Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.

Point Counterpoint – Gun Control

October 27, 2017

Lives are more Important than Guns

Why is everyone talking about gun control? Many Americans own firearms legally and do no harm; after all, it is a Second Amendment right and the Constitution is a finite and modern document. Cars are just as dangerous, more people die from them every year; it isn’t like there is a legal process and baseline test that accompanies that privilege. So who cares if someone wants to own a rifle to go hunting or an semi-automatic firearm for a hobby? If anything, guns allow people, who all have excellent judgement, to defend themselves from other people with guns far better than any type of trained public service like the police. Even if guns get into the wrong hands, the government can’t do anything about it now; the market is too big and scary to even bother to begin regulating. Who cares about gun control?

I would think that maybe the families of the 948–and counting–mass shooting victims care about where the guns that killed their families came from. I would like to think that there is some way to prevent the virtually automatic firearms from getting into the hands of a clearly mentally incapable shooter, equipping them with the ability to kill more efficiently that ever. I would love to think that the safety of Americans was placed above a vague amendment, as it has been in the past with the freedom of speech.

Some conservatives argue that the best course of action is to put guns into people’s hands so they can defend themselves instead of attempting to make comprehensive legislation that doesn’t make America a free-for-all whenever someone gets spooked. Historically, claims of shooting for self-defense often result in an innocent death and an unclear court case because perceived threat does not always warrant a murder. Take Trayvon Martin, an innocent death at the hands of George Zimmerman’s poor judgement. Hypothetically, those who choose wrongly when it comes to defending themselves could be put in prison or have some ‘fair’ punishment, but the life of the victim can never be returned.

While the black market around guns has flourished into a seemingly unstoppable force, it is the responsibility of the government to do everything in their power to keep Americans safe from irresponsible gun owners. In order to purchase a gun, citizens ought to go through training and a test on gun safety, similar to that of a drivers license. Their criminal record should also be taken into account when applying for ownership, especially when there is evidence of violence. The issuing of licenses should be handled by the government. Certain types of guns, such as certain semi-automatic and automatic, should be banned or require further review for ownership. Companies that manufacture and sell guns should also have licenses and meet stricter ethical requirements. To counteract any lack of ability to defend oneself, policing should carry the responsibility of protection and respond accordingly, perhaps by increasing funding and educational training.

Some may claim this violates the second amendment and defies the Constitution, however, constitutional rights have been regulated in the past to preserve the safety of Americans. The Constitution is also a flexible document which has allowed it to withstand the test of time; the Founders lived in a different America where automatic weapons did not exist.

Guns are not toys, and the lives of victims aren’t numbers.

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We Cannot Overreact with More Gun Control

“The only thing stopping a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” -Wayne LaPierre, chairman of the National Rifle Association (NRA)

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is arguably the most important and significant amendment there is, giving Americans the right to keep and bear arms. This right should not be limited or taken away in any form by the government, and gun control is unconstitutional. The horrific massacre in Las Vegas earlier this fall was gruesome, and to quote President Trump, an act of pure evil. It is also important to note that the obscure, extremely deadly modifications that Stephen Paddock used on his rifles, such as bump stocks, have been the subject of a ban pushed by pro-gun Republicans and the NRA. What many Democrats have proposed, and what the progressive movement is pushing strongly for, however, is that we should retaliate with sweeping bans, and increased government encroachment on gun purchases and on the regulation of certain types of guns, specifically semi-automatics and “assault rifles.” Those who are for gun control believe that guns are responsible for gun violence, and that implementing new restrictive laws would keep guns off of the street. They also believe that enforcement and regulation would work in America in the same way that it has in countries like Australia, which has a fraction of the population and an entirely different culture than the US.

Banning guns, or banning a certain type of gun, or increasing federal regulations to such a debilitating level for law-abiding citizens to practice their second amendment right, is ineffective in stopping mass shootings, and more importantly, unconstitutional. Gun control laws do not stop the frequency or deadliness of shootings, and only make it more difficult for a law-abiding citizen to acquire a gun for personal protection. In fact, a November 2013 study proved that putting more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens decreases violent crime, and allows more people to protect themselves and their families. This happens more often than you would think, as guns are used for self-defense 2.5 million times a year, according to the NRA. Severely limiting guns in this country would only allow those connected with a black market–criminals–to have firearms to do severe harm.

In the city of Chicago, Illinois there were 3,550 shooting incidents and 762 murders in 2016 as a result of those shootings. These numbers are the highest they have been for the city since 1997, and is mostly due to gang violence and poor policing. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, yet cannot manage to keep them out of the hands of dangerous gang criminals. They did, however, keep them out of the hands of the 762 murder victims, who would not have been able to purchase one legally.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution is imperative to the safety and security of our union, and must be preserved and protected. Gun control does not work, and for it to be implemented would be an infringement on an American right.

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