Argumentative EssayDecember 12, 2003Americans are confronted with growing acts of violence. Our streetshave become a place where the elderly are picked on, women are attacked andraped, where teen-age gangsters shoot it out for a “patch of turf” to selltheir illegal drugs, and where innocent children are caught in thecrossfire of drive-by shootings.
We cannot ignore the harm that thesecriminals are doing to our society, and we must take actions to stop theseacts. However, the efforts by individuals to eliminate the legal ownershipof firearms disarms the innocent citizens who are in need of a form of self-defense. The simple definition of a criminal is someone who does not obey thelaw. The simple definition of a law-abiding citizen is someone who doesobey the law. Therefore, if we pass laws restricting ownership of firearms,which category does this affect. Gun control laws affect law-abidingcitizens only.
By their very nature, the criminals will continue to violatethese new laws, they will continue to carry their firearms, and they willfind their efforts at crime much easier when they know that their victimswill be unarmed. Innocent people are turned into victims when new laws makeit impossible for them to fight back. An unarmed man stands little chanceagainst an armed one. An interesting recent development has been the recoilagainst the gun-control advocates.
The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States makesfirearm ownership legal in this country. There were good reasons for thisamendment in the constitution. Firearms in the new world were used forhunting, and occasionally for self-defense. However, when the colonistsfelt that the load of British oppression was too much for them to bear,they picked up their personal firearms and went to war. Standing againstthe British armies, these people found themselves opposed by the greatestmilitary force in the world at that time.
( MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchorhttp://caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/data/constitution/amendment02/)The 18th century was the height of the British Empire, but a group ofcolonial freedom fighters discovered the power of the Minuteman, theaverage American gun owner.
These Minutemen, named because they would pickup their personal guns and jump to the defense of their country on aminute’s notice, served a major part in winning the American Revolution. The founding fathers of this country understood that armed citizens wasinstrumental in fighting off oppression, and they made the right to keepand bear arms a constitutional right. ( MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchorhttp://theamericanrevolution. org/battles/bat_lex.
asp)Over the years, some of the reasons for owning firearms have changed. As our country grew into a strong nation, we expanded westward, exploringthe wilderness, and building new towns on the frontier. These new townswere far away from the centers of civilization, and there was little law. Crime had taken place, but the crime could be minimized when thetownspeople fought back against the criminals.
Eventually, these organizedtownspeople developed police forces as their towns grew in size. Fewerpeople carried their firearms on the street, but the firearms were alwaysthere, ready to be used in self-defense. Gun-control advocates came around the time of the Civil War. Southern leaders, who were scared that the freed black slaves would takeadvantage of their new political rights.
These Southern leaders wanted tomake it easier to oppress the free blacks. This oppression was successfullymet by passing laws making it illegal in many places for black people toown firearms. Souther leaders made sure that the black population would beunder their control, and the blacks would not have the ability to fightback. These people who were the biggest fans of denying black people theirbasic rights walked around with their firearms.
This hypocrisy made itimpossible to resist their efforts. An unarmed man stands little chanceagainst an armed one. It was a full century before the civil rightsactivists of the 1960s were able to restore this constitutional freedom tothe blacks. ( MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchorhttp://www. theatlantic.
com/issues/2000/11/slotkin. htm)Gun control activists today are slightly different. They claim thatgun violence has gotten to a point where something must be done to stop it. The activists would like to see criminals disarmed, and they want theviolence to stop. There is nothing wrong with these activist ideas,however, they are going about it in the wrong way. Activists want to takeguns out of the hands of criminals, but they actually work to passlegislation that would take the guns out of the hands of law abidingcitizens instead.
This is the main reason that the efforts of gun controlactivists does not address the real problem. (Roleff)The gun control advocates have argued their case by insulting the gunitself, rather than addressing the people who commit violent crimes. Thisargument is the main misconception in their arguments. They attempt toclaim that possession of a gun turns gun owners into unaverage citizens. Iflegal possession of a firearm caused this sort of attitude, then why arecrime rates highest in areas such as Washington, D.
C. and New York Citywhich have strict gun control laws? This is one simple case, where strictgun control laws have been enforced, and positive results have not beenshown. (Roleff) In many states, citizens have stated that they want topreserve their right to carry firearms for self-defense. States such asMichigan has been issuing concealed weapons permits to law-abidingcitizens, and these citizens have been carrying their firearms to defendthemselves from rampant crime. This right in Michigan has “made many peoplebelieve that responsible and law-abiding citizens should not be deniedtheir constitutional right to bear arms to provide for their own protectionand security outside of their homes. In addition, they point out that theproposed bills would require a 12-hour training course to ensure that apermit holder understood gun safety requirements and the laws governing theuse of firearms for protection and other purposes.
” Therefore aninexperienced person can not carry a firearm. They need to be taught safetyof the weapon first if indeed they feel it is necessary to have slefdefense. (http://www. senate.
state. mi. us/sfa/Publications/Notes/1998Notes/Juau98nn. html)Criminals will always find ways to get guns. In this country, thereis the use, possession, sale, and transportation of many kinds ofnarcotics, but it’s still easy for someone to take a ride and purchase thedrugs of their choice at street corner vendors.
Firearms and ammunitionwould be just as easy as drugs for these black-market entrepreneurs todeliver to their customers. Today, criminals often carry illegal weapons,clearly showing their disregard for the current laws which make these itemsillegal. And when they are caught, the courts regularly dismiss theselesser weapons charges when prosecuting for the more serious charges thatare being committed with the weapons. The most recent efforts of the gun control has been to claimthat certain types of guns and ammunition are evil. They assign emotionalcatch phrases such as “assault weapons” and “cop killer bullets” to broadcategories of firearms and ammunition in the hopes that people will believethat some guns have an evil nature. Most people who are unfamiliar withfirearms do not fully understand what these phrases mean, and they acceptthe terms being used without question.
What people do not often understandis that the term “assault weapon” has been defined to include all semi-automatic rifles, and “cop killer” has been defined to include any bulletthat can penetrate type two body armor. It comes as a surprise to mostpeople that a large number of simple hunting rifles can do both. Doesownership of one of these weapons cause people to become mass murderers? Itdoes not, and we must not fall into the trap of blaming the sword for thehand that wields it. (Roleff)In conclusion the act of making itillegal to own firearms does little to prevent criminals from getting guns. These laws only prevent the people who respect the law itself, the peoplewho would only use firearms for legal purposes anyway, to use firearms.
When we give people the right to defend themselves, we find that criminalsstart looking for other victims out of fear that they will become thevictims themselves. We must work to reduce crime in America, but we shouldlook at the problem realistically, and develop plans that would beeffective. It is obvious that gun control laws are neither realistic, noreffective in reducing crime. Therefore, we must put our efforts towardcontrolling crime, not controlling legal ownership of firearms.
Work CitedRoleff, Tamara L. Gun Control, Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: GreenhavenPress,MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchorhttp://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment02/http://www.senate.state.mi.us/sfa/Publications/Notes/1998Notes/Juau98nn.htmlhttp://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2000/11/slotkin.htmMACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchorhttp://theamericanrevolution.org/battles/bat_lex.asp