Guns, like many other issues of the day, have two distinct opposing views with many people in the gray area. Even when looking at a tragic situation, people will have two opposite spins on it. For example, a suicidal madman on top of the Empire State Building kills six people including himself with a gun. Gun-control advocates think that outlawing guns would have stopped the killing from ever happening. Pro-gun advocates think that it would have been stopped by innocent people being armed and fighting back. In order for an issue to even be at hand, both sides must agree that there is a problem with guns and gun control. Both gun-control and pro-gun advocates do agree there is a problem, pro-gunners say it is too hard to own a gun and the gun-controllers say it is too easy to get a gun. While using a point-counterpoint style to argue against gun control I will show guns are best controlled by good aim. The government must keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally ill, and they must not limit the rest of the society from owning them.
Gun control advocates will argue that gun ownership is not a right and is not protected by the 2nd amendment. They further believe guns are harmful to society. Gun control advocates also believe guns are not needed for self-defense. Gun-controllers use points such as: the constitution, specifically the 2nd amendment, hunting and gun related assaults to try to prove their point. Some of their arguments are based in emotions and only have significance in the specific case they are trying to illustrate.
When a high school aged boy kills a teacher, two students and then injures one other what should we do? According to gun-control advocate, we must make it impossible for kids like him to get their hands on a gun. Their number one goal is to make personal use or ownership of guns to be viewed as wrong. This is a typical emotional argument that the citizen of the United Sates citizen are bombarded with in the media. They want all guns in the United States to be outlawed, confiscated and destroyed.
In order to stop gun violence and approximately 38,500 gun related deaths each year we, society, must choose to wipe out the easy accessibility of guns. In order to prove this to the Americans who believe the second amendment gives them a right to own a gun, anti-gunners must provide a very good, sound argument for outlawing all guns. To outlaw all the guns in America gun-controllers must first define what they are. A gun is a device, a tool if you will, which uses, air or it uses a spark that starts a chemical reaction, which in turn shoots a projectile at a high rate of speed. Knowing what a gun is, why don\'t they fit into our society?
Our society is comprised of many different races of people all living together inside the boarders of the United States of America. The American society is about 220 years old and came into existence at the time of the writing of the constitution of the Unites States. The founding fathers knew that the people needed a way to protect themselves from many outside forces. Some of these forces included wild animals, unscrupulous people and a corrupt federal government. When the constitution was composed we were just starting out as a country, trying to gain true freedom from England. That is why we have the 2nd amendment. It says "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". The right of the people, read society, to maintain a well regulated militia shall not be infringed. The federal government in turn protects the people from the states' corrupt government.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word militia? Chances are you think of the Militia of Montana or the Michigan Militia. You might conjure up an image of a bunch of guys who are running around in the woods with guns. Gun-control advocates take a strict, interpretivist view of the constitution. By doing just that we will see the meaning of militia as far as the U.S. constitution is concerned is a group of para-military, well trained people who are sponsored by the state in which they reside, not the federal government. The idea that people actually believe individual ownership of guns is protected under the second amendment of the constitution is a mockery of the amendment itself (Carlile, FAQ, 5). People who hold the view that the second amendment reserves the right to bear arms for the citizens of the United States needs to re-read the amendment. A strict-interpretivist would argue the true meaning of the 2nd amendment is to make gun carrying militias lawful so American citizens can be protected from the federal government.
The United States Supreme Court made a difficult decision in the Miller case. Our Supreme Court showed a strict-interpretivist understanding of what the framers of the constitution had in mind when they included the Bill of Rights. The purpose of the 2nd amendment was upheld when they delivered their ruling on case 307 U.S. 174. In the 1939 ruling on that case the Supreme Court decided, (U.S. Vs. Miller, 307 U.S. 174), that the possession of a firearm is not protected by the second amendment unless it has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia (3 Myths Used Against Gun Control, 2-3). The Supreme Court ruled that militias are legal under the Bill of Rights.
Lets go one step further, why do we even need a militia? Pro-gunners often quote "fear the government that fears your guns." The hidden meaning of that quote is best illustrated when it is put in an argument form.
Premise 1) If you have a government that rules over you
Premise 2) If that government fears you having guns
Explicit Conclusion) Then fear that government.
Implicit Conclusion) That government is going to try to harm you or take away
The underlying meaning of the previous argument is to make one believe guns are the only thing that stands between ourselves and the federal government taking away all of our freedoms, rights and maybe even our lives. Pretend that guns are legal to own and they are allowed in the hands of private individuals for the purpose of defending us against our own government and military. Guns which are legal include some assault weapons, long guns, shot guns and handguns. The most powerful legal guns can only be shot at a semi automatic rate. That means one pull of the trigger for one bullet (Assault Weapons, 1). Our military has thousands and thousands of trained troops who use automatic guns that are bigger in caliber than that of the people. An automatic weapon will start shooting bullets with the pull of a trigger and stop only when the trigger is released (Assault Weapons, 1). If that is not enough firepower to crush our rights as U.S. citizens, then the military and government can use tanks, aircraft, ships, and their superior training to quell any resistance. Any given individual could not fight this kind of military power, however a national guard, a militia if you will, might have a chance.
