Gun is a frequently discussed controversial topic in

Gun Control
America is the most well armed nation in the world, with American citizens owning
about 270 million of the world’s 875 million firearms (Marshall). This is more than a quarter of
the world’s registered firearms. The reason why Americans own so many guns is because of the
Second Amendment, which 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.” (Rauch) This
amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to have firearms. Since this amendment is pretty
vague, it is up for interpretation, and is often used by gun advocates to argue for lenient gun
laws. So, gun control is a frequently discussed controversial topic in American politics.
Although the Second Amendment prevents the federal government from completely
banning guns in America, limited restrictions are allowed on the distribution and possession of
firearms. Certain groups of people such as criminals, the mentally unstable, and soldiers
dishonorably discharged from the military are prohibited from possessing or interacting with
firearms (Flynn). These restrictions are enforced by background checks in some states on both a

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state and federal level. However, gun laws vary from state to state and are often not thorough
enough; the background checks are flawed due to lack of information and misinformation, and
guns can easily end up in the hands of criminals and uneducated individuals. The ease of
obtaining a firearm in America fosters crime and a dangerous environment. So, the Second
Amendment should be reinterpreted so that stricter gun laws can be implemented because the
current background checks are flawed, gun accessibility has been abused by foreign and
domestic criminals, and Americans cannot handle guns responsibly.
Although there are federal and some state background checks when purchasing a gun,
they are often contradictory or not thoroughly enforced. A tragic example of this would be the
Virginia Tech massacre, where the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho managed to pass the background
checks and buy two guns and ammunition to kill innocent people. The report by the Virginian
government states, “Cho was not legally authorized to purchase his firearms, but was easily able
to do so.” (Chapter 4 Gun Purchase and Campus Policies) He was able to bypass the background
check because of a legal contradiction. Federal law under the Gun Control Act of 1986 prevents
mentally incompetent individuals from purchasing firearms. Virginia state law also prevents
mentally incompetent individuals from purchasing firearms. While, under federal law, mentally
incompetent refers to individuals who are a danger to themselves or others, under Virginia state
law mentally incompetent refers to individuals who cannot take care of themselves (Chapter 4

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Gun Purchase and Campus Policies). Because Cho could take care of himself, under state law he
was not listed as mentally incompetent and was therefore able to purchase the guns that killed
thirty-three people. It was because of the contradictory federal and state law that Seung-Hui Cho
obtained the means to kill those thirty-three people. As the Virginia Tech massacre illustrates,
there is a need for a more clear gun law. As it stands, the gun laws may sometimes lack serious
enforcement. This is partly due to how every year thousands of felons are regaining the right to
bear arms without thorough legal investigation (Luo). The ease that a criminal can regain the
right to bear arms is alarming. A stricter gun law would provide much needed supplementation to
the faulty background checks and loose laws that provide criminals the means to kill and wound
innocent people.
Not only is the wide accessibility of guns being abused by individuals with horrible
intentions in America, but it also facilitates gun crime abroad. The problem with the current gun
law is the “gun show loophole”, where guns can be legally purchased from private dealers and
gun owners at gun conventions without any background check (Perez). It is shocking that in nine
out of every ten gun crimes, the criminal used guns that were not purchased under their name
(Annadale). For example, two high school kids responsible for the infamous Columbine School
shooting exploited the “gun show loophole” to purchase shotguns and a carbine. It is terrifying
that there is actually a legal loophole that allows people to bypass background checks to get these

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weapons. A strict gun law would ensure the safety of innocent people by taking away the
weapons used to kill them.
Additionally, American citizens do not handle guns in a responsible manner. According
to a survey supported by the Swiss government, America boasts the most accidental gun deaths
in the world at 0.27 deaths per 100,000 people (U.S. Gun Facts, Figures, and the Law). It is also
shocking that 34% of American children live in houses that have firearms (Cochran). In
Georgetown, Maryland an eight year old boy shot a girl in the arm while playing with a gun
during school (Cochran). The sheer irresponsibility of Americans with their guns is baffling. All
of the evidence presented so far indicates that we as a country are not responsible enough to
possess and use firearms in a safe and proper manner. Stricter gun laws would solve this problem
and in the process save many people from getting killed or injured.
Although there are a few legitimate groups who must carry guns such as military, police,
and security forces, there is simply no need for civilians to carry them. Some gun advocates
claim that they carry guns around as a form of self protection. However, this has been
scientifically proven to be untrue. A study done by the University of Pennsylvania on 677
shootings over the span of two and a half years indicates that people who carry guns are 4.5
times more likely to be shot than an unarmed person, and 4.2 times more likely to be killed by a
gun (Callaway). The author claims that the reason for these statistics is that guns give people

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false senses of empowerment that make them overreact in volatile situations (Callaway).
Carrying a gun is more like painting a bull’s eye on oneself rather than self defense, especially
when it might foster delusions of empowerment. Even science discourages gun possession, by
enacting stricter gun laws we can ensure public safety.
Gun advocates also claim that current gun laws are restrictive enough. However, it is
surprising that some states do not require firearms registrations or even limits on the types of
firearms a person can own. Especially in the southern states such as Texas, a person can legally
own automatic rifles or semi-automatic guns given they do not possess certain features such as
an extended ammunition magazine (Texas Gun Law Made Simple). Alaska has similarly loose
gun laws where a gun license and state background check is not required to buy a gun (Flynn). It
is baffling that gun advocates can still consider such lax gun laws as too restrictive. Such loose
laws can easily be abused, however with stricter gun laws we can avert this recipe for disaster.
There will always be twisted individuals as well as criminals who will abuse the Second
Amendment. We have to step back and stop thinking so rigidly. Is following the Constitution
word for word worth the lives of innocent children? We must also question the amount of
“self-defense” a gun provides, when a person carrying a gun is four times more likely to be shot
and killed than a normal person. Though I understand that the Second Amendment is a civil right
and clearly stated in the Constitution; I do not think it is too much to ask to limit this freedom for

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a safer environment where we do not have to constantly worry about crazed gunmen. After all,
we would never want our children to grow up in a country where they are constantly in danger of
being shot.


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