Essay: English 103 Critical Thinking and Composition

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English Literature

Gun Control

The debate over whether people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons has been going on for a long time. In the article by Sarah Thompson her point-of-view is that anyone should be able to carry gun that wants to. She feels that our second amendment right to keep and bear arms should be upheld and not limited by any legislation that has since been passed. She uses several ideas about guns in order to progress her argument in favor of carrying concealed weapons.

The first idea that she points out is the fact that before prohibition there were no federal gun control laws. And people did not see guns as being bad. Guns were mainly used as tools. They were used to protect one's source of income and property, to obtain food, recreation and when necessary they were used for self-defense. The idea of having a gun was an accepted and respected part of the culture. Once prohibition was put into place though, the idea of guns being good and accepted went by the wayside.

Out of prohibition there were criminal subcultures that were formed. These people depended on violence and guns in order to survive. And unfortunately after prohibition was repealed these subcultures didn't go away. They stuck around to cause problems for several years to come. Because of these groups the government began enacting gun control laws. Thompson feels that this was not what should have been done. She feels that instead of attacking the inanimate object of the gun that they should have focused on the doing something about the crime and criminals.

Those people that are in favor of gun control regulations have proposed many theories as to why the government should limit the ownership of guns. One research study claimed that owning a gun increases one's risk of suicide 43 times over. It has been shown though that this studied failed to show that even one person that was killed was indeed killed by a gun that was kept in the house. In was shown that in fact that 49% of the victims in this study where in fact killed by someone who did not even live in the house and had no access to the guns kept there.

Other studies have shown that in communities where laws have been passed that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, violent crimes decrease dramatically after these laws take effect. The crimes that see decreases include: murder, rape and aggravated assault. The study did show that the instances of property crimes increased slightly during this same time frame. This is attributed to the fact that criminals change their crime patterns as to not have to confront those victims who may be carrying a gun. Proponents feel that this slight increase in property crimes is a small price to pay for the human lives that are saved. It has also been shown that whenever carrying concealed laws have gone into effect murders fell by 8.5%; rapes fell by 5% and aggravated assaults by 7%.

Those that are against guns often argue that if people are allowed to carry concealed weapons would cause an increase in accidental deaths. It has been shown though that they number of accidental deaths per year is less than 200. And if carrying concealed weapons laws were enacted everywhere there would only be nine more accidental deaths compared to 1,500 lives being saved. Another argument that those against guns use is that of if everyone where allowed to carry a gun every minor dispute would turn into a blood bath. Statistics have shown that in the state of Florida over 300,000 guns permits have been issued since 1986 but yet only five violent crimes have occurred involving a permitted gun through 1995. The general feeling is that people who carry concealed weapons are not only protecting themselves and their families but are protecting the public as a whole. This is because criminals have no way of knowing who is carrying concealed weapon and who isn't, so they are less likely to commit crimes against another person.

On the other side of the gun argument is that of the point-of-view of Nan Desuka, which is that guns should be outlawed. Desuka contends that people kill people. So it is not only the criminals that are using the guns to kill, but innocent people get killed everyday due to accidents that happen with guns. This would include the child who finds his parents gun and accidently kills himself or one of his friends.

Desuka argues that only 30% of murders are committed by robbers and rapists. She contends that for the most part the victims of handguns know their assailants. These include women who are killed by their jealous husbands, or drinking buddies that get into an argument after having one too many. It can also include the innocent people that get killed by disgruntled coworkers. These people are not strangers to their killers but were people who probably knew their assailants well. Besides the notion that innocent people get killed by guns, you also have to remember that hardened criminals have guns and they use them as well.

It is estimated that handguns murder fifteen thousand Americans each year, accidently kill another three thousand, and wound another hundred thousand. It is argued that handguns are too readily available to both the criminals and the decent people alike. It is felt that if handguns were outlawed the homicide rate would drastically decrease. According to the FBI, more than 60% of all murders are caused by guns and of those 70% are handguns.

Handguns are not accurate beyond ten or fifteen feet, so it is not felt that they are a good choice for sportsmen. This leaves their only purpose to that of killing or wounding another person at close range. Only a small percentage of people killed are the criminals, who leaves the majority of the people being innocent people. This is why those that are against handguns are working so diligently to get handguns outlawed except in the use of police personnel.

Desuka goes on to say that even if handguns were outlawed some criminals would still manage to get their hands on them. But the hope is that there won't be as many available for them to get their hands on. No one believes that outlawing handguns will erase crime altogether but it is believed that they rate of crime at least that of violent crime will be reduced quite a bit.

There is believed to be cost associated with outlawing handguns. The first would be that of the cost of reimbursing gun owners for the weapons that they surrender. Every owner of a handgun, who turns one in, would be reimbursed the current market value of that gun. Since it is estimated that the number of handguns is between 50 and 90 million the cost would be considerable.

Although this would be a tremendous initial cost, it is thought that the cost would be worth the lives that it would save in the end.

The second cost associated with outlawing handguns would be that of the cost of our liberty. Some people believe that our Constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms. Throughout history it has been argued that the interpretation of the second amendment is what is truly in question. The second amendment says "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." Some argue that interpreted literally this means that everyone has the right to keep and bear arms. Others interpret it to mean that the right to keep and bear arms applies to those that are serving in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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