Gun Control


Introduction

Gun control refers to policies, laws and enforcement measures designed to restrict the use and possession of firearms by individuals. Gun control is a very controversial issue in many countries with debates ranging from whether the restriction on possession of firearms by individuals is not an undue restriction to liberty or whether it is. Strict supporters of gun control opine that restriction of individuals’ use of firearms saves lives and property. In contrast, opponents of gun control laws assert that removal of undue restriction in possession of firearms ensures that the individual can defend himself in times of danger, thus, making for well protected communities.

International Concerns

Gun control is a global issue with each country at liberty to enact her gun control laws and enforcement measures. For example, Japan prohibits the use of firearms of any kind by individuals except for athletic events and hunting. The United Kingdom has limited the use of firearms to activities such as hunting, pest control and target practice. In Nigeria, the regulations of guns are categorized as “permissive”. Permissive in the sense that certain category of individuals (underage children, once convicted felons, drug abusers) cannot be granted license to possess firearms, aside that, individuals can be granted access to possess firearms for self defense. Many other countries of the world have their own laws on how guns and firearms can be possessed by individuals.

Historical Origin of Gun Control

If gun control is strictly defined as the restriction of possession of firearms by individuals to protect the society, then its origins can be traced back to ancient Rome. In ancient Rome, firearms were seen as means of sustaining a standing army. However, laws were enacted to prevent the soldiers from using the arms outside civil duty. Julius Caesar of ancient Rome violated this same law when he used the forces of a standing army to assume Emperor of Rome, a historical event that marked the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. This event was so significant that both the English (Bill of Rights) and United States enacted laws that forbade the maintenance of standing armies in times of peace without the approval of the legislative branch of the government.

Conclusion

The issue of gun control is an emotional and a very controversial topic with each country having its on specific laws. In Nigeria, for instance, it was discovered that the possession of guns by licensed individuals have somewhat increased the protection of the civil society in times of self defense. While this is the case in Nigeria, it might not be the same in other countries.