In the wake of so many mass shootings, it should come to no surprise that the discussion of whether or not guns should be banned arises once more. There are an abundance of sound arguments on both sides of the spectrum that it's hard sometimes to blatantly stand for one over the other. So, in the name of being open-minded, here are two pros and cons for both sides of the argument.
Pros for Gun Control:
1. Less Shootings (?)
It varies by country, but as a general rule, if guns were harder to obtain, then there would be less guns lying around and therefore less shootings. Children, teens and those suffering from mental illnesses would no longer be able to access their parents and friends guns if guns were made difficult or near impossible to purchase by the public. This is an argument that we have all heard time and time again. I certainly have wondered from time to time how many school and university shooting could have been prevented if only these teens and young adults didn't have access to guns. So, I looked to Australia , a country with virtually no gun violence. A place where guns are practically impossible to purchase since Australia passed strict gun laws in 1996. Which does come with some perks, but also cons which we'll look at in a second. There are many mixed opinions as to whether or not their strict laws helped or harmed their society but the fact is: they did it and it is important to study how if we are to do the same.
2. No More Gun Culture
In the USA -- or at least the South -- we have something called a gun culture. It has been this way since people first migrated here and settled in the valleys and mountains that run through this part of the states. We have gun shows and hunting ranges, and during most of the year I fall asleep and wake up to sounds of gunshots as hunters go after the abundance of deer and turkeys that populate this area. It is a part of life, but it comes with its drawbacks. Just yesterday, there was a story on the news about a woman who was killed by a stray bullet as she was in her backyard gardening. The gun culture here causes a lot of accidents seeing as firearms and hunting rifles are accessible to young kids and teens. Not to mention the irresponsibility of adults, which contributes to a lot of deaths here in my state. Everything from stray bullets, declination of wildlife or even the rare occasion of someones gun literally backfiring as he or she is trying to clean their weapon! The fact is, accidents happen and a lot of them could be eliminated if the South's love of guns were to cease existing.
Cons for Gun Control
1. Supply/Demand Will Increase in Black Markets
While the pros of gun control are very good points, we've got to consider something that is as American as it gets. And that is the fact that here in America, we want something when we want it and we will do anything to get it. So, if guns were banned, or if we followed the path of Australia with strict gun laws, well, it doesn't seem possible. The people who wanted access to guns would get them one way or another. Like in the Paris 2015 Attacks where the guns were smuggled in from Phoenix, Arizona.
2. Increase in Crimes Involving Alternative Weapons.
Yes, gun violence would decrease, we see prime examples of that in countries like Japan, that made the list for being one of the safest places in the world as far as crime rates go. But in other places like Australia, there was an increase in violence involving alternative weapons.
Gun control has worked for many countries and failed for others. The best thing America can do is look at the facts, compare stats, and then decide what path to take from there. Gun control has it's appealing aspects but no plan is perfect. It's really up to all of us to decide the lengths we are willing to go to end gun violence in America.
Pros for Gun Accessibility:
1. Citizens Are Able to Defend Themselves
In case of a shooting, citizens are able to defend themselves against threats and possibly save countless lives. We see a good example of this in Switzerland where most of it's citizens own guns. And I suppose it makes sense. If someone were to go into a theater and start open firing, there would be a pretty good chance that he/she would get taken out by one of his/her would-be victims who also had a gun. Again, it really depends on the country.
2. Less Fear
If guns were made more accessible, we'd know more about them and how to responsibly handle a firearm. We would have more confidence in our ability to defend and protect ourselves. Guns, after all, are just inanimate objects and aren't something to be feared.
Cons for Gun Accessibility:
1. More Accidents/Stray Bullets
On the other hand, people aren't always aware of their surroundings while operating a firearm and accidents are bound to happen if given the opportunity. If guns were more accessible, accidents would be more likely to occur.
This ties in with the first one in a way. People are irresponsible, accidents happen, cabinets are left open, children are left unattended and guns are left lying around because some people have no regard for safety.
Maybe people can't handle guns being so accessible. People are irresponsible and don't have high regard sometimes for the lives and/or safety of others which brings me to my next point.
Reasons for Gun Violence:
1. We Don't Value Life
There really is only one reason, and I think that will always be the only one. Fact of the matter is, we don't value human life. This is not something new, it has been this way long before guns and will continue to be this way long after. We keep on finding better ways to kill one another and that has been going on for as long as there have been humans to kill. We are not kind to one another and I have no idea why. There are stats on how often we do it and where it occurs but there is nothing on why it happens and how to solve it.
We are becoming immune to gun violence and violence in general, and the only thing I could come up with is that we do not know how to adequately respond. How does one begin to mourn? How can we stop this? How can we be better? I don't know and I'm not sure any of us really know. That's why there are two sides to this argument and after extensive research, I am not entirely sure which side I agree with anymore. It's a problem of the heart. Our hearts are broken, we don't know how to stop and we don't know how to begin.
