The Need for Gun Control 1

The Need for Gun Control 1

The Need for Gun Control 1

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The Need for Gun Control

The Need for Gun Control

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, referred to as the right to carry a gun, is one of the most actively debated and anger producing amendments in the Constitution of the United States (CRS Annotated Constitution: Second Amendment, 2009). That so much debate, anger, protest, and social unrest would result from one of the shortest amendments in the Constitution is astounding, but it is true. There have been claims and debates about the proper reading of the amendment and what the first part of the amendment, the first thirteen [Use words for numbers one through nine and numerals for numbers 10 and greater.] words or the amendment, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” mean that the second part of this one-sentence long amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” requires that weapons be only available when a militia is required (CRS Annotated Constitution: Second Amendment, 2009). Finally, in 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States first interpreted this amendment and said that the amendment did not limit weapons only for the purpose of a militia (The Federalist Society, 2008). The debate over the issue of gun control has not ended with this decision. Evidence suggests, however [Use a semicolon between two related complete sentences that are not separated by a conjunction (and/or); Furthermore, a semicolon can be used before a conjunctive adverb (an adverb that functions as a conjunction).] , that without gun control the United States will not be able to stop unexpected or [Insert a comma before "or" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] unnecessary violence.

When the Supreme Court made its landmark decision on the Second Amendment in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (2008), its actions served only to intensify the debate regarding the issue of gun control (Liptak, 2008). Many Americans saw the decision as a victory for civil rights because they believed that it confirmed their belief that the founding fathers supported the right to bear arms because it helped people protect themselves from government tyranny (The Federalist Society, 2008; Krey, 2009). Other Americans, however [Insert a semicolon before] , were concerned over the consequences of this decision. These persons believe that when the Supreme Court acted to remove restrictions on gun ownership and control it created a rule of law that will lead to serious violence, death, and bloodshed (The Federalist Society, 2008). In fact, many of them stated that “Robespierre is smiling” to remind people of what occurred when any restraints regarding violence and the need to control public access to weapons of murder during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (The Federalist Society, 2008). Many persons of this view also point out that the Supreme Court decision in the Heller case is not one supported by the Constitution but is, instead, a decision that owes its existence to the work of the National Rifle Association (NRA) large and [Insert a comma before "and" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] very influential contributions to the Republican Party, which strongly supported the Court’s decision in Heller (Liptak, 2008).

The issue of gun control, however [Insert a semicolon before] , is one of more than simply political differences. Guns in America are part of the American culture (Patrick, et al., 2001). Conquering the West and visions of manifest destiny seemed to be tied to the right to own a gun (Love, 2009). After all, if one did not have a gun one would have a great deal of trouble taking land away from native populations (Love, 2009). At the same time, however [Insert a semicolon before] , government has repeatedly enacted or permitted gun control laws to exist (Lizotte et al., 2001). Further, the Second Amendment, unlike freedom of speech, religion, the press, search and [Insert a comma before "and" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] seizure, and others is not applicable to the states under the due process clause according to a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case, Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove (1983), meaning that states may pass gun control laws (the Supreme Court case involved the District of Columbia, a federal property) (Lizotte et al., 2001). However, the belief of Americans that they are “owed” guns as a part of their citizenship remains in effect.

The United States is rare in a group of first world nations because it is the only one that does not have gun control laws (Buchanan, 2009). Many believe that it is long past time for the United States to join this group of world nations, if not for international respect, then certainly for the sake of human lives. All one need to in order to understand how a lack of gun control laws leads to violence and death is examine the crime and murder statistics in the United States as compared to other, similar world nations. There are 13,000 murders in the United States involving handguns while only “128 handgun murders occur each year in Canada, 97 in Switzerland, and 60 in Japan (Zuckerman, 1996).” Since many have blamed violence and crime on the United States media, one would assume that nations which import American programming would also see increasing violence trends, but they [Noun-pronoun agreement problem. Since the noun is singular, the pronoun must be singular. Use "his" or "her" or "its" with a singular noun.] do not (Zuckerman, 1996). While studies have shown links between television and violence in adults and children, the truth is that the one thing that clearly seems to solidify the one reason why [Word choice. To eliminate redundancy (using two or more words that mean the same thing), use one word. Since a reason implies why, eliminate why. ] American has so many more murders than any other nation is the fact that America is the one nation without gun control laws (Zuckerman, 1996). The fact that guns “are used in 60% of all homicides and suicides, and handguns are used in 75% of all homicides” strongly supports the connection between guns and [Insert a comma before "and" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] murder in the United States (Zuckerman, 1996).

The fact that teens aged 16 to 19 years old in the United States are two to three times more likely then persons aged 20 and over in the United States should come as no surprise when it is learned that the median age of first time gun ownership in the United States is 12.5 years of age (Zuckerman, 1996). That Americans are so afraid of liquor and its effects on children that ["Use that for animals, things, and sometimes collective or anonymous people; use which only for animals and things; and use who for people and animals with names.] they deny them the right to drink prior to age 21 yet let them own guns long before they are deemed responsible enough to order a drink seems absolutely ridiculous. While gun advocates, such as those in the NRA claim that the availability of guns requires them to own guns for protection. This circular argument, however [Insert a semicolon before] , fails when it is revealed that FBI records prove that about 1/3 [A word-slash-word combination is inappropriate in an academic paper. Write it out word-slash-word.] of all homicides were committed by family members, friends, or neighbors, that almost half were committed by acquaintances, and only 22% were committed by perfect strangers (Zuckerman, 1996). The pie chart below shows these results in startlingly clear visual form:

The fact that NRA and those who argue against gun control say they need to protect themselves from danger because of “others” is not borne out by the reality of gun crimes and violence.

