Gun control in America

How many shootings before the United States changes its laws?

Talking about gun control in any area of the United States is going to cause a reasonable amount of controversy. In a place like North Dakota, where many members of the community own or use firearms, it’s certainly going to cause debate.

Regardless of political leanings, the need for gun control goes past partisan lines and is an issue that should draw concern from all Americans, especially those that own and use firearms safely.

Often, it seems there are a few main arguments against gun control. I’d like to go through each of these separately and show some of the fallacies the arguments find their basis upon.

Gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment

The 2008 Supreme Court decision that did not allow the District of Columbia to ban handguns due to the Second Amendment has been the backbone of this argument. Often, people insist that owning a firearm (and using it as they please) is a Second Amendment right. However, regulations on firearms have existed as long as the Second Amendment, and the justices of the Supreme Court made sure to highlight the fact that the decision did not disregard the need to continue regulating firearms.

As Justice Antonin Scalia said: “(The decision) should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Gun control won’t work

When looking at the United States in comparison to countries around the world with stricter gun laws, this argument seems to fall apart. The Council on Foreign Relations released a study in 2017 that showed, with very few exceptions, countries that enact gun control laws have fewer deaths per capita than the U.S.

The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population and somewhere between 35% and 50% of the world’s gun-related deaths. These statistics are not a coincidence.

Guns don’t kill people — people do

Although widely used, somehow this argument seems to completely avoid what is really the issue here. I’ve yet to hear anyone argue that guns are out there just randomly killing people sans their owners. The actual problem is that weapons that can cause mass destruction are readily available to those who might want to enact such destruction.

People within this school of thought often insist: “If not guns, it will just be some other weapon.” Hammers and knives can certainly be deadly, but to a much lesser extent. And other, more dangerous weapons, such as bombs, are illegal too.

Guns are needed to protect oneself

There is almost no academic evidence that shows guns have been used effectively to protect citizens in times of danger. Personal protection is essential, but the negative societal effects of relaxed gun laws are far more detrimental than shooting a burglar. “Good guys with guns” do not stop “bad guys with guns,” as Wayne LaPierre of the NRA suggested. Easy access to guns only increases the chances of more “bad guys” getting their hands on weapons.

There are going to be many people who look at every analysis made above and still not see a need for gun control. Despite what it may seem, gun control is not the eradication of all firearms; all it means is that there should be a legal process that stands between a person and a potentially dangerous weapon.

From the perspective of an individual who owns a gun for the purpose of using it legally and safely, gun control would only legitimize your position. Too often, guns end up in the hands of those who would never have been allowed access if there was a vetting process in place. These individuals are the ones who most often take innocent lives. To suggest that gun control is not an urgent issue is to devalue the 16,845 individuals that have died as a result of gun violence from this year alone.

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