How do we change?
Can we even change or is it too late?
Change begins with us deciding what we are going to do to make the world around us better. The question is not whether or not we should ban guns but rather how do we learn to value human life?
What do you think?
EXAMPLES OF PRO GUN CONTROL ARTICLES
Pro gun control articles are talking about the necessity of stricter regulations of individual gun possessions or call to ban it altogether. Here are some of the most recent and insightful articles:
- 4 Pro-Gun Arguments We're Sick of Hearing by Amanda Marcotte, Rolling Stone Gun control is being talked about all over, so you should not be surprised to find an article about it in media like the Rolling Stone magazine. What is surprising, however, is how insightful this short piece is. Marcotte does not claim expertise in the subject-matter. Instead, she speaks as an outsider at whom pro-gun arguments are aimed and explains why they don't appeal to her.
- Battleground America by Jill LePore, The New Yorker This article is a priceless piece if you want a brief yet deep overview of the entire historical background of the gun control issue. It starts with investigating the language and the spirit of the Second Amendment and goes on talking about how our understanding, as well as the situation with firearms, has changed over the years since then.
- California's Proposed Gun Laws Won't Change Our Culture of Violence, But They Will Make Us Safer by LA Times Editorial Board This is an editorial piece with a profound overview of the present-day gun control regulations in the state of California, which are some of the strictest in the country. The authors discuss the effectiveness of these laws and conclude that the existing regulations are still not strict enough.
- Gun Control and the Constitution: Should We Amend the Second Amendment? by Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek This article tackles the issue from a linguistic standpoint and states that the very language of the Second Amendment is just too vague and leaves too much room for speculation. Barrett suggests that instead of trying to fix it by clarifying, we should introduce a whole new, more clear and strict set of regulations that distinctly limit the individual possession of firearms to the militia.
- It's Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them by Phoebe Maltz Bovy, New Republic Bovy stands on a more radical position. She insists that the very concept of individual firearm possession is wrong and should be banned altogether.
- Why We Can't Talk About Gun Control by James Hamblin, The Atlantic Before he started working at The Atlantic, Hamblin was fired from his previous office for writing about gun control. Based on his own experience, he concludes that the topic is too politicized and any attempt to start a talk is viewed as an attack on our sacred rights and liberties. He suggests that we drop the political bias from this talk and start taking this matter the way it is.
ANTI GUN CONTROL ARTICLES
Anti gun control articles are put out by experts who claim that gun control regulations should not be made stricter, but rather weakened or dropped altogether. Here are some recent and insightful examples:
- 5 Arguments Against Gun Control - And Why They Are All Wrong by Evan DePhilippis and Devin Hughes, LA Times This article is written by the co-founders of a gun prevention site Armed With Reason. They claim that gun violence cannot be dealt with by stricter regulations. They see it as a myth that needs to be debunked, because actual criminals do not act based on any regulations.
- A Criminologist's Case Against Gun Control by Jacob Davidson, Time In this piece, Davidson has a very informative conversation with James Jacobs, the director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law, where they (finally!) give a clear definition of gun control and critically scrutinize the most popular gun control methods - both practiced and suggested.
- 'American Sniper' Widow: Gun Control Won't Protect Us by Taya Kyle, CNN Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle - the one whose story is depicted in the movie American Sniper. As one may expect, it is a deeply emotion-driven piece. If you want to know more about her story, feel free to check out her book American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal.
- Gun Control Isn't the Answer by James Q. Wilson, LA Times Wilson's expertise in the subject-matter leaves no doubt, as he is a respected teacher at Pepperdine University and the author of several books on crime. In this article, he blames the gun control lobby for being populist and suggesting no concrete plan of action - particularly, on what to do with about the existing individual gun owners.
- How Gun Control Kills by Jack Hunter, The American Conservative Hunter works with the conservative Senator Rand Paul's team. He wrote this article to express his discontent with the unfairness of pro gun control lobbyists who, according to him, focus on instances of individual gun owners cause crime and ignore those when such people have stopped or confronted crime. He also lists several latter cases.
- Why Gun Owners Are Right to Fight Against Gun Control by David T. Hardy, Reason.com Hardy practices as an attorney in the state of Arizona. He sees pro gun control lobbyists as fanatics on a crusade, completely incapable of a constructive dialogue, who won't stop until individual gun ownership exists no more.
TYPES OF GUN CONTROL ESSAYS
When you are already well-informed on the topic of gun control and know where to get more information, should you need it, you can consider yourself ready to write a gun control essay. But regardless of how well-informed you may be on any given issue, you still need to know what kind of essay you are writing, because on that depends what will be expected of you. You can be assigned to write the following types of gun control essays:
- Argumentative essay on gun control. An argumentative essay uses logic to convince the reader that the author's argument is correct. In this case, it will be either pro or anti gun control argument.
