What follows is a paper written by my 13 year old granddaughter, Ryder. She was required to write a persuasive essay for her Language Arts class. She chose her topic in the aftermath of the tragic Newtown shootings. When she began researching her topic, she was all for as many gun controls as legislators could push through. In her inexperience with the realities of life, she believed as the innocent do: that only bad men carry guns for the sole purpose of harming innocent people, and if there are no guns for them to get their hands on, then the violence and killing will be stopped.
I was not in agreement with her views, nor do I support more gun controls of any kind. In fact, I think we have far too many already in existence. But I didn’t want to try to talk her out of her beliefs. I wanted her to seek her own answers, to find her own information, to learn to formulate her own opinions based on what she learns from many different sources. My only request of her was that she give equal time in her research to discover both sides of the argument. Below is a copy of her final paper.
On The Question of Gun Control
The recent tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut has sparked renewed debates regarding the need for stricter gun control. Those in favor of more controls cite gun related crime statistics in comparison to other countries. These same people fail to recognize one major factor that must be considered in the debate. That factor is the US Constitution which guarantees our right to bear arms. But that, too, is now a target for debate.
The reason most often given by advocates of gun control is the belief that a restriction of gun ownership will reduce the number of gun related crimes. However, statistics show a 14% reduction in gun related crimes from 2006 through 2010 without any additional gun control laws being placed into effect. That’s an interesting piece of information, given that the number of firearms in the US increased by 8.5 million just for the year 2010. Estimates regarding the number of citizen owned guns is about 89 for every 100 people.
They claim that mentally ill persons, disgruntled employees, and others are more able to commit mass murders using guns than would be possible using another method. Gun control advocates often attempt to use fear based assumptions in order to convince others of their beliefs. For instance, many claim that crime victims may actually be placing themselves in more danger if a criminal perceives a need for self-defense against a possible firearm in the possession of the intended victim. They add that some terrible crimes committed against others might have been less harmful if a gun were removed from the picture. And finally, in today’s violent culture, the mention of terrorism is often used as an excuse for limiting the availability of all weapons, including guns.
The plain truth, as I see it, is that criminals will always find a way to overcome all obstacles to their intended crime. Guns used in crimes by most criminals are not purchased through legal channels, but through illegal trafficking or theft. Even if guns were completely removed from the country, those determined individuals would find a way to smuggle one in or maybe, even manufacture their own. The innovation of Americans is what has made this country so great. Innovation is not limited to the upstanding and honest people.
In answer to advocates of more controls, many on the opposite side respond by claiming that weaker individuals may have no way to defend themselves against violent crimes, and that often the victim’s possession of a gun is a real deterrent against criminals. Since we’re addressing the issue of crime, we have to take an honest look at history. The prohibition of alcohol in 1919 did not lead to a completely alcohol free nation. Instead, organized crime built a major business around the import and transport of alcohol. With organized crime came increased violence through gang and turf wars. Just as it happened with alcohol, banning guns will create another black market item with the potential to expand organized crime.
When discussing the pros and cons of gun control, the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is sure to come up. Gun control advocates insist that the right to bear arms was only for states’ rights to maintain a militia rather than granting the right to all individuals. Anti-control groups maintain that the guarantee is for all citizens as a method of protecting both personal and public freedoms.
The disagreement between the two sides is probably due to the language used by the Framers of the Constitution. Some people believe the term “well-regulated militia” means “controlled by the government.” However, there are several meanings for the word “regulate/regulated” which would imply different ideas regarding the Framers’ intentions. English usage at the time the Constitution was written, referred to well-regulated as being well-trained and organized. The idea that the Framers meant for the government to control the Militia, including whether the members owned guns, is a contradiction against the purpose of the Bill of Rights.
When the Constitution was written, many people felt that it was too weak in protecting the citizens from the power granted to Congress. They demanded for protection of certain rights to be added to the original document. The Bill of Rights was the result. The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights was to acknowledge in writing, the individuals’ rights and to define where the government’s power ended.
The 2nd Amendment states: “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.” George Mason, a Virginia statesman, is considered to be the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” He referred to a militia as “ the people themselves.” Noah Webster, who later became a member of the Federalist Party, wrote a pamphlet persuading his readers to ratify the Constitution. In the pamphlet, he wrote, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed: as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.”
During the last century, more than 160 million people have been the victim of genocide committed against them by their own governments. Almost every one of the governments involved, began by using gun control laws to systematically remove weapons of defense prior to beginning their campaigns of death and murder. For those who don’t believe such a thing could happen here in the United States, I’d like to remind them of the Native American Indians whose tribes were reduced from 12 million at the time of Columbus’s discovery to less than 300,000 over the following 400 years. When firearms were brought to the Americas, it was made illegal for a native to own one, and laws against selling guns to Indians were put into effect. The Indians weren’t able to protect themselves, their property, or their way of life from white men who wanted to destroy them and take away their land. A bow and arrow was no match against a gun.
The truth is: banning guns will only serve to take away from our freedoms, as well as making it impossible to protect ourselves against government tyranny. Had the early colonists not owned any guns, there would never have been a revolution, and we would still be under the rule of Great Britain.
In conclusion, I believe placing more gun controls would only serve to limit our ability to defend ourselves, to practice our Constitutional right, and would open the way for destroying our democracy.
- The Failed Gun Control Policy In Australia (americanlivewire.com)
- Anonymous Warns of ‘Insurrection in America’ Due to Obama’s Gun Grab (pjmedia.com)
- Sensible Gun Control Policy? (papundits.wordpress.com)
- 56 Million Dead in the name of Government Gun Control (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
- Gun Control Hypocrisy (adask.wordpress.com)
- Common Misdirection, Gun Control (thepowderkegblog.com)