Could the national guard do anything to stop a small localized war-like out break let alone a civil war? If you think the answer is "no" to that question, then assuming that the national guard is a well trained group of people, there is no way a group of untrained people can stop a war. If you think the answer is "yes" to that question then I can safely assume that you believe our national guard is well enough trained to stop a war. Either way you answer the question I posed, you prove my point about society not needing any guns. In the case of the national guard you either believe they are able to stop a war or they are not able to stop the war. Assuming the average citizen is less trained then a national guardsman, you would have one of two situations. One is where the national guard is ineffective, therefore, by definition, the citizens must also be ineffective. In the second situation the national guard is effective in stopping the war, therefore, the citizens are unneeded.
An issue that has less possible deadly ramifications, but is equally important in terms of gun ownership is hunting. In the U.S. some people believe that hunting is morally wrong, others think it is okay. For the purpose of this paper gun-controllers and pro-gunners will assume hunting, in of itself, is okay. With hunting being okay, there needs to be a way to kill the animal. One way is with a gun. Another way is to use different and more challenging hunting techniques that are far more sporting. Anyone can use a scope and a gun to shoot an animal from several hundred feet. It takes skill for someone to use spears or arrows to down an animal. Besides the sportsmanship like questions raised while using guns in hunting, those same guns that are designed to kill animals can kill people. Allowing ownership of a gun for hunting still makes available for the firepower needed to kill people. In many situations a long gun, one that would be used while hunting, is more dangerous than a handgun. Long guns are more accurate and can be used from much longer distances. The soon-to-be-victim has no chance of dodging the bullet, because he won't even know it is flying at him at speeds of over 300 feet per second.
The citizens of the United States do not need to own or posses guns. Our society will be much at better off without the presence of guns. The improvements will come from people being more polite to each other. Guns give people a false sense of courage. This "courage" makes people become more willing to get into confrontations. A firsthand experiences of this phenomenon has been observed in mild mannered "Steve". He is a shy person, who under normal circumstances would not fight anyone. However, when he drinks alcohol he tries to pick fights, if and only if, his friend "Jack" is with him. Jack is a good fighter and will back up Steve no matter what. Now that Steve owns a gun, he try's to pick fights even without Jack present. Steve's story correlates with many others in society. Allowing people to own a gun is bad. Even worse would be a situation to not only allow people to own a gun, but to allow them to carry it concealed on their person. When people carry guns there is a higher chance a situation could arise where a gun is presented. The chances of someone getting hurt or dying increases when a gun is added into a fight.
This can be seen in the numbers of gun related assaults in the U.S. versus Australia. The U.S. has approximately 254,250,000 people and they had 38,317 gun related assaults in 1994 (Carlile, USA Gun Deaths, 1). According to nationwide numbers we should see 3.77 gun assaults each year in a city with the population of 25,000. In Australia the population is about 18,173,600 and there were 596 gun related assault in 1994 (Carlile, USA Gun Deaths, 1). For the same size city in Australia, it should have only 0.82 gun assaults a year. The difference is clear. The fewer the guns the fewer the number of gun related assaults. Removing all guns from society will make it unheard of to have a gun related assault. For the good of society, for the value of human life, we must outlaw, confiscate and destroy all the guns in the United States of America.
Gun-control advocates want the United State government to outlaw, confiscate and destroy all guns! The very thought of our government passing any law to take away a constitutional right is very scary. Guns are protected under the 2nd amendment as I prove later in this paper. When you read the last few paragraphs, I hope several questions were raised in your mind. I intend to address these questions you might have raised and show that pro-gun arguments is stronger and more constitutionally correct than the anti-gun arguments. In the next section I will take issue with gun-control advocates on several points including; the 2nd amendment, hunting, personal protection, concealed carry, the morality of using guns for legitimate purposes and gun related assaults.
Assault involving guns are only a small number of the total assaults that are committed in America. Besides guns, object like baseball bats, knives, fists and other heavy objects are used to assault people. When two men carrying weapons enter your home you need to be able to protect yourself. A baseball bat or a knife can be effective, however people need to be at a close proximity before they are effective. With a gun the home owner can be at a safer distance and still protect themselves and their property. In a real situation where someone's house was broken in to one bad guy was shot and killed, making it impossible for him to ever harm anyone again. Guns in the hands of law abiding citizens will help to save the lives of themselves and their loved ones. Unless someone is a convicted violent criminal or a mental patient, the government must allow people in the United States to posses and own guns.
