Guns in a Growing World
March 30, 2021
Gun control has been a controversial topic within the United States, especially after the recent Atlanta and Colorado shooting on March 16th and 22nd. According to the American University Radio WAMU 88.5, around 40% of American adults have gun ownership (Dunn). Another statistic that was shown by the CDC revealed that in 2018 about 39,740 deaths had occurred due to gun injuries (Firearm Violence Prevention). Many believe getting your hands on a firearm shouldn’t be as easy as it is. Others stand by the Second Amendment and state that they have the right to own a gun.
ANTI-GUN CONTROL: SECOND AMENDMENT
Many Anti-gun controlists believe the Second Amendment from the Constitution of The United States of America protects their right to own a firearm. It is stated in the Constitution that “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Numerous people fear that by instituting gun control laws there will be a violation of their rights. A large number of U.S citizens have voiced their viewpoint that by passing gun control laws the government would essentially be taking away the citizens’ rights to own a firearm.
One individual at CCA named Marcus Coleman felt strongly about this topic and articulated, “I think that guns should not be banned. Our Founding Fathers put their lives on the line so that we could bear arms. So I think banning them would be stupid. I think that people should have the right to defend themselves. In the UK people can get in trouble for defending themselves to the point where in some cases the attacker gets more defense than the victim. I hope this country never ends up like that because it would be ridiculous. I think that guns should be controlled to a certain point; like a criminal of a more serious accusation should not be sold a gun. Guns are not toys and should be treated with great respect and care. A first-time gun owner should know all of the basics before receiving their firearm.”
Many think it isn’t worth the risk of making themselves vulnerable without the protection of a firearm. After all, many keep a gun on hand to protect against intruders or any kind of threatening presence. Of course, there is law enforcement, but others argue that the police might take too long to respond, and by then it might be too late. By having a firearm, owners feel safer at home knowing they can defend themselves.
DOUBT OF GUN CONTROL LAWS BEING SUCCESSFUL
While many feel outraged at the thought that their firearms might be taken away, others are convinced that passing gun control laws won’t even work. Before we get into their reasoning, let’s review why The United States is looking into instituting it.
There is no question that guns are dangerous and can do much harm. So when ending up in the wrong hands, it can be devastating. By passing gun control laws, it is put in place to try and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of children, people with criminal records, and those who plan on using them to harm others or themselves. To mention a couple of these laws, there would be more thorough background checks to look into criminal records, wait time to prevent impulsive decisions, and banning different types of guns like AR-15 style weapons.
Some anti-gun controlists argue that establishing these laws won’t decrease gun-related deaths or crimes. By having more individuals own a firearm, many believe this will reduce crimes by discouraging offenders. To others, taking guns away would be like inciting more lawlessness.
“I think people have the right to have guns and I think the perception of guns has been misconstrued and false information has been shared. Some say that certain types of guns are unnecessary or that they are more deadly than others. It has been said before that ‘criminals are criminals and will find a way to get guns illegally, meanwhile, if you take guns from people that own them rightfully, then you are favoring the criminals.’ I have not done much research into gun control, but if I had to pick a side of ‘is it the person or the gun that does the killing..’, I would say that it is the person that kills people. So I do think more thorough background checks are needed so we keep guns in the hands of mentally stable,” CCA student Alivia Pettit expressed.
Another student by the name of Kale Locklear voiced his opinion by stating, “No matter how much gun control is put into place by the ATF, there are always going to be loopholes and ways to illegally get firearms. There are plenty of guns in the streets that are stolen or ‘ghost guns’ which means it is a working firearm but on paper, it never existed so no ballistic records are present and it is the perfect firearm to commit crimes.”
Some also believe gun control laws will give the government and law enforcement officers too much power. Thousands have claimed that the right to bear arms was to protect yourself from the power-hungry government. By also having the equipment to defend yourself, it gives the citizens power as well. This way, if government tyranny ever befalls the United States of America, the people can fight back and defend the country. Gun rights activists have stated that this was the purpose behind the Second Amendment created by James Madison. To be able to free the public of a tyrannical government if it ever came to that in the United States.
GUN LAWS VIOLATING RIGHT TO OWN GUNS FOR SPORT AND HUNTING SOME SAY
A researcher for Statista discovered in 2017, around 15 million citizens went hunting that year in the U.S alone (“Topic: Hunting & Wildlife Viewing”). With so many individuals participating in the activity, many find it egregious that there might be a law that would take away their right to own a firearm. Some find it respectable to ban certain types of weapons that could only be used to harm the public. Other gun rights activists believe the public should have access to all types of firearms; asserting that many hunters spend millions of dollars on ammunition, guns, and more hunter equipment. Some believe taking away guns or even specific types of guns is putting a damper on hunting and shooting for sport.
