It’s easy to believe that the youth of our country can’t think beyond their Facebook noses, but Gun Owners of California has had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting – and working with – some amazing young people who give us hope for the future of the United States. This week, our featured blog post comes courtesy of Hailey Jordan. She’s a high school junior who recently presented the following paper “Against Gun Control”, an argumentative essay where the students were told to take a stand and support their reasoning for a current issue, and she does a bang-up job! Hailey demonstrates a far greater understanding of the design and intent of our Constitution than most Americans. And the best thing is, she doesn’t just write about the 2nd Amendment – there’s action behind her words: thank you Hailey for all your work in making our Vacaville Dinner a great success!
It is our pleasure to reprint her essay.
AGAINST GUN CONTROL
by Hailey Jordan
What is the purpose of government? The U.S. Constitution answers this perfectly; “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” (U.S. Constitution, Preamble). This introduction to the U.S. Constitution promises that the government will protect U.S. citizens and their natural born rights. While the idea of protection would normally feel comforting, U.S. citizens cannot rest assured that the government will fulfill the standards enumerated in the U.S. Constitution as decisions the government makes often compromise these principles. Examples of this compromise would include the numerous times the government has or has tried to pass gun control laws. The government should not induce more gun control. In doing so the government would be infringing upon the second amendment, failing to properly address violence, and infracting upon the freedom to own guns for hunting and sport.
By imposing gun control the government is breaking their promise to protect U.S. citizens’ rights. The Bill of Rights explicitly states U.S. citizens’ unalienable rights, one of which is the right to bear arms. The second amendment states “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” (The Bill of Rights). This clearly states that Americans are born with the right to own guns, and the government cannot impede upon this right. However, when gun control is imposed making it harder or impossible for a U.S. citizen to own a gun, the right is infringed upon. The DOJ has a roster of handguns certified for sale in California and states that “No handgun may be sold by a firearms dealer to the public unless it is of the make and model that has passed required safety and functionality tests and is listed on the DOJ’s official roster of handguns certified for sale in California” (Pen. Code, #32000). This law prevents citizens from being able to own certain guns, which is infringing upon the second amendment. The government justifies this by saying that gun control will prove to be beneficial, reducing crime and violence. In reality, gun control fails to solve either of these issues.
An increase in gun control would not solve the issue of violence. Desert News announced that the Brady Campaign issued a 100-point scorecard ranking all the states in The U.S. on gun control enacted by 2011 including; background checks, permit-to-purchase laws, etc. Number nine on the list of states with the strictest gun laws is Illinois (Hartvigsen “10 States Strictest Gun Laws”). However, Neighborhood Scout listed the thirty cities with the highest homicide rates of 2017 and named East ST. Louis, IL as number one (“Top 30 Cities Highest Murder Rates”). Illinois had strict gun control laws for six years yet the state still had plenty of violence and crime. This directly shows that gun control does not resolve any violence or crime issues. A criminal, by definition, is a person who has committed a crime. Since these criminals have already proven themselves to be those who break the law, more laws would likely not prevent crime. Additionally, guns are not the actual problem that needs to be addressed. In 2012 a patient (Devin Kelley) escaped from a mental hospital in New Mexico. Later, in 2017, he shot and killed 26 people in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas (Emily Shapiro “Texas Shooting Suspect”). In this case, and numerous others, the human is not mentally stable, making them the threat, not the gun. There is a bigger issue at hand- mental health issues- that the government is failing to solve with gun control. This shooting in Texas occurred after an unstable patient escaped from a mental hospital; perhaps what the government needs to impose is stricter mental health regulations such as higher security at mental hospitals or better mental health awareness.
Gun control infracts upon the freedom to own guns for hunting and sport. Petersen’s Hunting summarizes how most hunters believe that the “common sense” gun laws the government wants to impose will not affect them. The hunters think that the gun laws only apply to the criminals and mentally unstable and therefore they can continue to hunt, unaffected (Mike Schoby “Why Gun Bans Affect Hunters”). However, the government continues to keep adding gun laws, making it harder and harder for even a regular person to purchase a gun. When the second amendment was written there was no gun control at all, but over time the U.S. has accumulated a vast number of them. What starts off as just “common sense” gun laws can eventually turn into a gun ban, which most certainly will affect hunters. In the state of California “It is illegal for any unauthorized person to possess or bring a firearm upon the grounds of, or into, any public school” (Pen. Code, #626.9). This gun control law directly impacts high school students as it makes it very difficult, and in some cases impossible, for high schools to have a trap team. Since this law will not allow schools to hold practices on campus, schools are either forced to find somewhere else to practice or not offer a trap team. Many schools do not even have access to another location to hold trap team practices, and therefore students do not have a trap team to join. This violates American’s freedoms as schools should be able to easily offer a trap team for students to join.
Many people seem to think that banning guns will result in significantly reduced violence. However, the ban of guns will fail to solve violence problems as criminals already, and will continue to, obtain guns illegally. The California Firearms Laws Summary states that any person convicted of a felony has a lifetime prohibition from owning a firearm (Penal Code Section 29905). Criminals clearly disregard laws, so even though it is illegal for a felon to own a firearm, felons still obtain and use guns illegally. Just because there is more gun laws does not mean criminals will follow them, therefore more gun control will not solve violence issues.
In summary, gun control infringes upon the second amendment, fails to solve violence issues, and violates U.S. citizens’ freedom to own guns for hunting and sport. All American citizens are born with unalienable rights that cannot be taken away. It is the government’s job to ensure that American’s rights don’t get taken away, yet they are the ones taking away our natural born freedoms. It is time America bands together to stand up for our rights and explore new solutions such as better mental hospital security or mental health awareness, instead of stricter gun laws.
Hartvigsen, Matthew. “10 States with the Strictest Gun Laws | Deseret News.” DeseretNews.com, 7 Apr. 2013, www.deseretnews.com/top/1428/0/10-states-with-the-strictest-gun-laws.html.
Schoby, Mike. “Why Gun Bans Affect Hunters.” Petersen’s Hunting, 1 May 2013, www.petersenshunting.com/conservation-politics/why-gun-bans-affect-hunters/.
Shapiro, Emily. “Texas Shooting Suspect Escaped from Mental Health Hospital in 2012, Attempted ‘to Carry out Death Threats’: Police Report.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 7 Nov. 2017, abcnews.go.com/US/texas-shooting-suspect-escaped-behavioral-center-2012-attempted/story?id=50985821.
“State of California – Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General.” State of California – Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General, oag.ca.gov/.
“Top 30 Highest Murder Rate Cities in the U.S. 2017.” NeighborhoodScout, 27 Oct. 2017, www.neighborhoodscout.com/blog/highest-murder-rate-cities.
Filed Under: Policies, The Blog
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.