After another tragic yet increasingly unsurprising school shooting in Parkland, FL, I felt compelled to write a few of my responses to common arguments against increased gun control. If you would like to continue the discussion, feel free to write a response in the comments or submit a response article into the Contact Us Page.
Pro Gun Argument #1: Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People.
This is technically true. Just like any inanimate object (such as a bomb or toxic gas), the gun is not acting as its own living entity. However, guns make it much easier for one person to kill numerous people, as seen by America’s frequent, tragic mass shootings. When looking at gun ownership percentage vs. gun deaths on a state-by-state and country-by-country level, there seems to be one irrefutable conclusion: more gun ownership in a place typically catalyzes more gun related deaths.
Pro Gun Argument #2: Gun Control Laws won’t prevent bad people from obtaining guns.
Laws serve as a way to disincentivize people from doing bad things. Heroin, for example, is illegal in the United States. However, people in America still do heroin. Thus, should we legalize heroin? Of course not! We do not structure our laws around how criminals will react to them. Although stricter gun control laws will not completely stop bad people from getting guns, we must not let the perfect get in the way of the good, especially when the stakes are so high. America’s children are counting on Congress to pass any legislation as an attempt to stop them from being massacred at school. After enduring 13 mass shootings, Australia implemented strict gun control laws. There has not been a mass shooting in Australia in over twenty years. Clearly, Gun Control can help in some capacity.
Pro Gun Argument #3: If more good citizens carried guns then we wouldn’t have to worry about mass shootings.
Once again, I would point to the well-established fact that more guns cause more gun related deaths. In the recent Vegas shooting, the shooted slaughtered 59 people at a concert from a building over 1000 feet away. Imagine if everyone in that crowd had been carrying a gun. In the chaos and madness, good people would have inevitably shot at each other, mistaking other people for the killer. This would have exacerbated the death count unimaginably. Or, perhaps some of the crowd would shoot at the building, potentially hitting innocent hotel residents. More guns would have been the very worst possible thing in that scenario — and it would have significantly complicated the jobs of the police officers.
Pro Gun Argument #4: The 2nd Amendment
The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution certainly states that individuals have the right to bear arms. Similarly, the Constitution also plainly states that slaves and those bound to service counted as “three-fifths of all other persons.” The Constitution is far from perfect, and glorifying its words as such actually betrays the intentions of the Founding Fathers. Our Founding Fathers, whom the NRA loves to cite as prime examples of gun advocates, frequently challenged the Constitution. In reference to the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton claimed that he would never expect “perfect work from imperfect man.” The Founding Fathers anticipated that America’s issues would evolve beyond those addressed in the Constitution. In fact, Thomas Jefferson proposed that the Constitution should expire and be rewritten by each generation to ensure each generation helped shape the government. If the Constitution was re-drafted today, stricter gun control would almost definitely be included in it — a recent poll found 97% of people support increased gun control measures.
The 2nd Amendment, moreover, is not a carte blanche for citizens to own whatever types of weapons they’d like. Just as citizens are not allowed to own fully automatic machine guns (in almost all cases) or nuclear weapons (in ALL cases), there must be clear restrictions on the types of weapons people should be allowed to own. There is a clear distinction between hunting weapons and assault (n. a physical attack; v. make a physical attack on) rifles. As the definition of ‘assault’ suggests, an assault rifle is not a defensive weapon. Seemingly, the most practical use for an assault weapon is, as the name suggests, an assault. The most memorable mass shootings of recent history share a common denominator: the AR-15. That was the gun that killed 17 students and faculty members in a span of three minutes last week at a school in Parkland, FL, That was the gun that mowed down innocent concert-goers at a Vegas music festival, killing 59 and injuring 100s. That was the gun that killed 20 first-graders and six teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
Every single American child deserves to go to school without a fear of being gunned down during class. While I am certainly not suggesting that Congress bans all guns, Congress should be able to drastically limit the accessibility of assault weapons and guns in general. Hopefully, congressmen can give their votes to preventing gun violence so that they don’t have to give their thoughts and prayers.