Endorsing Gun Control by Khalid Farwana

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      Khalid Farwana
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      The possession of firearms by civilians simultaneously enables and prevents gun violence. Within certain personalities, violence transitions into an unfortunate pastime resulting in innocent harm and chaos. This has led to the constant nationwide debate of whether the possession of firearms amplifies this intended anarchy or subsides it, and whether the regulation of these firearms should be imposed or ignored. Supporters of both arguments have tailored the intended capacity behind the U.S. second amendment to solidify their perspective. My personal view is that mass shootings cannot occur without the possession of a firearm and if administering them results in a lower mortality rate, how can anyone oppose?

           Gun Control Isn’t the Answer, published in the LA Times by James Q. Wilson considers why not many Americans try to use college rampages and school shootings as an argument for enforcing gun control. Wilson analyzes how democratic presidential candidates may lose votes over the endorsement of gun control and defensively stands up for the U.S. against foreign articles that demean our stance with misleading information. Wilson faults the European press for their false allegations. Two newspapers suggested the U.S. should ban semiautomatic weapons and boldly suggest that buying a machine gun is easier than getting a driver’s license. The final blame challenges a different newspaper over how gun violence is not contributing to the falling U.S. homicide rates that have decreased tremendously. Wilson rationally acknowledges the existence of around 260 million guns and their ability to increase the mortality rate. Correspondingly, he implies, “Easy access to guns makes deadly violence more common in drug deals, gang fights, and street corner brawls. However, there is no way to extinguish this supply of gun.” Wilson enforces this statement by adding that studies have shown how gun homicide in this country is higher than England, leading to the conclusion that Americans are more violent people even without a gun. This sets the standard in his argument that even if the U.S. became gun free, that would not reduce murder rates. It is also mentioned that tougher background checks will not prevent dangerous people from acquiring firearms. Federal background checks are inefficient, he insinuates. and that guns play a pivotal role in self-defense.

      A counterargument can be found within a contrasting article titled Gun Control Demonstrators Take to the Streets in NYC, by Sam Frizell. Post mass shootings that occurred prior to 2014, the former Mayor of New York City leads a protesting march consisting of hundreds of demonstrators including relatives of some of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Bloomberg, the former mayor of NYC, is a chief activist of gun control laws and has generously contributed to supporting organizations. Frizell proceeds to mention the frequency of these shootings by citing the Santa Barbara incident and another at an Oregon high school. Similarly, in another endorsement, Adam Winkler also expresses his profound pro-gun control opinion in The Second Amendment Is All for Gun Control, published early 2013. The article recites Sen. Rand Paul’s negation of former President Obama’s gun proposal’s calling them an infringement of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Winkler believes that Senator Paul and others who share a similar view are unwilling to comprehend the substantial truth behind the amendment. The author claims that, “for the past 30 years, the Second Amendment has been defined by the most radical elements of the gun-rights movement.” He proceeds to implicate that these radicals misinterpret the intended meaning of the amendment by claiming that they believe no restriction falls on the manufacturing, ownership, and use of firearms. Winkler reinforces his perspective when he recalls a 2008 event where the Supreme Court concluded that the Second Amendment did secure the right of law-abiding responsible adults to bear handguns in their homes. However, the court also highlighted that gun regulation has not infringed any Second Amendment rights and that the secured rights are not unlimited. He continues to quote the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affirming, “the Second Amendment is not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Once more, Winkler strengthens his argument with an elaboration on the importance of the Second Amendment phrase ‘well-regulated militia’ and concludes this on how the founding fathers constituted both freedom and regulation.

