Offences of violence involving firearms are rising faster than violent crime rates themselves. The principal concern is with concealable hand-guns which may be carried illegally on the person, and with the uncontrolled purchase of such weapons, frequently on a one-time basis per individual. However, the same inadequate controls allow firearms to be sold in quantities, and in some countries, permit sales to unidentified persons of automatic weapons, explosives and other arms.
30,000 people die from gunfire each year in the USA. A typical year in the USA will see 52% of murders committed with a handgun, with rifles or shotguns accounting for another 13%. Only 35% of homicides are committed without firearms. One in ten deaths of children aged 1 to 20 in the USA are due to firearms. There are 25 million pistols and revolvers in the US. About 2 million new weapons of this type are placed in the US market each year.
Under current US gun laws, only convicted felons are prevented from legally purchasing guns, whereas mentally ill persons – however severe their condition – are free to purchase guns. Should this be changed? Would it be an unfair violation of privacy to deny the mentally ill the right to buy guns?
Gun control is the thin-edge of the wedge to allow greater government interference and regulation of individual, constitution-granted personal liberties. Every male of fighting age in Switzerland has at least one firearm in his house and there is little abuse. It is not the weapons that need regulation, but people's behaviour and the economic inequities in the world system that give rise to crime.