- Cause and effect gun control essay. A cause and effect essay investigates a particular event that happened or can happen and suggests what it leads to or can lead to.
- Compare and contrast gun control essay. A compare and contrast essay lists the similarities and differences between two subjects. In this case, it can be, for example, pro and anti gun control standpoints or between the people with such standpoints.
- Critical gun control essay. A critical essay talks about advantages and disadvantages of something. Here, we can talk about pros and cons of a particular approach to gun control.
- Definition gun control essay. A definition essay is not unlike a dictionary article. You can define gun control or some other related notion.
- Descriptive gun control essay. A descriptive essay describes its subject in terms of senses. For example, you can talk about what the world around you would look, sound, or perhaps even smell like if there were no gun control regulations or if they were utterly strict.
- Expository gun control essay. The definitive feature of an expository essay is that it leaves no room for personal opinion. All you do here is present the subject the way it is. For example, you can expose the current gun control regulations in your state or the current state of the discussion.
- Narrative gun control essay. A narrative essay is when you tell a story - real or fiction. If it should be about gun control, you can talk about what happened because of the gun control regulations effective in your story.
- Persuasive essay on gun control. A persuasive essay aims at convincing an opponent of your rightness. For example, you can convince an anti gun control lobbyist that s/he is wrong and you are right.
- Process gun control essay. A process essay usually has the form of a how-to guide. You describe a problem - for example, gun violence - and explain how it can be solved - for example, with stricter gun control regulations.
You can see that with such a topic as gun control, it is both easiest and most interesting to write a persuasive or an argumentative essay. So, these are the kinds of essays that you will most likely have to write about gun control.
WRITING A GUN CONTROL PERSUASIVE ESSAY
When faced with a concrete task to write a persuasive essay, the first thing you will need is a controversial topic with at least two possible opposing opinions. There is hardly a topic more controversial topic than gun control so you won't have to worry about that. Secondly, you need a strong argument that you will persuade your reader of. Both pro and anti gun control standpoints can produce such an argument.
When you have a topic and an argument, you can begin your research. First and foremost, this involves the historical background of the issue, but you should not limit yourself to that. You should also be informed about what various reputable experts have to say on the topic. Importantly, you need to be well-informed about both sides of the debate, so you could effectively rebuke all the arguments that your hypothetical opponent may have.
Once you conclude your research, you should outline your essay and start writing. Typically, all essays, including persuasive ones, are divided into three sections:
- Introduction. Here, you introduce your topic to your reader by providing some background information and formulating your argument in your essay's main thesis.
- Main body. Here, you present your argument and the opposing argument and explain why your argument is correct and the opposing one is not.
- Conclusion. Here, you briefly restate your argument and why it is superior to that of your opponent.
As we have mentioned, a persuasive essay writings is aimed at convincing your supposedly opponent reader that your standpoint on a particular issue is right and their standpoint is wrong. To achieve this, you can employ all three known methods of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. Using ethos, you appeal to your reader's sense of ethics by employing your authority or that of the authors to whom you refer. Using pathos, you appeal to your reader's emotions with irrational or seemingly irrational arguments. Using logos, you appeal to your reader's common sense by employing dry facts and logic. A gun control persuasive essay centers around its goal - to persuade the reader, so all any persuasion method is good, as long as it is effective. In the best case scenario, you will use all three.
WRITING AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY ON GUN CONTROL
An argumentative essay on gun control will be a more challenging piece of writing than a persuasive one because you are strictly limited to logos, i.e., you have to employ only logic to convince your opponent of your rightness. It is hard to investigate gun control-related issues without the emotionally-loaded context of the tragic events causing these discussions, as hard as it is to stay neutral and steer clear of emotions, as a gun control argumentative essay demands, when you talk about it.
However, this is the most significant difference between a persuasive and an argumentative essay that you should keep in mind. As for the research, the outline, and the writing process itself, a gun control argumentative essay will not be all that different from a persuasive one, and you follow the same steps that you would with a persuasive essay.
WRITING A GUN CONTROL RESEARCH PAPER
Once you start digging into the gun control issue, you will see that this topic is so broad and multi-angled that it can be investigated on and on in much larger works than an essay. You can easily have enough material for a gun control research paper, a term paper, or even a degree paper and build an entire academic career on this topic.
Still, if we talk about a research paper, it will be too small to talk about gun control in general and on the whole. You will have to make your topic more narrow and specific. This will be your first step in writing a research paper on gun control. Note that your initial research paper topic does not need to be finite. In the course of your pre-writing process, you will be able to modify your topic on the go to make it more original and exciting.
Another important detail of a research paper is that you have to use (or, at least, cite) an extended number of sources. Two or three sources will usually suffice for an essay, but a research paper needs no less than five. Interestingly, your sources do not have to be all about the works of other authors. You are also allowed - or, sometimes, even encouraged to refer to your own empirical research data. For example, you can conduct a survey of your own and refer to it in your research paper.