In society today, the issue of gun control has been becoming more and more relevant, especially with all of the recent shootings, including the Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting as well as Sandy Hook. People are blaming guns for these tragic happenings when really the irresponsible person holding the gun is at fault. We don’t blame cars for car accidents, so why blame guns for shooting crimes? The person in control is at fault. Taking away guns is going to do more harm than good in society and it should not happen. People of this country have the right to protect themselves and own guns, so long as they are capable and responsible. Even though guns are dangerous, being defenseless is even more dangerous and everyone should have the right to defend themselves, whether or not firearms are used.
As people of this country we should have the right to defend ourselves, and that should include defense by firearms. The gun owner does not have to pull the trigger of a firearm. Sometimes the threat of the gun and the possibility of it being fired is enough to send those who intend harm away. “Statistics show that in true life instances of self-defense with firearms, firing the gun was necessary only one third to one half of the time, the rest of the time the mere presence of a gun was enough to scare away the attacker” (Moore 5).Some people are more defenseless than others including the elderly and smaller men and women. People have the right to defend themselves, but sometimes they are limited in doing so by inadequate physical ability, age and other factors. Statistics show that people who are attacked by a criminal are safer if they use a weapon to resist their attacker than if they do not resist. In addition, those who resist with a gun are less likely to be injured than those who use a less effective weapon, such as a knife. (Moore 5) Although there are means of defense other than guns, they are the most effective form of protection from someone trying to harm you. A knife is threatening, but there is not much you can do from a long distance, and throwing it won’t be the best option, since you would essentially be losing your weapon if you miss. Self-defense such as karate and other martial arts techniques also really can’t be used at a long distance, and are of no match to a criminal threat with a gun.
Larry Pratt says, “Evil is in our hearts, not in the guns” (Burbaker1). Many advocates for gun restrictions and bans like to state that “Guns kill; people do not” (Zaremski1). I find this to be a faulty argument. It is people who kill, a gun will not kill unless the person holding it decides to use it to kill, and pulls the trigger. A gun lying around is not going to do any harm a gun is not making the decision to kill or to shoot its bullets; it does not have a mind. It is when a person picks up that gun that it is fired, the person with thoughts and a mind, he or she is killing not the gun. Anything can be fashioned into a weapon, and there are so many already made weapons out there. We should have the right to our guns, just as we have the right to any weapon out there. None of these weapons are doing any harm to us unless someone makes that happen. We should have the right to defend ourselves with a firearm if necessary if we are threatened by someone.
The second amendment of the constitution states that, “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.” Back then, a militia was comprised of ordinary, common male citizens, who not only had the right, but the duty to own guns to protect the country and form a militia. Don Kates states that, “The amendment, in guaranteeing the arms of each citizen, simultaneously guaranteed arms for the militia” (2347). The founding fathers set it up so that the people had means of defense from anyone, including other citizens, foreigners, and even their own government. People such as James Madison, who was the one to introduce the Bill of Rights stated that the amendments in it “relate first to private rights” (NRA-ILA). He is stating that the Bill of Rights relates to private rights of the citizens before it relates to state or national rights, proving that it is the right of the people to own a firearm for protection. The second amendment talks about us as citizens owning guns for defense, not just the government. It would be going against the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights to take away or limit gun ownership and usage. Yes, this privilege should be taken away from those who abuse it and harm others or have the potential to harm, but not from regular, responsible citizens. This amendment is not only for personal and military defense, but also was intended to protect citizens from a tyrannical government, so that if it happens, people are able to defend themselves. Moore also states that, “The Founding Fathers of our country won our freedom with firearms. After we won our independence the Founding Fathers included the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution to ensure that the freedom they fought for would last” (6). They put this in so that we had the right not only to defend ourselves from any harm from others or even animals, but also so that we had a defense to protect our freedom if it was ever threatened by the government. By taking away our guns, you are in a sense taking away part of our freedom as the people of this country.
Some people argue that we have the right to protect ourselves from all dangers, including guns, and that there should be a more restrictive gun control. While it is true that we should make sure that guns should stay out of the hands of felons and mentally unstable people, they should not be banned from regular, responsible citizen’s hands. Moore defines what a responsible citizen is, The citizen must be law-abiding, with no felony record, must not abuse alcohol or drugs, must not be mentally ill, must not have renounced U.S. citizenship, must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military, and must be in the U.S. legally (2). Upon purchasing a gun you have to take a class on gun safety and use and are required to have a full criminal background check and to give your full set of fingerprints. I do not think that this is being enforced enough and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If we can keep the guns out of the wrong hands, we can eliminate most of the crimes caused by them. “By definition, a criminal is someone who breaks the law. Criminals have many ways to obtain weapons without going through the process mandated by the Brady Bill. Two obvious examples are theft and black market purchases. According to studies only one firearm of every six used in a crime is obtained legally” (Moore 3). Eliminating guns in this country will do nothing, stopping the wrong people to get their hands on it could. We are not going to ban cars because someone crashed it and they died. Many things are dangerous, it is up to the person to be responsible with it. Most products have a warning label or say what not to do with them, such as do not use your hair dryer in the bath, but, it is up to you as a person to be responsible with it and to protect yourself from harm. If another person lacks that responsibility, and uses something to harm you, such as a weapon, you should be able to defend yourself, even with a gun.
