Honors English 9
8 November 2000
Is It Right for the US?
Over the years there have been many debates about whether or not gun control is a good solution for the United States.As a result, two very distinct sides have formed: one for gun control and one against it.Recently, the pro gun control side has argued that the many school shootings were partly a result of our country’s minimal gun control.To many this may seem like a reasonable argument, but in reality it is an over-generalization; there are many other factors that play a part in horrific events like school shootings.Those against gun control have argued that gun control laws are a violation of citizen’s constitutional rights often saying things like, “to take away the right to have guns is no different from the attempt of the British to “disarm” the colonists during the Revolutionary War” (Hanson 68).But which side is right?Many would say that neither side is completely correct, but when the facts are presented it is obvious that gun control is not a good solution because “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, self-defense is the number one reason for owning a gun, and because the gun control laws that are being instituted do not work (Zimring 13).
It has been said that “unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred it may not matter very much what we do about guns” (20).The fact of the matter is, that is the truth.Those supporting gun control argue that if we restrict guns then murder and crime rates will drop.However, until we solve the hatred in the world there will always be crime and killing.Criminals will find other weapons or find a way to get guns illegally.Studies prove that in areas with more gun laws, crime is higher.Until we can start cracking down on those who commit crimes, gun laws can do nothing to help.It is not the gun that kills, but the person pulling the trigger.
Those who advocate gun control have argued that two-thirds of homicides are committed with a firearm (13).However, even with gun control, homicides would most certainly continue because of human nature (13).Murderers would just turn to another weapon and we would see more homicides committed with knives, axes, clubs, or other weapons (Zimring 13).If someone wants to kill badly enough virtually anything can be turned into a weapon.This can be proven by statistics that show that in cities where there are many gun control laws the crime rate is higher.
It has been argued that gun control laws would help decrease crime rates (Hanson 70).However, studies have proven that gun control laws have the opposite affect.In 1967, New York City passed a rifle and shotgun registration law (70).After the law was passed, crime rates in New York City rose (70).The city of Washington DC passed a handgun ban in 1976, and after that the murder rate in DC tripled (71-72).A 1994 report showed that 304 of Washington DC’s 309 firearm homicides were committed with handguns even though the city had banned handguns (71).Further still, the homicide rate in Washington DC is much higher than the national rate at seventy-five per one hundred thousand; however, the national rate is only 9.5 per one hundred thousand (71).California also has a homicide rate that is 38 percent higher than the rest of the country--even though the state banned assault weapons in 1989 (72).In South Carolina violent crime rose more than 100 percent after they limited the sale of handguns to one per person per month (72).All these statistics prove that gun control is not a solution to our country’s crime problem.We need to crack down on the person pulling the trigger, rather than the availability of guns.
Instead of restricting guns and taking them away from law abiding citizens, a better solution would be to crack down on the criminals and put more emphasis on their punishment (74).Organizations against gun control, like the NRA, suggest reforming the criminal justice system (74).They suggest that the justice system be reformed with five steps (74).First, criminals need to be put in prison (74).71 percent of the criminals sentenced are out on parole or probation (74).Second, adequate sentences need to be imposed (74).On average, criminals serve only one-third of their sentence (74).Third, the system needs to get tough with repeat offenders (74).As many as 237 crimes are committed each year by repeat offenders (74).Fourth, juveniles who commit adult crimes need to serve adult time (74).Only 1.5 percent of juvenile offenders serve time (74).Last, the victims need to be involved in the sentencing process (74).These reforms would help to reduce crime, and instead of punishing everyone, only those deserving punishment would suffer.
Those for gun control argue that restricting guns would help to reduce crime and killing, but the facts show that if guns were banned murderers would use other weapons to kill.The facts also show that in reality gun control has the opposite affect: as more gun control is added, crime rates go up.Finally, because it is the person pulling the trigger that does the killing, not the gun itself, we need to crack down on those doing the killing.Guns can also be used in positive ways, like hunting, collecting, or most importantly self-defense.More often than one would think, the ownership of a gun can mean the difference between life and death.
Texas legislator Suzanna Gratia Hupp remembers, “how her parents were killed with twenty others in a Texas cafeteria massacre in 1991” (qtd. in Dickens para. 30).She said she had a shot at the gunman, but wasn’t carrying her pistol because back then it was against the law (para. 30).“Had my legislators not legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family, we would have had a chance, at least a chance to protect ourselves” (qtd. in para. 30).
