Gun ownership is expressly protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Although the federal government is more limited in its ability to regulate the sale and ownership of guns, many state and local laws exist to do the same. These laws seek to address the possession and sale of firearms and can affect how we use them in our lives.
Why do you own a gun? Who you are and why you own a gun could tell us how you might use it, according to new statistics from the Pew Research Center. What does the research say?
- Three out of five gun owners are male.
- Women are more likely to own a gun for personal protection.
- Approximately one-third of gun owners go hunting.
- Men are more likely to have a loaded, accessible gun in the home.
Children and young adults more likely to die in accidental shootings
So, the stats show that most people use a gun for personal protection instead of hunting. Although more women own a gun for personal protection, more men have one loaded and ready in their homes. Unfortunately, access to a weapon is more likely to lead to an accidental shooting death, especially among people under the age of 25.
The gun death statistics in Chicago reflect this sentiment. According to Chicago Sun-Times, most victims of accidental shooting deaths in the city from 2014 to 2016 were children, with more than half of those deaths occurring in the home.
The penalties for unlawful discharge in Illinois
Everyone who owns a gun must use it responsibly and lawfully. Unlawful discharge in Illinois is a Class 2 felony, with charges increasing in aggravated or homicidal circumstances. Even if you as the parent or gun owner did not fire the weapon, you could still be held responsible under the law.
Promoting safe gun ownership
According to SafeKids.org, adults can safely store a gun by ensuring that it is unloaded and clean when not in use. Further, a gun and its ammunition should always be stored and locked separately. Education courses are also available to children to teach them how to handle a weapon safely.
These measures can seem burdensome to the two-thirds of people who use a gun for personal protection, but they are necessary to encourage responsible gun ownership and reduce the chances of unlawful discharge regardless of how you use your weapon.