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Pros and Cons of Gun Control Laws in the US

Updated on November 13, 2016
PaulGoodman67 profile image

Since completing university, Paul has worked as a librarian, teacher, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he currently lives in Florida.

The debate over gun control in the USA is passionate and the issue controversial.  Proponents believe that gun control will reduce violent deaths and murders.  Those opposed believe that controls are an attack on fundamental individual freedoms.
The debate over gun control in the USA is passionate and the issue controversial. Proponents believe that gun control will reduce violent deaths and murders. Those opposed believe that controls are an attack on fundamental individual freedoms. | Source

This article contains a list of the main arguments for and against gun control laws in the USA. The issue of gun control has been intensely debated in the USA over the years.

The discussion never fully goes away and is often reignited by outbursts of gun violence by crazed individuals, such as the Virginia Tech shootings, the attack on U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Some of the arguments over gun control reflect practical concerns, such as issues of self defense and violent crime, some reflect values and traditions, and others are more legalistic in nature and revolve around different interpretations of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

Here are the essential pros and cons of gun control laws.

This battle for 'common-sense' gun control laws pits emotion and passion against logic and reason. All too often in such a contest, logic loses. So, expect more meaningless, if not harmful, 'gun control' legislation. Good news - if you're a crook.

— Larry Elder

Yes, people pull the trigger - but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.

— Eliot Spitzer

Pros of Gun Control

  • The main argument for gun control is that it would reduce violent crime and mortalities, especially in urban areas. Guns make it much easier to kill people. As well as killing others, guns also make it easier for people to commit suicide and kill themselves.
  • The ‘Self-defense’ argument in favor of guns is often used against gun control laws, but research suggests that guns in the home are far more likely to kill a friend or a household member, than an intruder.
  • The collective self-defense argument that the USA needs militia groups to protect the country from the threat of invasion are spurious, to say the least, given the power of the US military. Some amateur militia groups within the USA, who are answerable to no one, are actually more potentially dangerous than foreign powers.

  • There are ethical arguments as to why the Second Amendment is not absolute. Basically, no right is absolute if it clashes with other rights. For example, even the right to free speech is restricted if you accuse a public figure of disreputable behavior, when you know this to be false. Neither are you allowed to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, when you know there is no danger.
  • There are also legal arguments regarding the Second Amendment’s statement on the right to bear arms. For example, “The people” who are referred to in the Second Amendment are a group who form part of a “well-regulated” militia. It essentially asserts a state’s right to have a militia and does not mean that every individual citizen has the right to bear arms.
  • There are also questions regarding where to draw the line with regard to private armaments. Guns were the predominant weapon at the time of the American Revolution, but nowadays we have bazookas, plastic explosives, bomber aircraft, and tanks – should any private citizen be allowed to own those items too?

The headquarters of The National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Virginia.  The NRA is a strong lobby group, as well as offering programs that  teach firearm competency and safety to youth and adults, as well as civilians and law enforcement.
The headquarters of The National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Virginia. The NRA is a strong lobby group, as well as offering programs that teach firearm competency and safety to youth and adults, as well as civilians and law enforcement. | Source

You can have all the gun control laws in the country, but if you don't enforce them, people are going to find a way to protect themselves. We need to recognize that bad people are doing bad things with these weapons. It's not the law-abiding citizens, it's not the person who uses it as a hobby.

— Michael Steele
Police arriving at the Sandy Hook Elementary School after 20 children and 6 adult staff members were shot by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.  Proponents of gun control believe that there needs to be more regulation of gun sales and ownership.
Police arriving at the Sandy Hook Elementary School after 20 children and 6 adult staff members were shot by 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Proponents of gun control believe that there needs to be more regulation of gun sales and ownership. | Source

As for gun control advocates, I have no hope whatever that any facts whatever will make the slightest dent in their thinking - or lack of thinking.

— Thomas Sowell

Cons of Gun Control

  • Gun ownership is a fundamental civil right, irrespective of the US Constitution. All other arguments regarding gun ownership are therefore irrelevant.
  • The Second Amendment to the US Constitution clearly guarantees the right to possess firearms by individual citizens, the people who dispute this are misinterpreting the US Constitution. This right has been upheld by the courts on many occasions.
  • Gun possession by individuals is vital for legitimate purposes such as self defense and hunting and should not be interfered with by the authorities.
  • Guns can deter criminals and reduce crime without ever being used.
  • Gun ownership acts as an “equalizer” for women, who are then able to deter or defend against attacks by stronger, more aggressive men.
  • Gun ownership by both individuals and militias provide security for the American people against foreign invasion and also government tyranny - if the American people were disarmed and some kind of dictatorship emerged, the people would be at its mercy.
  • If gun use is restricted, then criminals and murderers will just use different weapons, such as knives.

