What if George Zimmerman didn’t have a gun? Would there still have been an encounter with Trayvon Martin? Would Zimmerman have had the confidence to pursue Trayvon, even after being told to remain in his car by the 911 dispatcher?
Though such questions will never be answered, one thing is certain: “if Zimmerman didn’t have a gun, he wouldn’t have shot to death an unarmed 17-year-old, leaving behind a grieving family and a community forever scarred.” When guns are introduced to a turbulent situation, the resulting violence is more likely to become lethal.” Dozens of studies show that where guns are more readily available, there are more incidents of gun homicide, as well as suicide and accidental shootings. A 2012 study by psychologists James Brockmole and Jessica Witt found that carrying a gun makes the carrier more likely to perceive that the other party in an encounter is also carrying a gun, and as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior.”
“Research also shows that states that have very permissive concealed weapons laws, like Florida does, have higher rates of gun violence.” Laws directly enable certain behaviors; in Florida as well as other states, firearm owners may carry their guns with them at all times, which naturally raises the chances of gun use.
“Gun rights advocates argue that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The George Zimmerman case underscores the fallacy of this argument. Until he shot and killed an unarmed teenager, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman saw himself the quintessential good guy with a gun.” Law-abiding gun owners might unwittingly sell guns to felons or domestic abusers through a private sale. Additionally, legal guns might be stolen in burglaries and then subsequently used on the streets to kill.
“By considering the question ‘what if George Zimmerman wasn’t armed,’ we are forced to consider whether we are better off living in communities where more and more people carry guns and feel empowered to use them. Regardless of the jury’s verdict in the Zimmerman trial, the overwhelming evidence shows that we are not.”
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