun-control
Wood, D. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.saferworld.org.uk/downloads/pubdocs/Taking%20stock%20Georgian.pdf
Woodruff, S. L. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cga.ct.gov/asaferconnecticut/tmy/0128/Scott%20Lee%20Woodruff.pdf
|This essay may not be the official postition of the Franklin Club, An essay is written within the Franklin Club's project Franklin freedom defenders.|