The two type of guns I will refer to are the long guns and the handguns. A handgun includes pistols, revolvers and semi-automatics. The long gun group includes shotguns and rifles. As a sub-group of rifles I will add in assault rifles. All these guns should be 100 percent legal. As long as a gun is being used for a legitimate purpose ownership must be unconditional. A legitimate purpose for a gun includes, but is not limited to: hunting, varmint control, personal protection, home protection, business protection, target shooting, competition shooting, plinking, and collecting. All the uses I listed are legitimate and we must not infringe on the rights of people to participate in those activities. Long guns are used in all the legitimate purposes I listed. In most cases shot guns are very useful while hunting, protecting one's home and business, competition shooting and collecting. Since the only time a moral problem with guns arise is when they are used against an innocent victim there are no moral problems produced under these circumstances. Rifles are also used in hunting, varmint control, target and competition shooting, plinking, and collecting. Assault weapons are used in hunting, target and competition shooting, plinking, and collecting. These common uses of assault weapons mirror the uses of rifles, however there is a moral question that can be raised. Assault weapons are based on military-type machine guns. Since these guns are used to kill people in the military service, gun-control advocates believe that, that use carries over to the civilian world. If the killing power of assault weapons were used against our citizens, it would be morally objectionable; however, they make up less than one percent of privately owned firearms in America (Assault Weapons, 1). Assault rifles and long guns are not easily concealed on a man's body therefore many choose to carry handguns.
Carrying a concealed handgun has been proven to help lower violent crime and it produces no increase in accidental deaths. All other variables remaining the same when comparing numbers of crimes in area's with concealed carry versus those without concealed carry we would see a large reduction in people being victimized. According to the Lott-Mustard study: If all those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided yearly (Lott-Mustard, 1).
Each and every year people are killed, raped and assaulted. These statistics show what crimes can be lowered by simply allowing people to carry a concealed gun. At the University of Chicago, John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard, completed a comprehensive study which covered data for U.S. counties from the years 1977 to 1992. This study provided evidence that crime does not increase when people legally carry concealed gun. In the state of Florida, between October 1, 1987 and April 30, 1994, only 8.13 on x 10 -5 (.0000813) of the licensed handgun carriers committed crimes involving the guns they carry (Lott-Mustard, 2). This is a negligible number of crime committed be people who legally carry a gun. Using the earlier example about Steve, it was mentioned that he is a hot head when drinking, however even with a gun license people, like Steve, are not allowed to drink and carry a gun. This data provides evidence that American citizens legally carrying a handgun for self protection does work and it does not raise crime rates. It does not make man a victim of his own gun and it works well on the streets.
I must expand on what is meant when I say that possessing a gun on the street works well. First, I consider being on the street anytime you are not in your home or business. Secondly, in a study conducted by Florida State University professor Gary Kleck there are about 645,000 defensive handgun uses per year, excluding police and military (Sterba, 426). When comparing 645,000 defensive uses of handguns each year with 38,500 people killed in gun related deaths we see that for every one death there are about 17 defensive uses. One other problem with the statistic that 38,500 people are killed in gun related deaths each year is the information is not broken down. How many of the 38,500 people killed were innocent victims and how many were killed by their victims? We are unable to tell with the data presented. Both men and women use guns to protect themselves and they are both accounted in those 645,000 uses of guns each year. In fact, according to a highly read woman\'s magazine(A), in 1981 65% of the women involved in the poll own guns. Of those women who own guns 66% own them primarily for self-defense (Sterba, 426). In a study of over 1800 prison inmates we learned many things that must be used to help us shape gun laws and our perception of guns. The data must be used because it can stop a crime from happening. According to the study conducted by James Wright and Peter Rossi, of the 1800 inmates; 85 percent agreed that the "smart criminal" will attempt to find out if a potential victim is armed; 53 percent did not commit a specific crime for fear that the victim was armed (Sterba, 427).
A. Glamour Magazine
Is owning a gun a protected act under the constitution? Yes it is. The first 10 amendments of the constitution are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. The basic premise of the constitution is to allow people to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Someone's right to life can not be taken by someone else. However there are times when people try. When that time comes the victim must have a way to protect himself. A handgun carried concealed is a great way to offer that protection.
Does the constitution offer protection for private individuals choosing to own guns? Yes it does. The 2nd says "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." An interpretivist view is the most appropriate view to understand the constitution. If we look at the 2nd amendment using an interpretivist view we would see that it has more than one meaning. The interpretivist view is better because the ideas of our founding fathers are represented, not solely the words. It means that both a well regulated militia and the right of individuals to own guns are protected. Just like it was outline earlier in this paper, a militia that is supported by the state is protected. However, the argument from the gun-control advocate side of this paper does not recognize the second part of the second amendment. Specifically the part that says the "right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This means that each individual has the power over whether they can posses a gun or not. If the person chooses to commit a violent crime or has any mental problems they forfeit their right to a gun. Everyone else therefore has a right to choose whether they want to carry a gun or not.
Handguns and long guns are not little killing machines. They are not time bombs waiting to explode. Guns require a someone to operate it, without a person to operate it they can not kill people, therefore they cannot be morally objectionable. The factor that changes in the equation above is the presence of a man. It is clear in the Lott-Mustard study that citizens of the United States who are not convicted felons or mental patients can and do carry concealed handguns without posing a risk to their fellow Americans. As long as the government disallows ownership of guns to people who have committed violent crimes and to mental patients there is no reason they should limit the rest of the society from owning them.
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