One student who believes there should be a specific ban on types of firearms spoke out about it.“Owning a firearm is a Constitutionally protected right. Unless someone has shown they are not safe to own a weapon (criminal background, mental instability, etc.), a person’s rights should not be infringed upon. It is reasonable and prudent to do background checks (which already occur) to ensure that someone is safe to own a firearm. No types of weapons should be restricted except for fully automatic weapons (AR-style weapons are not fully automatic; they are semi-automatic). There are many reasonable and lawful reasons to own a firearm including self-protection, hunting, and sport (target shooting).” – Chad Streit
AGE RESTRICTION ARGUMENT
One gun control argument that has been disagreed upon for many years is the minimum age restriction to purchasing a gun in the United States. Currently, the minimum age for purchasing a handgun is set at twenty-one; for long guns, you must be eighteen or older to buy. Restrictions vary depending on the area, license, and use.
Numerous Pro-gun controlists support the idea of raising the minimum age to only twenty-one. While countless other anti-gun activists are backing up the idea of lowering the age limit for all guns down to eighteen or sixteen years of age.
An argument many anti-gun controlists offer up is the fact that by eighteen years of age you have the option of serving the military, why shouldn’t they be able to purchase a firearm? If they are old enough to defend this nation, then why are they limited to protecting themselves?
“Everyone should be able to purchase a gun. Everyone should also be able to carry a gun with a permit but lower the permitted age to sixteen. You should also be allowed with a permit to be able to carry on school or stadium grounds,” Cody Wetjen, a CCA High School student stated.
Other individuals have opposing views. Several pro-gun controlists believe guns should only be handled by older adults, those with no underlying mental health conditions, or people with criminal backgrounds. By keeping firearms out of reach from children, the mentally unstable, and criminals, millions believe this will lower the number of deaths due to gun injuries.
Isabella Hetrick expressed, “My thoughts are, the harder it is to get a gun, the less likely a kid will get a hold of one. With the whole arming teachers’ thing, now the gun is in an area that a kid could easily get to.”
Another student by the name of Miranda Heeran voiced their opinion by saying, “We need gun control so guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. I’m not saying we should take guns away, just prevent shootings from happening by doing better background checks.”
PRO GUN CONTROL: REDUCING GUN DEATHS
The purpose of gun control laws is to reduce the number of deaths that are caused by guns. While there are many ways someone can be put into a situation where they can be injured by a gun, most can agree that it comes down to the wrong people getting their hands on a firearm. Millions believe that by establishing gun control laws the number of deaths related to guns will decrease.
One detail that many pro-gun controlists support, as well as even anti-gun controlists, is more thorough background checks. As easy as it is purchasing a gun in the United States, many can agree that people with criminal backgrounds should have their right to have ownership of a firearm revoked or restricted.
A sensitive issue that we face today is the fact that millions of people facing mental health challenges can get their hands on a gun. Anyone can be facing a wide range of mental illnesses and it can be hard to spot. So with easy access to guns in America, one impulsive decision could be the cause for a mass shooting. With one gun you can end many lives or just one with a planned out suicide. With countless families who have been afflicted by these situations, many believe it is time to pass more strict gun control laws. By doing this, others speculate it will discourage people from buying guns for harm by making the process difficult.
Another law pro-gun control activists believe will help with mass shootings and suicides are by having a wait time to buy a gun. It is essentially what is called a “cool-off” where it gives individuals time to think about an impulsive decision or be able to get help. By establishing this law, an abundance of people believe this will help lower the deaths caused by guns.
“I believe there should be background checks for each and every person that wants to acquire a firearm. My reasoning for this is because a lot of past shooters, especially school shooters, were mentally unstable. If a background check is passed, we’ll know if someone is stable enough to purchase a firearm or not. I also think they should be renewed every two years if they want to possess a firearm. This way, it could lower mass shootings by a significant margin,” CCA student Alexandra Baty expressed.
DO MORE GUNS REALLY DISCOURAGES CRIME?
As mentioned previously in this article, some anti-gun control activists believe having more individuals carry guns will intimidate people from committing crimes. However, researchers have discovered that there is no correlation between a decrease in crimes and more gun ownership. According to an article from LiveScience, “‘We found no support for the hypothesis that owning more guns leads to a drop or a reduction in violent crime,’ said study researcher Michael Monuteaux, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. ‘Instead, we found the opposite’” (Pappas).
Other Pro-gun controlists are convinced that most guns are stolen by criminals from homes and buildings. Many claim that during home robbers most often legally owned guns are taken. Study shows from the Institute of Medicine, 1.4 million guns were stolen from homes by criminals, from 2005 to 2010 (“Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence”).
“I feel like gun control is very much so needed. People need to realize with gun control… We aren’t just taking guns away- but rather putting up some constrictions so that guns aren’t as accessible to the people that have bad intent,” Student Taylor Dolezal clarifies.
