Every year, all across America, guns cross the hands of various members of our society. Guns are legally put to use for the military, the police force, SWAT teams, or even hunters. When it is the military, police force or SWAT teams using guns, they are well-trained in their proper use and make responsible decisions that save lives. In extreme cases, guns are used illegally by large numbers of gangs, drug dealers, juvenile offenders, or other forms of criminals. These people do not obtain guns with the greater good of others in mind, they do so to benefit themselves. They are not properly trained in how to use guns and often times, make decisions that injure or kill the people around them. For these reasons, there are many mixed feelings about guns. Some groups, such as the National Rifle Association, believe everyone should be able to own guns and there should be little guidelines because of the benefits of guns. Others, such as the Brady Center, believe there should be greater rules regulating the use of guns. For the Brady Center, gun control would mean requiring Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales, banning military-style assault weapons and strengthening law enforcement’s efforts to stop the illegal gun market (Brady Campaign). Although the National Rifle Association believes guns help lower crime rates and provide a means of safety to many Americans, they are actually contributing to the statistics of death and injuries, therefore raising crime rates and proving unsafe for many Americans if not regulated properly.
Of course, the National Rifle Association and various other groups would beg to differ. The NRA argues in defense of everything guns. This association does not want there to be any regulations on gun control because regulations will eventually make it more difficult to own guns. For the NRA, an inability to own guns would be considered an infringement on Constitutional rights and in the end, make guns available to only criminals (Awesome Library). According to the NRA, the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees individuals the right to own and carry guns. As stated by the supreme court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment protects "the individual right to posses and carry weapons in case of confrontation” (NRA-ILA). Lastly, the NRA believes if everyone was capable of owning guns, they would be safer from criminals and bring the crime rate down. These are all understandable reasons for why people wish for guns to be made available to everyone, but there are other reasons that demonstrate the need for regulation.
Regulation on gun control does not necessarily mean an inability to own guns. This is a dangerous world in which we live, so the need for guns is growing more and more prevalent. A lack of gun control, such as that desired by the NRA, is what makes guns easily available to criminals, whereas regulation reduces this ease and makes gun use safer across America. The NRA is correct in stating that the Second Amendment legalizes gun ownership, but it does not necessarily make gun ownership acceptable for everyone. Convicted felons and corrupt gun dealers should not be able to obtain guns, but according to the NRA, it is their right by the Second Amendment. This brings to light a third point, if everyone really was capable of owning guns, then drug dealers, gang members or immature youth would be able to legally own a gun. This type of freedom with guns would not lower crime rates, which goes against what the NRA believes. Gun ownership may truly be necessary in America, but it is not necessary in lenient terms.
There are many options that could be taken to crack down on the misuse of guns across America. The Brady Center campaigns to prevent gun violence and has been pushing for years to make regulations against people considered dangerous to society legally owning a gun. This group works to ensure that convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and others like them cannot easily obtain guns. In doing so, the Brady Campaign hopes to guarantee freedom from gun violence. Laws have been pushed by them requiring Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales, requiring child-proof locks on gun triggers and strengthening law enforcement’s efforts to stop the illegal gun market. There is currently a law that requires criminal background checks of gun buyers at federally licensed dealers, but leaves out gun shows or even internet websites where unlicensed gun dealers work. Criminal background checks on all gun sales would take place at these gun shows and on these websites, making it more difficult for criminals to purchase guns. Also, having child-proof locks, “asserts that the public good is served by enacting laws that more carefully protect children from access to guns” (Awesome Library). With these regulations, law enforcement’s efforts to stop the illegal gun market would be assisted without infringing on the constitutional rights of Americans as some may believe.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states, "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" (Firearm Injury in the US). The Brady Center argues that this would include the mentally incompetent, which is not right and not safe. For example, 121 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who returned from the war have been charged with killing (Brady Campaign). Soldiers who fight for our country are not thought of as dangerous killers, but by dealing with trauma from the war and being able to own a gun they are more likely to injure themselves or others. The Brady Campaign pushes for the Second Amendment to be dropped, but this is not entirely necessary. In order prevent infringing on the constitutional rights of Americans, yet keep their safety in mind, the government needs to make the Second Amendment close off loopholes that allow mentally incompetent persons to own a gun. Closing off these loopholes would be beneficial to the government and its citizenry because everyone’s safety would be kept in mind.
In spite of the common belief that guns are beneficial to the safety of Americans, they actually contribute to crime rates and are not always as safe as one might assume. According to Guns-Injuries and Fatalities statistics, in the year 2000, there were a total of 28,663 deaths from handguns alone (Guns-Injuries and Fatalities). Five years later research from the Brady Campaign found an increase showing that 30,694 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths such as murder, suicides, accidents, police interventions or unknown reasons. They also found that an additional 71,417 people were shot and survived their injuries (Brady Campaign). Contrary to what the NRA wants, if there was an increase in public awareness of guns and the proper use of them, problems such as these would be less frequent. For example, as stated in the Handgun Control Debate, “during a year when over 5,000 teens and children died from gun wounds in the USA, in Great Britain, where gun ownership is very restricted, 19 teens and children died from gun wounds” (Awesome Library). If restriction can contribute to lowering crime rates in Great Britain why can’t it work in the USA? Restriction is the fundamental piece of the puzzle to making gun use safer.
As you can see, even though the National Rifle Association thinks guns help lower crime rates and provide a means of safety to many Americans, if not properly regulated they are actually contributing to the statistics of death and injuries, therefore raising crime rates and proving unsafe for many Americans. While the NRA argues that regulation will make it harder to own guns and infringe on constitutional rights this is simply not the case. Regulation will only make it harder for criminals and the mentally incompetent to own guns, which are people who have no business owning guns anyways. Regulation will require things like criminal background checks on all purchases of guns and child-safety locks on triggers. In the meantime, this will contribute to assist in lowering the statistics of death and injuries from guns. Overall gun ownership across America is not a bad thing because in the end, guns do not kill people, people kill people.
List of Argumentation:
Factual data/ Definition (pathos)
Factual data/ Evidence (pathos, ethos)
Evidence/Factual data (pathos, logos)
4. /5. Evidence/Deduction (ethos, logos, pathos)
6. Factual Data/Evidence/Comparison (logos, ethos)
7. Factual Data/Deduction (ethos, pathos, logos)
I chose to use a mixture of pathos and logos for this paper because it is a good balance between the two. Too much of one or the other would not have helped me to persuade my opposing audience, it would have pushed them away instead. This way, I manage to appeal to their emotions in a logical manner that is scientifically backed up with statistics.
“About Us.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 18 Oct. 2009.
“Right-to-Carry.” NRA-ILA. 18 Oct. 2009.
Jerry Adams. “Handgun Control Debate”. 6 October 2009.
Resource Book. Firearm Injury in the US. University of Pennsylvania: 2009. 1-32. Print.
“Guns- Injuries and Fatalities- Firearm Fatalities” 10 October 2009.