Gun control Pros and Cons Essay Sample
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Gun control Pros and Cons Essay Sample
The topic of gun control creates controversy amongst all social classes and political parties with different views amongst each. 2 This dispute raises the question of whether gun control is good or bad for society. As with any matter, the arguments for and against are generally based upon specific ideas or facts. The arguments for gun control are generally based upon decreasing supply and access to the public while those against are based upon John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and upon the human thought process.
With the hope of decreasing gun related deaths whether accidental or intentional, preventing these tragedies is approached by two methods, to limit the supply of guns and to restrict gun ownership. Annually thousands of deaths occur as shown in 1999 where “28,874 firearm deaths occurred and [of those] 11,127 were by criminal means” (Krouse). The thought is by limiting gun or ammunition supply it would lower the number of deaths. 4 Although suicide prevention is a concern, the fear of an accidental death of a child at the hands of another child or of the mass murder by a lone assailant and the emotional trauma associated with those tragedies appear to be behind some gun control arguments.
While some argue to limit guns even to the point of a complete ban, others argue for controlling gun ownership of criminals or mentally unstable individuals. 6 Some point to a study showing that “firearm fatalities have decreased continuously since 1993” (Krouse) which is just one year after the passing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. 7 Although this does not directly limit the number of guns available to society, it does force criminals to find other sources, usually costing them time and money. 8 The arguments for limitations on the number of available guns and on who may own guns will continue based on the perceived benefit to society.
The arguments against gun control come from the idea of individual rights as espoused in John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government as well as the tendencies of the human mind. Our founding father understood that “Guns in the possession of citizens are an added protection against government tyranny” (Messerli) and the second amendment was written for this reason and is a driving factor to the creation and beliefs of American government. Throughout history dictators and totalitarian regimes have taken away their citizens right to bear arms. Mao Tse Tung said “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” (Mao Tse Tung) and China’s history is an example given where guns were used to change China’s government and now private citizen gun ownership is illegal.
In addition to politics, the deterrent effect on criminals by allowing private gun ownership is often argued as a form of protection for the individual. Only a small percentage of law abiding citizens actually use guns “but the few are enough to change the odds against predatory criminals” (Cox). Because criminals are less likely to perform a crime if it endangers their life or harm them, the potential of facing a gun themselves deters the would-be criminal. Gun control laws are seen as the loss of an individual’s ability to protect themselves against political tyranny or criminals.
1 Gun control comes down to two basic ideas, protecting the individual from the evils of the world and protecting society from the evils of the world. People that are pro-gun control believe, put simply, that if there are no guns they would not be a problem and there would less tragedies. While people that are anti-gun control see guns as a means of personal defense against criminals or tyranny. 4 Guns and the control thereof have their benefits and weaknesses but the question lies in which is greater.
Messerli, Joe “Should civilian possession of handguns and other non-hunting guns be banned or severely restricted?” http://www.balancedpolitics.org/ 01/07/2012 9/30/12
Cox, Chris W. “Right-to-Carry in Restaurants” www.nraila.org Aug. 26, 2009 9/30/2012 Mao Tse Tung “On Practice and Contradiction (Revolutions)” http://www.quoteland.com 9/30/2012.
Krouse, William “Congressional Research Service” http://www.policyalmanac.org October 3, 2002 10/2/2012.