“The high rate of murders by people known to the victims raises the possibility that the availability of a gun can turn arguments into tragedy” (Zuckerman, 1996). Finally, studies have shown that even when other weapons are considered the fact remains “that when guns are more available, people are more likely to die” (Zuckerman, 1996).

Studies on the direct impact of gun control on crime and suicide rates (which closely follow homicide rates and trends) have been contradictory and have provided both sides of the argument with “proof” that they are right (Zuckerman, 1996; Leenaars & [In APA style, use an ampersand (&) only in text citations for sources within the document and in References at the end of the essay. Do not use an ampersand (&) to take the place of "and". ] Lester, 1997). In truth, even the research often quoted by the NRA as supporting the fact that gun control laws do not reduce crime actually [Word choice. Actually is a weak word whose literal meaning is “in point of fact.” Actually can usually be deleted from the sentence with no change in meaning. ] did state that some gun control laws did lead to a direct decrease in homicide and other crimes (Zuckerman, 1996). Others also argue that gun control laws will only affect future gun ownership and not have any effect in reducing gun violence and crime. However, this argument not only relies on the belief that no change can ever fix the situation but [Insert a comma before "but" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] , further, it is incorrect based on results in Canada. New gun control laws passed in Canada in 1977 actually [Unnecessary. Delete actually.] did have a direct reduction in the percent of firearms used for both suicides and homicides after 1977 (Leenaars & [Do not use an ampersand (&) to take the place of and. ] Lester, 1997). The chart on the following page provides the detail from the Canadian study which found the decreases.

True, these declines may not be large, but any life saved is invaluable. Further, although the American culture and history has developed with a strong belief in the power of the gun and the right to own guns, that does not mean that the America that created that belief still exists or that the America that exists today requires that belief. There may have been, after the Revolutionary War, a time when the future of America was in doubt and when the Founding Fathers and the citizenry may have felt that [Use a form of "believe," which is more accurate (and not a cliché)] guns were need for self defense “just against individual criminals, but also to prevent the tyranny of runaway government (Krey, 2009).” In 2009, however [Insert a semicolon before] , this argument seems hollow. To accept that belief today one would have discredit the reality that Americans have not had to fight for the right to exist as a nation against a foreign power since the War of 1812. Political arguments in our nation are common and sometimes turn violent, but the need to use weapons to protect one’s home and family from government tyranny is not how Americans defend their lives and [Insert a comma before "and" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] property. Instead, Americans have found that voting is a very effective means of assuring they are protected from government tyranny.

The days when guns were needed as a part of life have also gone by. Americans may still hunt today, but to claim that one needs a gun to simply go [Split infinitive—try "simply to go", "to go simply", or place "simply" after the direct object] about their [Noun-pronoun agreement problem. Both the noun (person, place, or thing) and pronoun (his, her, or their) must be singular, or both must be plural. Use his, her, or its with a singular noun.] business as an American and to be safe denies the fact that either a majority of people or [Insert a comma before "or" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] at least half the households in the United States do not own guns (Zuckerman, 1996). If guns were necessary to life, safety, survival, protection, and any other purpose then the overwhelming majority of the nation should have guns. The fact that this is not the case supports that belief that Americans do not have any need for guns for any purpose other than to kill. Sadly, that is, in fact, what guns are used for – killing. American culture may be unable to lose this last token of the Wild West, but the days of living in lawless towns should have ended when police departments became standard in even the smallest communities. Many argued against doing away with slavery by saying that it would end the progress of the nation and the ability to live safely – they were wrong. Those who use the same arguments to argue against gun control laws are wrong for the same reason and their arguments, just as those of the slave supporters were, should be ignored.

The right to carry a gun is considered paramount and essential to freedom for many Americans. An equal number of Americans, however [Insert a semicolon before] , view the right to carry a gun as no longer necessary for a nation where there is no open range and few, if any Americans, have a need to protect their [Noun-pronoun agreement - use his, her, or its with a singular noun] livestock or lives through a gun. Instead, these people state that the ability to carry a gun is creating nothing but [Insert a comma before "but" if the following (1) is the last in a series of more than two, OR (2) it begins a new clause (could be a sentence by itself)] a “Wild West” country where too many people die simply to meet the demand of some Americans who want to own guns. The crime statistics and the number of gun related homicides in the United States stand as proof that a country without gun control laws is a nation where gun crimes are far, far, greater than in nations where they do exist. As many states now pass concealed carry laws and shootings at malls and schools become common it may be time to ask whether national security, so important in a post-9/11 [A word-slash-word combination is inappropriate in an academic paper. Write it out word-slash-word.] world, can be provided in a nation where gun control is seen as a restriction of freedom. [Since "or" does not appear later in the sentence—the situation has only one outcome—use "if" not "whether."] Freedom may only exist where one can be free from the danger that a gun will end one’s life. The students and teachers in Colorado’s Columbine High School [Incorrect capitalization. Do not capitalize.] might agree as well as those who died at Virginia Tech. The nation must realize that random deaths will not stop until limits on acquiring the weapons that cause those deaths are enacted.


Buchanan, J. M. (2009). Silent Guns. Christian Century, 126(10), 3. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier.

CRS Annotated Constitution: Second Amendment. (2009). Cornell University Law School. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from

The Federalist Society Online Debate Series: District of Columbia v. Heller. (2008). The Federalist Society. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from

Krey, P. (2009). Exercising the Right. New American, 25(17), 40. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.

Leenaars, A.A., Lester, D. (1997). Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 29(1), 253-257. Retrieved August 24, 2009

Liptak, A. (2008). Court Rejects Strict Gun Law as Unconstitutional. The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2009, from 10gun.html?ex=1331182800&en=bdd88523e714fecd&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rs