Joseph Moser

Professor Ramos

English 1B

08 April 2019

Does Gun Control Work?

What is one of the biggest issue we face in the United States today? It is hard to pinpoint exactly what that might be but we can agree that one of the biggest and most obvious is the debate on gun control. Should we have more or less? To start this off here are the numbers we are working with; in the past seventeen years there have been 554,612 deaths related to firearms, 59% were suicides, and 37.1% were homicides (CDC). There are some good points to argue for support of more gun control such as the fact that nobody wants a mentally ill person to own a firearm or have felons able to buy guns etc. but this subject runs much deeper than just that. The truth though is that gun control does not stop criminals from using them, more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will decrease crime, and gun control encroaches on peoples natural born right to protect themselves. There is an extent to which gun control becomes more bad than good for the American people in general.

First, gun control doesn’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Why would it? Why would “laws” stop lawbreakers from buying a gun from the black market or in most cases stealing one from a friend or relative? Heres the answer, it wouldn’t. There was a survey done in 1985 by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service in which 1,874 felons were surveyed. The prisoners were asked if they used a gun in their criminal activity and if so, where they got it from. This survey spanned 11 state prisons in 10 states. 1,406 of them had owned a gun in their lives and 703 of those men had one on them at the time they committed the crime. 422 of the felons who had guns either stole them or borrowed them from someone they knew and only 281 had bought them legally. So from these numbers, it seems that someone breaking into your house doesn’t really care if he has a legally obtained firearm. As a result of ridiculous gun control measures such as banning high capacity mags or “assault weapons” normal people who aren’t breaking into homes are discouraged from having the means to protect themselves. Meanwhile, criminals are simply going to find a way to obtain one that doesn’t involve the law.

There is also a direct correlation between rising gun ownership and the decrease of crime in certain areas of the world. John R. Lott, who is an expert on guns and the second amendment, said in an interview “ Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself”. So the more citizens carry concealed or have firearms in their homes the more it will discourage criminals from wanting to rob, rape, or act in any other immoral or illegal manners. High crime rates are always associated with areas of the nation where gun rights are the strictest. This is because organized and petty crime know that the people are defenseless and can’t fight back most of the time. Robbing someone in Chicago where gun laws are strict is way safer for a criminal than breaking into a home in Texas which is notorious for citizens to own guns.

With most laws, there are ways to get around it illegally and the simple truth is that gun control laws only really apply to people who already abide by the law, the real fight should be against criminals who would use guns for the wrong purposes. If more law-abiding citizens own guns responsibly then the general population would have a better chance of protecting themselves against crime. Now one could argue that civilized society doesn’t need guns because we have the police force. Well yes, the police do help but can and should we depend on them solely? Realistically the police won’t be able to save every single person. It’s just not physically possible. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the average arrival time for high priority 911 calls ranged anywhere from 4 ½ to 7 minutes. Now since the caller placed that call they are on their own for the next 4 to 7 minutes. What are they going to do? Can they defend themselves? Maybe, maybe not, but either way, adults should have the freedom to protect themselves the way they see fit, as long as they aren’t bothering others.

Now the reason people should have such freedom is that all humans should have a natural born right to defend themselves and “common sense” gun laws get in the way of people doing that. Nelson Lund stated in an article “The right to self-defense and to the means of defending oneself is a basic natural right that grows out of the right to life” (Lund) and “many gun control laws interfere with the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against violent criminals” (Lund). The second amendment was written partially for this reason. The founding fathers knew that people need the right to protect themselves from any entity that may harm them. After all, at that time, the American colonists were in a fight against a tyrannical government which threatened their own freedom. The very beginnings of this country were fought with guns. Why? Because we needed to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government or simply put, something that may harm innocent people.

The solution for reducing violence with guns in the United States isn’t to add more and more gun regulations until guns get completely outlawed. The solution is to go the complete opposite way. Give adults the freedom they deserve and need to protect themselves the way they want. The result of this would be decreased crime and decreased deaths of innocent civilians. Everyone wants to be able to choose their fate, a gun simply gives a person the upper hand they may need one day.

Works Cited

“Firearm Death Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Apr. 2019, https://wisqars-viz.cdc.gov:8006/. This website shows the number and percentages of gun-related deaths in all scenarios. It shows gun deaths relating to race, gender, age, etc. I am using these numbers to show what the country is dealing with in terms of violence with guns. The source is credible, these are stats published by the CDC.

Wright, James D., and Peter H. Rossi. “Armed Criminal in America – A Survey of Incarcerated Felons.” National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 3 Apr. 2019, https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=97099. This was a survey done in 1985 in which almost two thousand felons were surveyed. They were asked if they used a gun in their criminal activity and if so, where they got it from. I plan to use this data to show that gun control laws will not stop criminals from acquiring firearms. The source is indeed credible for it was a survey done by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

Lott, John R. “An Interview with John R. Lott, Jr. Author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.” University of Chicago Press, 3 Apr. 2019, https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html. This source is an interview with John R. Lott about his book on gun control. His whole stance is that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will reduce crime rates. I intend to use it for just that point with the data he provides. John R. Lott is an economist and is the former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission, he is also an expert on guns and the second amendment.

“Average Response Times for High Priority Calls for Service.” Portland Police Bureau, 25 Nov. 2013, https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/479350. This document shows the average response times by police for high priority calls. I will use this information to show how necessary gun rights are and how gun control can hurt law abiding citizens. The information was provided by the Portland Police Bureau.

Lund, Nelson. “The Second Amendment and the Inalienable Right to Self-Defense.” The Heritage Foundation, 17 Apr. 2014, https://www.heritage.org/the-constitution/report/the-second-amendment-and-the-inalienable-right-self-defense. This article argues that the second amendment grants us as humans a natural born right to protect ourselves. It makes the case that gun control laws hurt that right we have. I will use quotes from this article to show that gun control is actually harmful. I find the author credible, Nelson Lund is a University professor with a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. He is an expert on Constitutional law, the second amendment, and the separation of powers.