What would have happened if Suzanna Gratia Hupp had had her gun with her?Would her parents or one of those twenty other people be here today?No one could say for sure.This is just one of the many instances that makes self-defense the number one reason for owning a gun (Zimring 30).
First, the statistics show that the most common reason for owning a gun is self-defense (30).Criminologist, Gary Kleck, says handguns are used 2.5 million times each year for self-defense (Dickens para. 29).One poll showed that 66 percent of those owning a gun, which they kept in their home, listed “protection” as their reason for owning the gun (Zimring 30).Another survey of US adults found that 71 percent of those owning a handgun owned it only for self-defense and protection (30).The facts prove that self-defense is the number one reason for owning a gun, but why?
The answer to that question is that criminals are humans too, and it is human nature to be afraid of something that could potentially kill.It has been proven that criminals attack those they consider weak; therefore, attacking those who are unarmed (Kim 43).Studies have shown that criminals fear armed citizens and therefore may be deterred by the knowledge that everyday citizens can purchase guns (Zimring 33).But if gun control laws change that, another crime deterrent is lost.Not only are criminals deterred from homes by guns, but they can also be deterred from businesses by guns (33).If gun control laws continue to get tighter and tighter, soon we will have nothing left to deter those criminals.Luckily, we have not reached that point--yet.
More studies have shown that areas that allow handguns have lower crime rates; proving, that guns are a major deterrent of crime (32).One study shows that states allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons have reduced murders by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent, and robbery by 3 percent (Kim 74).In 1982 the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law that required the head of each household to keep a firearm in the house (Hanson 72).Since the city passed this law, crime has dropped 16 percent while the population has doubled (72).Florida passed a law in 1987 to allow concealed weapons and the state murder rate dropped 27 percent (71).As these facts show, guns are a major form of self-defense and a major deterrent of crime.
It has been said that “preventing law abidingcitizens from carrying handguns does not end violence, but merely makes them more vulnerable to attack” (Kim 76).The statistics and facts show that this is the truth.Criminals fear citizens that are armed and are deterred by guns (Hanson 72).The states with the least amount of gun control have the lowest crime rates.For these reasons, the purpose of owning a gun is more for a feeling of safety than anything else (Zimring 32).
A former Washington DC police chief was quoted saying, “What has the gun control law done to keep criminals from getting guns?Absolutely nothing” ( qtd. in Hanson 71).In 1998, the Brady Law took the next step and made the original five day background checks instant (Fields A1-A2).To many this latest step may seem like it improves the law, but that is not the case.Some states do not keep the records required for this system to work, and some states can not open the records needed, which makes the system full of loopholes (A1-A2).
Others argue that the new instant checks work better than the old checks which had a five day waiting period (A1-A2).However, when someone goes to purchase a gun there are three categories which are checked instantly by running the buyer’s name through an FBI database (A1-A2).The categories are:mental incompetence, domestic abuse, and court-ordered restraining orders (A1-A2).If the purchaser has any background in any of the three categories, has committed a felony, or is wanted in connection with a crime they are not able to purchase the gun (A1-A2).This system would work great too--if all the states kept these records.Three states do not keep track of court-ordered restraining orders (A1-A2).Some states, like Louisiana, document domestic abuse offenses differently and have no way to tell whether the offender got in a fight with their spouse or got into an altercation at a bar (A1-A2).These differences in documentation make it difficult for the system to work and easy for criminals to fall through the cracks.
Not only do some states not keep the right kinds of records, but other states can not open certain records (A1-A2).Twenty-eight states can not open mental competency records because of privacy policies (A1-A2).A system that leaves the possibility of a mentally incompetent person obtaining a gun can not work.Only nineteen states can check all three categories, that is only 38 percent (A1-A2).38 percent is a failing grade in school.Does that mean this country is relying on a gun control law that would receive an F?
The fact that some states do not keep records and others can not open records makes this system full of cracks for criminals to slip through.Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston says that it is, “impossible, at least in the short term, for this system to work.It’s too big, too cumbersome and it lacks uniformity from state to state” (qtd. in Fields A1-A2).If the instant check database does not bring up anything on the buyer, they can walk away with the weapon then and there (A1-A2).Even Sarah Brady, founder of Handgun Control Inc. says, “there’s a whole gamut of people who are going to fall through the system” (qtd. in Fields A1-A2).Just because a state does not have or keep records of a certain type should not mean that a prospective gun buyer can walk away with a gun without being checked.
