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Are more gun control laws necessary?

Elizabeth Graham and Maddie Young

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PRO

Gun control limits dangerous individuals’ access and prevents loss of life.

Gun violence is an American epidemic. The Second Amendment should not be completely dismantled, but many changes are necessary. High-powered firearms are unwarranted and loose purchasing restrictions require no license or background check if the weapon is bought at a gun show or through a private citizen via what is known as the gun show loophole.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 53,000 gun-related incidents this year, including more than 360 mass shootings and 13,000 deaths. Of these, more than 3,500 were children and 130 were cops, including the recent murder of Wayne State Police Officer Collin Rose.

While the right to bear arms is protected under the Constitution, a document written in 1789 does not account for military-grade assault rifles or machine guns. In no circumstance would a person need a firearm that has the ability to shoot 500 to 650 rounds per minute.

To further discredit the cry for “safety,” the FBI’s annual homicide report states that “the ratio for 2012 was one justifiable killing for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths.” This showcases that guns are more often tools of reckless encounters than viable instances of protection.

Additionally, between 2007 and 2011, only 0.1 percent of attempted or completed property crimes involved the intended victim using a firearm in self-defense. LA Times reporter Scott Martell put it best when he said “the notion that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is a romanticized vision of the nature of violent crime.”

There is also a flagrant lack of legislation preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands. According to NBC News, more than 80 percent of guns used in mass shootings are obtained legally.

After the San Bernardino shootings, President Barack Obama told the nation, “Right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane.” In January, he announced a series of executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence, including required background checks for both buyers and sellers, increased funding for mental health treatment and research into smart gun technology. Obama has been labeled as the most anti-gun president the United States has had so far, but, under Trump, any of his gun control executive orders could be overturned.

After each attack, how is it not obvious? Safety is not a good guy with a gun; it’s no gun at all.

CON

Gun laws fail to keep weapons out of criminal hands and instead punish law-abiding citizens.

You are woken up by the sound of a window breaking in the middle of the night, glass clattering to the ground. Heavy footsteps are making their way closer and you hear a deep man’s voice. He may have the means to hurt you. Before you panic and hide under the covers, you remember that you own a gun. When he sees you are armed, he promptly flees.

According to a study done by Journal of Quantitative Criminology, people in the U.S. use guns to defend themselves around 990,000 times per year. People also enjoy recreational activities like hunting and target shooting. Restricting firearms will not end shootings and violence; it will only be more difficult for law-abiding citizens to attain the comfort and protection that comes with owning a gun.

Gun control advocates believe the ban on assault weapons should be reinstated, prohibiting the manufacture of certain semi-automatic guns for civilian use. This goes against one of our nation’s core values, giving the government an unprecedented amount of power.

“I think that in extreme cases the government might want to take them away, but I think that having our own guns is a great way to keep the checks and balances between the government and the people,” senior Julia Best said.

It is a freedom and basic right that a citizen may own a gun. Local police forces cannot always protect citizens and can only investigate after a crime has been committed.

“If the government is not doing their job, now we have the authority to protect our own country and ourselves,” Best said.

In 2013, a Gallup poll found 60 percent of gun owners purchased guns for protection against crime. Instead of penalizing gun owners in the aggregate, states need to more effectively perform background checks.

“I think the current gun laws need to be better regulated. If we take guns away from more of the general public, we can’t defend ourselves,” freshman Lucas Gray said.

Congress has insufficiently funded the National Instant Background Check System, the database used to ensure customers have no mental illnesses or criminal records. In 2009, the Justice Department failed to prosecute more than one percent of the 71,000 cases involving falsely filled out background checks. Expanding on gun laws would only add more defective processes and further infringe upon the rights of honest Americans. Instead, the current system needs to be better followed and regulated.

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