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28Mar

Weapons, Personal Protection Equipment and Use of Force Essay

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Essay on Weapons, Personal Protection Equipment and Use of Force

The growing problem of violence in American society evokes numerous discussions concerning effective measures that could decrease violence and minimize the risk of the commitment of violent crimes. It should be pointed out that the main argument often refers to the problem of gun control, which is viewed by the public as the major or, at least, as the most effective means of personal protection. At the same time, issues related to gun control, personal protection equipment and use of force are closely interrelated and basically they have similar effects. At any rate, the use of weapon or other personal protection equipment inevitably raises the issue of the use of force and the main problem arises when it is necessary to adequately assess whether the use of force or personal protection equipment and arms is justified and reasonable. In fact, often it is really difficult to find the borderline between the reasonable and justified use of force and the excessively violent behavior which implies the legal prosecution of the individual. This is why it is possible to estimate that all these issues should be treated in a complex since the use of weapon, personal protection equipment and the use of force are closely interrelated.

At the same time, speaking about the problem of the use of weapon, personal equipment and the use of force, it is hardly possible to avoid the legal debates on these issues. To put it more precisely, the use of weapon, for instance, is controlled by the existing legislation and American citizens have the second amendment right to bare weapon (Kates and Kleck, 1997). The same may be said about the personal protection equipment, which basically targets at the replacement of firearm in order to decrease casualties and minimize the threat to the life of people in case of the use of this equipment. At the same time, both these issues inevitably involve the use of force, which is also strictly regulated by the current legislation. In such a situation, it is obvious that formally the existing legislation regulates all these issues, but the problem is that the effectiveness of such a regulation is argued by specialists (Kates and Kleck, 1997) as well as ordinary Americans.

To put it more precisely, the problem of the use of weapon and the necessity of the strengthening of gun control is widely discussed at the present moment. It proves beyond a doubt that weapon is a source of a great threat to the health and life of people. This is why it is quite natural that views on gun control and possibilities of use of firearm vary consistently from the total prohibition of arm selling to population to quite liberal regulations of the gun market. In this respect, it should be said that the opposite views on gun control are determined by different approaches to the use of gun by non-professional, i.e. people that do not use weapon in their professional work, such as police officers, military, etc.

At the same time, the problem of gun control is closely related to crimes that are committed with the help of firearm. It is not a secret that many violent crimes are committed with the use of weapon. In such a situation, the gun and crime relation proves to be beyond a doubt (Kellermann, 1994). In this respect, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that on the one hand, weapon and crime are intertwined and interdependent and the solution of both problems may be common, whereas on the other hand, some specialists (Roleff, 2003) doubt that strict gun control would prevent crimes. To put it more precisely, the supporters of the prohibition of weapon sales argue that this will limit the access to weapon of people who could misuse it or use it for criminal purposes, while their opponents argue that criminals will get arms in illegal way and the prohibition of weapon sales and weapon possession, which implies the violation of the second amendment, will make ordinary American defenseless in face of an armed criminal.

However, on analyzing the problem of the use of force with the application of firearm, it is also necessary to clearly distinguish gun accidents and self-defense. This means that along with the legal defense, including the use of force and firearm, as well as personal protection equipment, this may also lead to accidents, which has nothing in common with self-defense. In fact, cases when children or adolescents as well as adults were injured in the result of gun accident are not rare, while the use of force and weapon in terms of self-defense is justified and legally correct.

In order to minimize the risk of gun accidents and misuse of weapon, it is necessary to conduct a deep analysis and study of the character of gun owners as well as the character of those who use the gun. In such a way, it will be possible to decrease the number of accidents and crimes involving weapon use. It is very important to take into consideration personal traits of character and psychological peculiarities in gun regulation acts as well as acts regulating the use of personal protection equipment, which can be also quite harmful for the health of people and even lead to fatal outcomes. In this regard it is necessary to realize that gun and personal protection equipment control is not only social or economic problem but it is also a serious psychological problem.