      While I believe certain rights are not to be infringed, I also believe infringement varies in definition to different individuals. James Wilson introduces his point by asserting that, “Not many prominent Americans have tried to use the college rampage as an argument for gun control. One reason is that we are in the midst of a presidential race.” Endorsing gun control laws could indefinitely cost a presidential candidate votes. Although according to a more recent study, six out of ten Americans support stricter gun laws . A considerable number of shootings have multiplied within the country since Wilson published his article and so have opinions on the matter. On September 19, 2019, gun manufacturer Colt, announced that they will suspend the production of AR-15 rifles for civilian use . The AR-15 has been the weapon of choice for many mass shooting predators. Gun buybacks have also been proposed by multiple 2020 democratic candidates. I partially agree with Wilson, yet his statement is dated. Wilson goes on to criticize foreign newspaper articles who disparage the US for their gun laws. Discrediting foreign publishers begs the question in the attempt to prove a point. Wilson contends that homicide rates in the US have reduced significantly, when in fact they have reached their highest point in 40 years . He continues to voice, “It would be constitutionally suspect and politically impossible to confiscate hundreds of millions of weapons.” Adam Winkler brilliantly negates this argument by stressing, “The Second Amendment, while securing an individual right to have guns for personal protection, is not offended by gun laws designed to make it harder for the most dangerous people to obtain the most dangerous weapons.” The remainder of Wilson’s critique of foreign violence statistics might be accurate, but somewhat irrelevant to his cause. Wilson reiterates, “It is virtually impossible to use new background checks or waiting period laws to prevent dangerous people from getting guns.” Again, I moderately agree that stricter background checks and laws might not prevent dangerous people from accessing deadly weapons. Nevertheless, these proposals might aggravate the process and reduce the number of incidents of that situation occurring. In other words, there lies no harm in doing so. Wilson resonates, “guns play an important role in self-defense.” I completely agree with this statement, but I must add that only the nonviolent, well trained, law-abiding citizens that carry are willing to aid in the protection of others. I also somewhat approve of his idea that there are no easy solutions to end gun violence, but if we can alleviate them, why prevent it?

      Contrarily, Adam Winkler produces a valid point about how the Second Amendment has been diluted to be defined by radicals in order to guarantee individuals not only the right to possess firearms, but almost no restrictions on the manufacturing, ownership, or use of them. By quoting Justice Scalia and his view on the second amendment, Winkler assures us that restrictions of Second Amendment rights are constitutional. Many efforts have been presented by genuine problem solvers through the introduction of gun buy backs, the banning of assault weapons, stricter licensing requirements, and the enhancement of background checks. The term militia found in the second amendment is obscured. This couldn’t be more clearly expressed by no other than Winkler, “framers thought that people who make up the militia should be “well regulated”-trained, disciplined, and properly instructed by the government to use firearms efficiently, safely, and properly.” Winkler goes on to remind us that the founding fathers had aggressive gun laws illustrating that the writers of the Second Amendment refute the idea that everyone is entitled to a firearm. We can compare the recent incidents of New Zealand’s terror attacks and how their government responded. Semi-automatic assault rifles have been banned and the penalty for violators has been heightened. As mentioned earlier, many of the current presidential candidates have proposed a gun buyback program. This program is instituted by the government as a method to reobtain illegal firearms from civilians without the option of punishment or the feeling of excessive control. If licensing requirements are intensified, that will result in a decrease of gun ownership. Some of these requirements entail contingencies such as drug violations and treatment facilities. Therefore, if we can deepen these requirements, in result we will limit the ability of unstable individuals along with violent ones from ownership of a firearm. Mental evaluations and family history would successfully filter out incompatible individuals more efficiently. The aim here is to decrease the amount of murders caused by firearms and relaxing firearm regulations is not the way to do it.

      All three articles mentioned reflect valid points that should be considered while deciding upon such a determining opinion. Ordinary working-class members of society may also contribute through the election of a president that prioritizes the increased scrutiny on firearm sales, possession, and manufacturing. Articles that are published and a simple demonstration attendance may persuade law makers into taking some form of action and influence readers and others who are yet undecided or uneducated on this matter. We are talking about saving lives, and if my ‘freedom’ must be marginally impacted to serve a greater good then so be it. If I can prevent one more gun related murder through adhering to rules and regulations, at that point count me in.

      References:

      1) Howard, J. (2018, December 14). Gun deaths in US reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data reveal. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/13/health/gun-deaths-highest-40-years-cdc/index.html
      2) Frizell, S. (2014, June 14). Gun Control Protestors March In New York City. Retrieved from https://time.com/2875713/gun-control-demonstratos-brooklyn-bridge/
      3) Reinhart, R. J. (2019, September 4). Six in 10 Americans Support Stricter Gun Laws. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/243797/six-americans-support-stricter-gun-laws.aspx
      4) Winkler, A. (2013, February 17). The Second Amendment Is All for Gun Control. Retrieved from https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-second-amendment-is-all-for-gun-control
      5) Wilson, J. Q. (2007, April 20). Gun control isn’t the answer. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/la-oe-wilson20apr20-story.html
      6) Yaffe-bellany, D. (2019, September 19). Colt to Suspend Production of AR-15 Rifles for Consumers. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/business/colt-ar-15.html

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