Truly, the new instant check system appears to be moving forward with leaps and bounds, but it is really traveling light years backwards.As stated before, a system that lacks uniformity between the states can not work (A1-A2).With this system we might as well be opening the doors to a gun store and saying to criminals, “Come and take what you want!”If we are going to try to institute gun control laws they should at least work.
Thomas Jefferson, a man considered by many to be a great leader, once said, “What country can preserve it’s liberties if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance?Let them take arms” (qtd. in Shade’s Landing Inc.).If we allow gun control laws are we not giving up the right that the second amendment guarantees us?In conclusion, gun control laws are not a wise solution for the US.First, we need to crack down on criminals, not law abiding citizens because it is not the guns that are doing the killing, but the people (Zimring 13).Until we get tough with criminals, it will not matter what we do about guns (20).Second, if guns are restricted, then a major form of self-defense is taken away.Should the government be allowed to strip citizens of their feeling of safety by taking away guns?Third, the gun control laws that are being instituted make it easier for criminals to slip through the cracks and obtain guns.How can a system that has this many holes really work?By no means is gun control a good solution for our country.
Dickens, Geoffrey. Media Research Center. Outgunned:How the Network News Media Are
Spinning the Gun Control Debate. 5 Jan. 2000.
Fields, Gary. “Will Gun Checks Misfire?” USA Today 30 Nov. 1998, home ed. : A1-A2.
Hanson, Freya Ottem. The Second Amendment: The Right to Own Guns. Enslow: Springfield,1998.
Kim, Henny H. ed. Guns and Violence. Greenhaven: San Diego, 1999.
Shade’s Landing Inc. Firearms and Liberty Site. 12 Apr. 2000.
Zimring, Franklin E., and Gordon Hawkins. The Citizen’s Guide to Gun Control. Macmillan: New York, 1987.
Argumentative Essay on Gun Control
Gun control is a controversial subject in the United States of America. In the wake of so many tragic mass shootings, like the recent Las Vegas Shooting, the conversation tends to pull in two directions: Those who believe gun laws should be less strict and those pushing for more restrictions.
When you are writing a gun control argumentative essay, you are free to take any side you want, unless your instructor specifically tells you to take a certain side. What matters is that whichever position you choose, ensure you have good points and supporting facts.
In this gun control essay, I have decided to take a pro gun control approach: strict regulation up to and including an outright ban on firearms. In fact, my thesis statement for this for argumentative essay is stricter gun control laws should be enacted and implemented if the United States is to solve the problem of mass shootings and reduce crime within its borders.
My essay is divided into three basic parts, the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
Here is my gun control argumentative essay. Enjoy!
Stricter Gun Control Laws Should Be Adopted
The pervasive gun culture in the United States of America is a creation of the country’s frontier expansion, revolutionary roots, colonial history, and the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment stipulates, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (Cornell.edu, 2017). The argument fronted by proponents of stricter gun control laws is that the amendment targeted militias and not the common citizen. They are of the view that gun control restrictions have always been there and that they serve to enhance the security of the country and the various states. The opponents however argue that through the provisions of the Second Amendment, individuals have the right to own guns. Their view is that individuals need guns for self-defense and that gun ownership thwarts criminal activities. This paper argues that stricter gun control laws should be enacted and implemented if the United States is to solve the problem of mass shootings and reduce crime within its borders (my argumentative essay thesis statement).
On 1st October, 2017, the US witnessed one of the worst mass shooting incidences in its history, probably the worst. The shooting, as observed by Swift (2017), was conducted by a common US citizen who was a gun owner. Following the incidence, there has been rage and confusion all over the country as to whether the gun control debate is still relevant. A whopping 59 people died in the incidence with 500 others sustaining serious injuries (Swift, 2017). This incidence alone, the Second Amendment notwithstanding, tells why the country is in dire need of very strict gun control laws. Nothing can compensate for human life and it is even worse when life is lost at the hands of another human being. It becomes more serious when one person decides to kill, without stopping to think, as many people as time and other factors would allow them to! The latest gun incidence is a clear sign that the threat of lives being lost due to misuse of personal guns is more real than the threat of one losing their life due to lack of self-defense.
