Gun Control

Should we get rid of the second amendment, or is the right to bear arms an essential provision?By Published On:
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Introduction

The debate around gun control centers around what restrictions should be placed on the purchase and use of firearms and what disclosures the buyer and seller should make to the government. More recently, gun control discussions have focused on background checks, when it is okay to have a gun on hand, and what firearms should be banned entirely. Democrats generally favor stricter gun regulation, while Republicans argue that the second amendment correctly outlines a necessary right that the government should not infringe.

Republican

Republicans generally refute the common Democrat talking point that gun control would alleviate crime for two reasons: criminals do not follow legislation, and removing guns from well-intentioned citizens removes their ability to protect themselves. They note that a criminal who intends to commit a violent crime will not suddenly decide to follow gun regulations and not commit the crime. Instead, gun regulation will only remove guns from the law-abiding citizens that criminals target and remove their only means of self-defense. Vermont shows this concept of gun ownership as a deterrent to crime, which has the lowest levels of murder in the United States, but one of the highest levels of gun ownership. Nearly 3/4 of Vermonters own a firearm — a situation in stark contrast throughout the country since we have experienced a massive drop in gun homicides while gun ownership skyrockets. Such a discrepancy between the expectation and reality must mean that the proposition that an abundance of guns leads to more crime is wrong. Republicans are also generally against banning assault weapons since most gun crimes are committed with handguns, meaning that the push for assault weapon regulation would not serve as an effective deterrent but rather as a point of public perception. Republicans also believe that people with a criminal history should not be able to own a gun. However, they posit that having government licenses is a fundamental encroachment on the second amendment, which has an explicit purpose of standing up to the general predations of government.

Democrat

As levels of gun violence continue to soar, Democrats believe that gun control is an efficient way to fight back. The DNC specifies that Democrats encourage issuing more vigorous background checks, as well as more requirements in order to procure a firearm. While a few believe that citizens should have the right to bear arms, all tend to support restrictions on certain guns, such as assault rifles and other more militaristic guns, which are only made for taking human life. With limitations on certain guns, Democrats hope to lower the number of terrorists and criminals with access to weapons. Some Democrats also believe that more gun control is necessary as they are rarely used in self-defense. Refuting a standard Republican talking point, Democrats cite that only 0.79% of victims of gun violence were able to protect themselves by using a weapon. Democrats claim this data shows that guns are almost entirely used to offend and are rarely used to defend.

Additionally, Democrats believe in abolishing laws that shield gun manufacturers from civil liabilities. Democrats have promised to pass legislation requiring guns to be stored safely in homes and legally holding gun companies liable for their products.

A rarely touched upon statistic of gun deaths in the US is that 60% of firearm deaths in 2019 were suicides, not homicides. Sometimes people need to be protected from themselves, and keeping guns out of as many hands as possible will save lives. Suppose Republicans are not up to tackling the mental health crisis, which would target the leading cause of many shootings. In that case, Democrats believe the catalyst for violence itself must be removed.

Discussion questions

  • Is the right to bear arms completely entitled to freedom, or should there be some restrictions on it?
  • How should we try to lower the amount of gun-related deaths in the United States?
  • Should there be more essential requirements to obtain firearms?
  • Should we eliminate the use of automatic weapons?
    • If we should, why?
    • How would we go about doing this? A gun buyback? Just preventing the future sale?
  • How can gun control be implemented appropriately in the age of 3d printing/home development?

Sources

Beckett, Lois. “Fact-Checking Feinstein on the Assault Weapons Ban.” ProPublica, September 24, 2014. https://www.propublica.org/article/fact-checking-feinstein-on-the-assault-weapons-ban.

Cooke, Charles. “Vermont: Safe and Happy and Armed to the Teeth.” National Review, June 24, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/vermont-safe-and-happy-and-armed-teeth-charles-c-w-cooke/.

Feinstein, Dianne. “Text - S.66 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.” Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, January 9, 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/66/text.

Procon. “Gun Control - ProCon.org.” Procon.org, 2000. https://gun-control.procon.org. RepublicanViews.org. “Republican Views on Gun Control.” Republicanviews.org, December 27, 2013. https://www.republicanviews.org/republican-views-on-gun-control/.

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