In addition, it is possible to remind that the use of weapon is closely interrelated with the problem of suicide which is highly dependent on the gun ownership. The studies (Kellermann, 1992) have revealed the fact that those homes with gun are more likely to be the scene of suicide than those homes without guns. in homes in King County and Shelby County. Each household where suicide was committed was compared with a ‘control’ or ‘normal’ household without suicide acts. The researchers took into consideration victims’ sex, age and race and then compared both ‘suicide’ and ‘normal’ households. They revealed the fact that were the most likely to presuppose, namely they found that ‘cases’ (suicides) were more likely than ‘controls’ to live alone, taken prescribe medication for depression or mental illness, drug addiction, etc. But they also found that even after taking into consideration all these factors, keeping one or more guns in the home increased the risk of suicide act five-fold. Thus, the presence of firearms may be provocative for committing a suicide and warns gun owners about this danger.

Furthermore, the problem of the inability of legislators and law enforcement agencies to struggle effectively against the excessive use of force may be partially explained by the fact that they do not have enough information about violence and its causes that result in difficulties in finding effective strategies to reduce violence. In other words, each case of the use of force needs to be assessed individually, but it is not always possible to find adequate criteria to assess whether the use of force or weapon or personal protection equipment was justified by self-defence, or probably it was excessive. This is why it is important to develop standard which could help qualify the use of force adequately.

As for the use of weapon, it should be said that nowadays there is no system to identify or track rates of firearm related injuries that is important to the development of gun control policy. In this regard, it is possible to recommend several ways of improvement the situation: a) to create a fatal firearm injury reporting system; b) to continue monitoring of firearm related injuries by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), coupled with efforts to link firearm injury data with law interview enforcement offense reports; c) to add questions about firearm injuries to interview survey; d) to refine the National Crime Victimization survey to give a clearer picture of the frequency of gun use for crime and self-defense; and, finally, e) to implement a national gun registration system to make every gun sale subject to reporting (Roleff, 2003). In fact it is necessary to fill in this information gap since it could prevent a lot of problems, including homicide and suicide.

In this respect, it is possible to refer to a recent study (Roleff, 2003) that was mainly based on data gathered on the territory of the USA and it reveals that very often gun is a main cause of numerous injuries and even deaths that occur regularly in the whole country. In terms of this study, the impact of handgun ownership on the rates of crimes in two big cities, Vancouver and Seattle, was researched. These two cities had quite similar legislative, social and economic conditions but what they were different in was their approach to gun control. In Vancouver, gun control is less strict and citizens could relatively easy buy gun. On the contrary, in Seattle gun control is strict and it is quite difficult to buy gun. However, despite this significant difference, on analyzing data gathered in both cities, the researchers came to the conclusion that the rates of homicide in Seattle was 63 percent higher than in Vancouver. It is possible to explain this difference by a five-fold higher rate of firearm homicide in Seattle while non-firearms homicide rates were practically similar. In such a way, a limited access to firearm and strict gun control may reduce the rate of homicide in the community.

In such a situation, the introduction of personal protection equipment is viewed by many specialists (Roleff, 2003) as a safer alternative to the use of firearm. However, the use of personal protection equipment does not really solve the problem of violence since this equipment could be used by offenders, though outcomes of its use may be not so harmful as that of firearm. Nevertheless, in terms of public safety, personal protection equipment may be viewed as a part of gun control policy targeting at the reduction of crimes and accidents related to the use of weapon, but the use of personal protection equipment should also be carefully regulated.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problems of the use of weapon, personal protection equipment and the use of force are closely interrelated and their solution should involve the regulation of weapon, personal protection equipment and the use of force. In fact, American society does not seem to be ready for the total ban of firearm or its substitution by personal protection weapon, but the minimization of the use of both may contribute to the decrease of the unnecessary and excessive use of force.

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