Another student specified, “I believe anti-gun cities are not progressive as criminals who are the source of gun violence do not legally have firearms but law-abiding citizens cannot have firearms and cannot protect or stop gun violence threats which leads to more firearm deaths. I believe no gun zones like Chicago should lift the ban on firearms with the exception of schools. One thing that should absolutely be put in place is making safe gun storage mandatory. As your kids or thieves can’t get your firearms, resulting in fewer criminals and children getting hands-on guns which can lead to murders and accidents. Kids getting a hold of one of their parent’s firearms is most of the time the cause of school shootings.” – Anthony Yeggy
MANY ARE AGAINST USING GUNS FOR SELF-DEFENSE
Some pro-gun controlists have claimed that presenting a gun only escalates the situation. Self-defense by using a gun against an intruder has rarely been successful many have stated. In some cases, it results in harming another victim in the situation. Some prefer to handle the situation without the use of a weapon. An example of ways people would rather manage a criminal is by screaming, shouting, running away, and or fitting with their fists. Most often, many prefer to do nothing and not risk endangering themselves more.
Among many who felt very passionately about this subject, student Alexandra Mcmorran voices, “Gun control needs to be in place so situations like what happened at the capital are at least less of a risk. If those people were to have come in with no guns they wouldn’t have been such a concern considering they wouldn’t be able to hurt so many people so quickly like you can with guns.”
Another student named Audrey Myers stated, “More gun control is fewer guns and gun availability which would prevent a fair amount of deaths. I get hunting rifles and handguns but anything else seems like too much for the public. I’ve used a gun before in a firing range and just generally didn’t enjoy it. I felt in danger by holding it knowing it could accidentally fire or be grabbed out of my hands and used against me.”
CCA GUN CONTROL SURVEY
A survey was sent out to high school students, teachers, and staff to record information on the general public opinion of gun control. Out of 102 responses, Approximately 94% of those who took the survey believed that background checks should be mandatory to purchase a firearm. While another 6% were against the idea. 56% percent said no to the idea of arming teachers in case of an intruder. Finally, 51.5% of students, teachers, and staff were pro-gun control, 26.7% had no opinion, and 21.8% were anti-gun control.
LEARNING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Many have suggested that the United States should consider what other countries have tried and build upon their ideas. For example, our neighboring country, Canada, has a ban on high capacity magazines and restricts certain types of guns that may be too powerful for the use of the public.
In Japan, they have a very high restriction on guns. Along with this, they have one of the lowest gun deaths in the world. With only certain types of guns being permitted, to obtain a gun you would need a special grant which takes rigorous testing to acquire.
After a deadly mass shooting in Australia, the government pushed for more gun control laws. Some of these laws restricted specific types of guns that may be too dangerous for the public. This includes some restrictions on handguns.
As demonstrated by other countries, it seems that gun control laws can be effective. Though many in the United States believe it is not worth losing our right to bear arms. With this argument still being debated to this day in America, millions wonder if this problem will ever be resolved.
- Dunn, Lisa. “How Many Gun Owners Are In The United States?” WAMU, WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio, 18 Sept. 2020, wamu.org/story/20/09/18/how-many-people-in-the-u-s-own-guns/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- Firearm Violence Prevention. 2021, www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/firearms/fastfact.html#:~:text=In%202018%2C%20there%20were%2039%2C740,firearm%2Drelated%20injuries%20than%20die. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- Pappas, Stephanie. “Guns Don’t Deter Crime, Study Finds.” Livescience.com, Live Science, 6 July 2015, www.livescience.com/51446-guns-do-not-deter-crime.html. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- GovTrack.us. “Second Amendment For Every Registrable (SAFER) Voter Act Would Lower Minimum Age to Buy a Handgun from 21 to 18.” Medium, GovTrack Insider, 21 Feb. 2020, govtrackinsider.com/second-amendment-for-every-registrable-safer-voter-act-would-lower-minimum-age-to-buy-a-handgun-d34387cf092b. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- https://www.facebook.com/washpostvisuals. “Gun Purchase Minimum Age: Where 2020 Democrats Stand.” Washington Post, The Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/gun-control/minimum-age-gun-purchase/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- “Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org.” Gun Control, 7 Aug. 2020, gun-control.procon.org/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- “Topic: Hunting & Wildlife Viewing.” Statista, Statista, 2018, www.statista.com/topics/1161/hunting-and-wildlife-viewing/#:~:text=Hunting%20and%20wildlife%20viewing%20are,to%20hold%20a%20hunting%20license. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- “Does Gun Control Really Work? | National Center for Health Research.” National Center for Health Research, 14 Dec. 2017, www.center4research.org/does-gun-control-really-work/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence.” Military Medicine, vol. 181, no. 4, Apr. 2016, pp. 291–293, www.nap.edu/resource/18319/FirearmViolence_RB.pdf, 10.7205/milmed-d-15-00568.
- https://facebook.com/adayinourshoesIEP, and https://facebook.com/adayinourshoesIEP. “10 Common Pro-Gun Arguments, Blown Away by Facts+ Why Gun Legislation Doesn’t Get Passed in This Country.” A Day In Our Shoes, 18 Oct. 2015, adayinourshoes.com/10-common-pro-gun-arguments-blown-away-by-facts/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
- PBS NewsHour. “How Do U.S. Gun Laws Compare to Other Countries?” PBS NewsHour, 13 June 2016, www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how-do-u-s-gun-laws-compare-to-other-countries. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.