Given the latest mass shooting incidence, together with such other past incidences, it could be safely argued that the Second Amendment is being misinterpreted to mean what the framers of the Constitution never intended nor meant. It is high time that the three branches of the federal government, together with the states, sought a clear reinterpretation of “well-regulated militia”. It cannot be that those who effected this amendment “authorized” what was recently witnessed in Las Vegas. As pointed out by Insana (2017), “The Founding Fathers, who lived before the invention of the Gatling gun, could not have envisioned civilians commanding the right to hunt turkeys, or humans, with modern ferocity”. The Second Amendment is surely not a leeway for citizens to have unlimited rights to own guns. A well-regulated militia should imply that a state, or the country, adequately serves its law enforcement agencies with the right ammunition and weaponry so as to ensure security. This has however unfortunately been misinterpreted to mean anyone can own a gun.
Stricter gun control laws would reduce deaths resulting from individually owned guns. Street (2016) reports that between 1999 and 2013, the number of gun deaths totaled to 464,033. Out of this, 270,237 were gun suicide cases, 9,983 were unintentional deaths, while 174,773 were homicides. It is thus crystal clear that mass shooting is not the only way in which guns are being used for the wrong purposes. It is emerging that giving an American citizen the right to own a gun is akin to giving them a shorter way of executing their evil plan of killing themselves, if they had it that is. If a gun is meant for self-defense and crime prevention, isn’t gun suicide the exact opposite of this? As a matter of fact, one would be safer from their own selves without a gun than with a gun. This is why it should be made tremendously difficult for people to acquire guns.
Opponents of gun control laws argue that introduction of such laws would deny people a sense of safety by infringing upon their right to self-defense. This argument is oblivious of the fact that weak gun control laws compromise even the safety of the gun holder himself or herself (Purcell, 2013). Moreover, it is the role of the federal government to ensure that every American citizen is always safe irrespective of the part of the country they find themselves. Building and maintaining strong security agencies is enough to ensure this. On the same note, the “right to self-defense” argument would lose its meaning if an individual cannot first of all defend themselves against themselves. When a person knowingly or unknowingly harms themselves using a gun they own, it means they lack the very self-defense they acquired the gun for.
The enactment and implementation of very strict gun control laws by the US is long overdue. People cannot continue butchering innocent citizens in the name of enjoying the provisions of the Second Amendment. If it is the Second Amendment that is creating all this loss of life and lawlessness, it should be thoroughly reinterpreted so that it works in the best interest of all Americans. Nobody has the right of taking their own life and that of others. It is sad that gun ownership perpetuates this phenomenon. This discussion reveals that gun ownership is neither promoting self-defense nor deterring crime but promoting the same.
Cornell.edu. (2017). Second Amendment. LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment
Insana, R. (2017). The Time for Polite Debate on Gun Control Is Over. CNBC. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/05/the-time-for-polite-debate-on-gun-control-is-over.html
Purcell, T. (2013). Shotgun Republic: The Gun Control Debate. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Street, C. (2016). Gun Control: Guns in America, the Full Debate, More Guns Less Problems? No Guns No Problems?. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Swift, H. (2017). Gunman’s Girlfriend Arrives in U.S. and Is Expected to Be Questioned. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/us/las-vegas-shooting-live-updates.html
A break down of my gun control argumentative essay
APA, 6th Edition
Stricter Gun Control Laws Should Be Adopted
I have tried to design the introduction in such a way that it attracts the attention of the reader and gives him an idea of the essay’s focus. My first sentence comprises of some startling information: The pervasive gun culture in the United States of America is a creation of the country’s frontier expansion, revolutionary roots, colonial history, and the Second Amendment. It is not totally new information to the readers. In fact, it is a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point that I wish to make. It is followed by a sentence of elaboration. In addition, I have tried to ground the reader with some information that is relevant to understand my thesis. Lastly, I have finished my paragraph with a thesis statement for my argumentative essay.
The body of my gun control essay contains reasons + evidence to support my thesis. Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that identifies the main idea of that paragraph. If you have read the essay, you can see that my explanations try to answer a simple question: how does this evidence support my thesis?
I have tried to sum up my points and provide a final perspective on gun control in an effort to bring closure to the reader. I have reviewed my main points, trying not restate them exactly, and tried to briefly describe my feelings concerning the topic. I was unable to find a good anecdote that would have ended my essay in a useful way.
Though, I won’t recommend it, I have used some news articles from cnbc and nytimes as part of my references. I would advise you to go for more credible sources such as peer reviewed articles and journals.
Would you like to read an abortion argumentative essay?
Let me hear your thoughts (suggestions, complaints and compliments are welcome).