Think about how well it went in the 1920’s when the prohibition happened and alcohol was made illegal, people still got alcohol through the black market, and because of that demand, the black market grew. The same is true today with the ban on drugs, they are illegal, but people can still get them, and people still use them. The same thing is going to happen, only with guns. Many surveys suggest criminals obtain their weapons through this illegal firearms market. One study indicated that in 37 percent of their arrests the criminal said they could obtain a gun in less than a week, while another 20 percent said they could get a firearm in a day or less. (O’Niell 1). You everyday criminals don’t just walk to the gun store and buy a gun; they get it from the black-market. These guns are usually stolen guns and unregistered. Taking away our right to legally have and buy guns is only going to lead to guns being in the wrong hands and ordinary citizens will be defenseless.
Chicago, once seen as one of those go-to American cities, with its sweeping skyline and the lake, is now seen and is a haven for gun violence and crime. It has the strictest gun laws in the country; the question is what went wrong. Houston is very similar to Chicago in terms of socioeconomic factors such as population, density, and segregation. Houston, like Chicago, is a major center for illegal activities such as the drug trade and human trafficking. Despite all this, Houston has a murder rate two-thirds [than] that of Chicago. This is because the people of Houston are well armed, while innocents in Chicago have been condemned to be sitting ducks. (Vidal1) Many of the guns in Chicago that are used for these shootings are illegally obtained and are in the hands of criminals and gangs. You are able to get a gun in Chicago now, but you have to go through a firearms training class, 2 background checks, and have a firearm’s owner I.D. card. Only 7,640 people legally own a gun in Chicago, the rest are illegally had, 7,400 illegal guns last year were confiscated from crimes (Maass 1). The gun free law in Chicago is clearly not working if more guns are being confiscated from criminals than responsible citizens who own guns.
Many people complain about the high rate of crimes involving guns and gun use in America. A law banning guns probably won’t lower this number at all. If we don’t have means to protect ourselves, we would have to find a way to call for help, such as law enforcement. There are not enough police to go around and protect everybody, and sometimes they come and too late. In that time it took for the cops to get there, that could have been the last few moments of that person’s life. We need to be able to defend ourselves. “Laws are not enough to protect people from aggression. We must allow people the means to protect themselves. Protection is a major reason that about half of all Americans own a firearm” (Moore 5). Yes firearms can be used against us, but they can also be used for us. We need to have more effective criminal regulations and crime control, rather than more gun control. This is the only way to stop crimes whether or not they involve guns.
The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut was unsettling, killing twenty-seven people, including twenty school children and seven adults. This school, just like all in the United States, is a gun-free zone, but should that mean those teachers and other staff, such as the cop in the school should not have access to guns? The gun free zone did not stop Adam Lanza, the shooter from bringing in his three guns to the school and killing 20 students and six adults. “Police and other first responders arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the first calls” (Sandy Hook 1). Had these teachers and staff had a gun or any means of protection at all, he may have been stopped before he killed anybody or at an even lower number, especially since the police arrived that long after calls. Pratt states, “Virtually all mass murders in the past 20 years have occurred in gun-free zones” (1). A mass murder is considered three or more deaths. The main reason that these have happened in gun free zones is because no one other than a police officer has a gun and can stop him and by that time one shows up there is a relatively high chance that more than three people are dead. I do believe that teachers should have a gun in their desk and ready just in case of another incident such as the Sandy Hook Tragedy or at least a cop in every school. Guns should be allowed on these gun-free zones by honest citizens. Criminal are not obeying the rules about the gun-free zones, so why should we take the chance and leave the school children, or mall goers at risk? Taking away guns is not going to solve anything, but instead leave the guns in the hands of criminals.
Guns should be kept legal, and yes there should be regulations and better eye on who has it, but making them illegal all together will just cause us to be defenseless and a black market will start up for guns, just like all illegal things. We just need to better regulate the criminals, mental patients, and those on prescription drugs that could alter personality and rationality, not have guns. We need to have better crime control, rather than gun control and teach responsibility and safety and risks of guns. Making everyone well-educated on the topic and of guns themselves will overall help. Even making it mandatory to have a background check and mental health check every few years to make sure that these guns are in the right hands would help out a lot. Most of the time it’s not normal citizens that commit the crimes but criminals, and by taking away guns from normal good, people, we will be essentially leaving them in the wrong hands and taking away our protection.
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