Guns are used by many people for hunting and self-defense purposes.  Many people, especially in rural areas where there is little protection from the police, regard them as vital.
Guns are used by many people for hunting and self-defense purposes. Many people, especially in rural areas where there is little protection from the police, regard them as vital. | Source

If we don't get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic. And I agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: It's time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties.

— Harvey Weinstein

Unfortunately, most gun control advocates are not really interested in rational debate, and their political games simply send Alice chasing white rabbits down holes.

— Bob Barr
People against gun control argue that the authorities have no right to interfere with legitimate gun use, such as for hunting or self-defense.  Advocates for gun control believe that too often guns fall into the hands of the wrong people.
People against gun control argue that the authorities have no right to interfere with legitimate gun use, such as for hunting or self-defense. Advocates for gun control believe that too often guns fall into the hands of the wrong people. | Source

Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost 5,000 dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollar, we wouldn't have any innocent bystanders.

— Chris Rock

Your opinion

Do you believe that the gun control laws in the US should be tightened?

See results

© 2011 Paul Goodman

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    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      Guns are restricted and carry prison sentences in Old Mexico............but people die from them daily! Only the innocent do not own guns in Mexico! I would bet all I own that if legal citizens of Mexico would be allowed to carry, the drug cartels would disapear within months.......or at least stop the violence!

    • the bunco squad profile image

      the bunco squad 5 years ago from Savannah GA

      I enjoyed the fair treatment of this hub, very well done.

      A.R. this is the first time I have ever read a post from you that actually made a well thought out, verifiable, and valid point.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      Thanks bunco, I will take that as a compliment!......maybe you do have some marine in you! LOL

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      As usual, you presented the issue concisely. I hate to give myself away, but My Dad made me take the NRA safe hunting course and go all the way to expert in the NRA marksmanship program before I was trusted with a gun. I think similar requirements should be met before anyone can purchase a weapon.

      If you think guns are not proper sport, or would never use fire arms to protect yourself or your family, then I applaud your conviction. I want to keep guns away from the irresposible and insane. Please don't take away my right.

    • profile image

      AmericansForGuns 5 years ago

      "The ‘Self-defense’ argument in favor of guns is often used against gun control laws, but research suggests that guns in the home are far more likely to kill a friend or a household member, than an intruder."

      =

      Sorry but this is absolute nonsense.

      This 'research' is often done by anti gun groups who go in trying to prove a case against guns.

      Of course there are more accidents with guns when a gun is present...that's a no brainer. Just like there are more car accidents when more cars are present...precisely why my car insurance is higher in the city than when I lived in smalltown USA.

      The issue isn't that accidents happen or don't happen..its whether *I* get to remove YOUR right to defend your wife and daughter from being raped and murdered because of some biased 'research' that results in distorted data.

      What's hilarious about the irony of the anti gun agenda is that they seem to prefer arguing numbers and clearly don't really give a rats rear end about individual human rights.

      As long as 1000 drug dealing gangbangers don't shoot each other tonite, its apparently been a good day to them if only 100 women are raped and stabbed to death with a screwdriver.

      As long as GUN murders are down they clearly don't give a #$%#$ about anything or anyone else.

    • profile image

      tom shimt 5 years ago

      we need to tell congress to give our gun rights back

    • Roy Patterson profile image

      Roy Patterson 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona USA

      When criminals find out that most citizens don't have guns, they will have a field day. Criminals can always gets guns.I live here in Arizona and if anyone brakes into my house and tries to hurt my family, I going to shoot them. Not going to wait for the police.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      It is a smart constitutional right. It isn't conducted smartly. When I wanted a gun, my dad signed me up for NRA. I took the NRA safe hunter courses, participated in the marksmanship program, and learned to shoot the eye off of a bullfrog from 100 yards away. By then, I had learned responsibility and respect. This should be a requirement for every gun owner.

      We have the right to bear arms for defense purpose. Mainly national. There are those who say the need is obsolete. Not me. Look at the state of affairs. If they get past the military somehow, they will have to deal with the militia and me. God rest their souls.

    • N1GHTMAN profile image

      N1GHTMAN 5 years ago from Underground

      QUOTE

      "Some amateur militia groups within the USA, who are answerable to no one, are actually more potentially dangerous than foreign powers."

      What are you saying? That US militias are no where near as "strong" as the US military but even more dangerous than a foreign military? That's a rediculous statement.

      Quote

      "“The people” who are referred to in the Second Amendment are a group who form part of a “well-regulated” militia. It essentially asserts a state’s right to have a militia and does not mean that every individual citizen has the right to bear arms."

      If every citizen has the legal right to join a militia than your argument is flawed. Unless your saying I HAVE to be in a militia in order to own a firearm, in that case what constitutes a militia? Is there a set number of members needed? Your going to have to be more specific.

