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How Gun Control Debate Shapes Americans’ Opinions

Nothing is hotter in the United States than the debate concerning gun control. Almost every trendy issues, ranging from terrorism to election, necessarily involves gun control debate in it. Civilian ownership of firearm is indeed a controversial matter. On the one hand, civilians need a reliable arm to defend themselves. On the other, scores of murder cases and killing sprees that occur in the United States involve the use of legally owned gun. Due to the recent cases of terrorist attacks in the US soil, the government brings up gun control issue and attempts to push for stricter gun control laws. This debate becomes increasingly fervent as the presumptive presidential candidates of the two main political parties consider the issue a hot asset for their electoral campaign. At the present, talks about gun control are hot talks among both commoners and elites in the state and federal-level government.

Here we are going to explore some basic rationales that gun control and gun right supporters use to defend their contention and the possible risks and benefits that we can reap if stricter gun control laws are either enacted or abandoned.

Grounds of the Debate
Both gun control and gun right supporters recurrently mention the following bases for their argument.

1.     The Second Amendment constitutionally guarantees civilians’ right to bear arms.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution 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.”
This is possibly the strongest legal and constitutional foundation for gun right activists to reinforce their argument concerning civilians’ right to experience more lenient gun control regulation. As the right to bear arms is protected by the constitution, there is nothing that is stronger than an amendment that can revoke this right. In other words, any gun control measures that attempt to make gun control laws stricter are considered unconstitutional.
Gun control activists, however, also have their own opinion concerning this amendment. While gun right activists pay more attention to the end part of the sentence, gun control supporters argue that what is important is what mentioned in the beginning of the sentence: that the right to bear arms is effective only for militias in the event of war. The possibility of British invasion at that time was so frightening that only with arms ready for them, militia could defend themselves. Using this constitutional foundation to support gun ownership for some drunken scoundrel who enters a gun shop to get a gun without proper background check is considered ridiculous. Besides, although the constitution guarantees civilians’ right to own a gun to defend themselves at their own home, it doesn’t give them outright permission to carry firearm, even in concealed state, or to use armor-piercing bullets, outside the boundary of their residence. Their home is the most lawful place to defend themselves and their family.

2.     Stricter gun control laws inevitably reserve gun ownership only to villains.

Another frequently mentioned rationale that supports gun right is the fact that villains don’t abide by laws. If stricter gun control laws are enacted and enforced, only law-abiding citizens will submit to them. Villains will then become carefree holders of arms as they don’t consider the enforced laws binding enough for them. Gun right activists argue that gun control laws will inevitably make villains and criminals the only individuals who have the gun. And that’s obviously not right.

The rationale proposed by gun right activists is indeed undisputable; however, for gun control supporters, this rationale doesn’t accurately hit the core of the problem. They argue that all mass shooting cases that occur within the last few years in the United States are committed by civilians who legally own their gun. Gun control activists argue that if you have to fear someone, fear someone who carries assault rifle casually on the street instead of criminals who rarely show their face.

3.     Statistics

Statistics tells no lie. This is why both gun control and gun right activists consider it the best rationale to justify their argument. Gun control supporters argue that Washington DC’s low murder rate is due to strict gun control law that is enacted in the state. They also argue that Arlington, VA, sees one of the highest murder rates in the country due to gun control laws that are relatively lenient in that city. Murder rate is also low in England because it is very difficult for British civilians to own arms. In a nutshell, gun control supporters argue that the fact that stricter gun control law is always equivalent to lower murder rate has already been proven by statistics.
Gun right activists, however, also have their own statistical data to support their cause. Murder rate in England is indeed low since the enactment of the Second Firearms Act in 1997 and there is no more school shootings happening in England after the Dunblane Massacre, which becomes the basis of the enactment of the act; however, murder rate that involves the use of sharp objects, blunt objects and physical harassments is relatively unchanged in England. Gun right supporters argue that the enactment of stricter gun control law in England doesn’t actually address the root of the problem: that there are still people in England who kill each other regardless of the tool that they use.

The aforementioned three rationales are the most frequently mentioned in every gun control discussions. Both gun control and gun right activists recurrently use them to support their cause and to counter each other. Of course there many other rationales that they use to support their argument, but by simply looking at how those three rationales are manipulated by both parties, you should already be aware of how heated the debate concerning gun control in the United States.

Now we are going to explore some possible risks that we may face and benefits that we can reap if stricter gun control regulation is either enforced or abandoned. It is often easier for us to pick the right side, or not to take any side at all, if we know the advantages and disadvantages of enacting gun control regulation

The Advantages of Enforcing Stricter Gun Control Regulation
The following are some possible advantages that we can reap if stricter gun control regulation is enacted and enforced.

1.             Gun-related death rate will drop.
With fewer guns available, gun-related death rate is expected to drop. Indeed, people can still use other tools to kill each other; however, as firearm is believed to be the most effective weapon to commit mass shooting, restricting its use and ownership is expected to lower the rate of mass shooting cases, especially because it is more difficult to use melee weapons to kill a large number of people. The enactment of this regulation is expected to lower not only gun-related homicide rate, but also gun-related suicide rate.

2.             The gun will be used purely for self-defense.
The regulation doesn’t entirely proscribe civilians from owning firearm. It simply makes the process to own a gun more complicated but with a goal to make sure that the firearm is used purely for self-defense. They can still own a gun, but they have to undergo strict background check before they can own it and use it. They are also not permitted to carry it outside their house and far from their family, two things that are rightful for them to defend. Mass shooting, which begins with people carrying guns on streets, can thus be prevented.

3.             Gun control educated people to handle gun more properly.
All the complicated process to own a firearm is intended to educate people about the correct and lawful way to use firearm. It actually also advances NRA’s mission to educate people about the responsibility of owning and using firearm.

The Disadvantages of Enforcing Stricter Gun Control Regulation
1.             Civilians will become more vulnerable.
The fact that the regulation will least likely bind criminals is undoubtedly an indisputable fact. As the law less likely prevents criminals from getting guns, especially with almost 300 million firearms currently circulating in the US, civilians will inevitably have to face the fact that their only defensive means is a light gun that they acquire with difficulties and a 911 call.

2.             Hunters and sportsmen will suffer.
The regulation specifically addresses the problem of using long guns. While mass shooters indeed commit their crime using those guns, hunters and sportsmen unfortunately also use those guns. If the regulation is enacted as it is formulated today, hunters and sportsmen will definitely suffer as they have to change their lifestyle.

3.             Education process can be expensive and is not guaranteed to succeed.
With American citizens already seeing guns on almost daily basis, educating them about the responsibility of owning and using gun is undoubtedly not a simple process. People still commit DUI and other traffic violations even after they receive driver’s education, right? In fact, even NRA has made this kind of education one of its focuses, yet there are still many people who use gun not in a proper way.

By looking at the pros and cons of gun control, we can clearly see how the debate will continue to be as fervent, as complicated and as political as it is now; however, as the outcome of this debate will determine how safely you and your family will live in your community, it might be wiser for you to pick your side now.