Arguments For and Against Gun Control
Quick Poll- before you read
Are you FOR or AGAINST stricter gun control laws?
The recent tragedy in Connecticut has the entire country chattering about gun control. Many people are angry and believe that the lives lost are not being remembered. But what better way to honor their precious little lives than creating new legislation, the American way that prevents this from happening, hopefully ever again.
Gun control in the United States is rooted in the Federal Constitution under the 2nd amendment. In essence, the 2nd amendment was created so that the people would have arms to overthrow a tyrannical government. Federally, this interpretation has been upheld, most recently in 2010.
Gun laws then vary based on each state’s rulings. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence notes that “40% of gun sales nationwide take place without a criminal background check” and that “2,793 children and teens were killed by guns in 2009… along with 75 adult Americans every day”. You can find a synopsis of each state’s gun laws here.
Gun Issuance Laws in the United States
Explanation of Terms
- Unrestricted: No permit is required to carry a concealed firearm
- Shall Issue: Authorities shall issue a permit to those meeting law requirements, regardless of intent
- May Issue: Applicant must demonstrate a specific need for use of a firearm
- No Issue: No concealed carry permits will be issued or honored (as in those from other states)
Arguments FOR GUNS
1. The 2nd amendment of the Constitution has been interpreted that citizens have the right to bear arms. Specifically, there are two clauses. The first reads “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”. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the 2nd amendment does give individuals the right to own guns for lawful purposes including protection of homes and self-defense. This was appealed in 2010 but was again, affirmed. How many more times are we going to bother the Supreme Court when it has already made a ruling?
2. Citizens have the right to own arms to protect themselves. If someone had guns on school campuses, gunmen looking to cause major damage could be shot and more lives would be saved.Statistics have shown that in the places with high rates of homicide by firearm, there is no real correlation with gun ownership.
3. Hunting and shooting are legitimate sports that take skill. Hunting also provides a necessary service of keeping certain animal populations from becoming a problem. This also provides meat for people to eat and a way for people to be self-sufficient.
4. Hunting, gun collecting, and firearm sports stimulate the economy. Over $123 million is collected by the federal government from firearm and firearm related sales. That's not counting the $525 million collected for licensing and fees. The number of people employed by the firearms industry is over 35,000.
Arguments AGAINST GUNS
1. Many issues were seen by the Supreme Court more than once. If the social justice laws of 1964 were since 20 or 30 years earlier, they would have been voted against as well. The Constitution was made to be slightly malleable depending on the social culture of its people. The United States is a progressive place and the population make up is continually changing. Shouldn’t the laws reflect this?
2. I read a statistic in college that you are more likely to get hurt by your own gun than you are to be robbed, the thing you are protecting yourself from. Just owning a gun puts you more at risk for being hurt by that gun, so why do it?
The NRA writes on their website “gun sales in the state [Virginia] have climbed 73% since 2006, while the number of violent crimes involving guns has declined by more than 27%”. Interestingly enough, the Guardian published this statistic, saying:
The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world- there are 89 guns for every 100 Americans, compared to 6 in England and Wales… And the murder figures themselves are astounding for Brits, used to around 550 murders per year. In 2011 - the latest year for which detailed statistics are available - there were 12,664 murders in the US. Of those, 8,583 were caused by firearms.
Although the statistics do not show a correlation between gun ownership and gun violence, they do not take other factors into account. California is a heavily populated state, with over 239 people per square foot. If a California man accidentally fires his gun in his yard and kills his neighbor, it is homicide by firearm. It is also more likely that the shot would hit someone because of the population density. This would not be the same for a man in New Jersey, where the population density is the lowest of all fifty states.
Adding to the confusion is the use of the term homicide. Homicide is not the same as murder; it is merely the act of one human being killing another. Homicides by firearms could include accidental deaths, including those from hunting accidents. Gun ownership may not lead to a correlation to murder, but it certainly leads to homicide and one life lost to a firearm is one too many.
Also, these statistics may be skewed because of plea bargaining. Often pleas are made for crimes that didn’t exactly happen. A man may have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, firearm but because he takes a plea, the firearm charge is dropped, along with a few years on his sentence. These types of changes may not be reflected in the stats.
3. Hunting is not a legitimate process for animal population control. The deer and elk population has recently been attacked by coyotes, their natural predators. Hunting is just another way humans are destroying the natural order of the animal kingdom. There are very specific laws concerning what kind, sex, and how many animals one may hunt in certain areas. The math, however, is estimated and those as young as 16 are trusted to be able to discern from a male or female animal. There is too much room for error. Now we are talking about lost human and animal lives.
It is rare for a person to solely rely on hunting to survive or make a living. There have also been reports on the healthfulness of eating deer meat after it has been shot. Often times the lead from the bullets ruin the meat for human consumption. The population issue also ties in that some are bred in captivity to be eaten, so why do we need to hunt them?
4. NASCAR is also a legitimate recreational sport. However, those who own NASCAR racecars are still not permitted to drive their cars around going 200 mph. Gun owners and hunters should not be allowed to carry their sport tools around town, either.
Types of guns also matter. A handgun is not used for hunting and yet neither is an AK-47 (both legal). The minimum level of ammunition and power for the specific activity should be closely monitored.
We can all pinpoint little defining moments in our lives. These shape how we react to the world and what we believe in. I have been a passionate supporter of gun control my entire life. The saying goes, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” when the truth is guns just make death easier to dish out. When I was 2 years old my father committed suicide with a gun from his collection. Not long before this my maternal grandmother was murdered by a liquor store owner with a double barrel shotgun who thought she was trying to rob the store. I share these personal stories to inspire you to search your own background and figure out if this is an issue you can just stand by and watch innocent people continue to get hurt.
I’m not saying the guns were the main issue, because all people have issues, but that is precisely my point. It is the access to guns that is the problem. We bar access to everything. You must be a certain age to see specific movies, to buy super glue and spray paint. So why is it still so easy to buy a gun?!
I tried my best to show both sides, although every piece will have its bias. I do not necessarily agree with all of the arguments for either side. This is meant as an informative piece of your discovery into this issue. Please, do your own research and share what you find!
Five Arguments Against Gun Control by Take Five Nation
Quick Poll- now that you've read
Have you changed your mind?
Sources and References
- So You Think You Know the Second Amendment?
- Hunting Statistics and Economics
- National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, & Wildlife-Associated Recreation
- The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
- National Rifle Association
- The Guardian
- Gun Laws in Arizona
- The Washington Post
- NRA Institute for Legislative Action
- Statistic Brain