      QUOTE

      "Gun ownership acts as an “equalizer” for women, who are then able to deter or defend against attacks by stronger, more aggressive men."

      Not trying to analyze every word in your Hub for it was somewhat informative and Im sure you had good intentions while trying to stay unbiased but this comment could have been left out only because;

      A) Why do you assume only a woman would find a weapon handy when overpowed? Men cant be overpowered easily by a much larger person(s)?

      B) Why would you just assume that it would have to be a man attacking the woman? There are plenty of cases in which women are assaulting other women. I think in this world everyone would feel a little better with an "Equilizer" to level the playing field.

      I think there is so many different types of weapons and owners that it is close minded to put all of them into one category. To assume that the our country is going to be less violent if you take away firearms, in my opinion, is also rediculous.

      Don't worry people will still be beating, drowning, and abusing their spouses and children. I beleive in survival of the fittest and the weak get preyed upon. I once heard a quote and cannot for the life of me remember who said it but it goes something like this:

      "those who cannot kill will always be subject to those who can"

    • phion profile image

      phion 5 years ago

      You will never take our guns:) Good luck! Read history, and why you are able to even have this argument in the first place.

    • profile image

      Aussie 5 years ago

      Disagree with the right to bear arms... Everyday people do not need to own or be in the possession of gun... Using a gun to kill or not to kill is violence... And will not solve anything only do harm!

    • profile image

      abcxya 4 years ago

      less arms, not just guns

    • profile image

      Yehoash 4 years ago

      I am not an US citizen but I believe that it would be a gross stupidity for you American to give this cherised liberty away. My heart goes out to the teachers and children that have been massacred. It is horrible and inacceptable but who are responsible. The authorities are? Why have no rules and restrictions be put inplace. If you will not allow any passenger to board planes with liquid milk in case this could be a bomb then why couldn`t you ensure that security at that school spot that hypnothised gun totting lunatic , miles off and prevent him from entering the school premises? This is not the first time that this has happened. United States you could do better than that? Can`t you just put simple gun rules and restrictions in place? In super markets, trains station etc... how many kilometres should a person be allowed to carry a gun from those allocated premises? But alast I know that there are some people that won`t to enslave the American people. How long should innocent people be sacrificed until the gun laws are passed in the congress? That day will come and America will be slaves to the power elite. Just see how they are taking jobs from you and making you financilly powerless. Just as the Bible prophesied in Revelation, things are startint to unrol. Why women and children are being raped and murdered in some parts of Asia and some African countries? Simply because they can`t fight these armed rebel and armed millitia. Don`t live to regret your foolish. How can you guaranty that one hypnotized lunatic won`t get into the oval office and declare himself god on Earth? For more of my views find me on fanbox as Gerald Solin.

    • profile image

      Aussiejas 4 years ago

      I personally believe it should be a privilege and not a right to bear arms. Something that is to be earned. A licence should be required for gun ownership, with categories for different types of firearms making sure that people know how to operate, control and store these weapons in a safe and secure manner, preventing them from landing into the wrong hands. And yes i know that it will not be 100% effective, but without gun control in place, how do you expect the authorities to be able to disarm those who are likely to cause harm to others.

    • profile image

      Big daddy 4 years ago

      Guns are good

    • profile image

      Brittni 4 years ago

      My eye hurts

    • profile image

      ram 4 years ago

      Bailey

      #444535

      RW3

      Mr. G

      May.5

      There is the main argument about gun control laws in the U.S.A. I think gun control is so dangerous. The more people who have guns, the more likely it is that there will be a shoot out. So I support anti-gun policy. It increases gun-related crimes. It gives kids easier access to guns which can cause accidents. The number of fatal gun accidents has been increasing every year. It is not the absence of a gun control law that causes accidental deaths. Some people can be in possession of a gun. That’s why the government should restrict the sale and use of guns by establishing a gun control law. In short, I think we should have gun laws similar to U.S.A’s.

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz what's that

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 2 years ago from upstate, NY

      Part of the reason for owning a firearm is psychological. In America we choose to be a government of the people, meaning that we have a government by consent. Having a firearm says that you're willing to be primarily responsible for your own security, with the police and military being an additional and necessary protection but because we agreed to it.

      Nations that institute strict gun control tend to create a dependant mindset among the people and a people less directly involved in the daily decisions making regarding their own laws. This can set the groundwork for tyranny because people feel a helplessness as to the correcting the actions of a rogue government.

    • profile image

      bigE 23 months ago

      Black skin is all the protection a man needs! Dark Chocolate spray tan

    • profile image

      TRUTH 7 months ago

      If we have a smart president we will never have gun control in the U.S. And for the good of america we should know the real facts about it and why it will never happen!

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