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Should Guns Be Banned

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Submitted By ckkelly
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GOVT XXX
Professor XXX date To Ban or Not to Ban Assault Weapons?
That is the Ultimate Question…

1966, twenty-five year old Charles Joseph Whitman climbed to the top of the clock tower in Austin and killed sixteen and injured thirty innocent students at the University of Texas. 1991, George Hennard, thirty-five, drove up to the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and opened fire on forty innocent patrons. Twenty-three of Hennard’s shots were fatal. 1999, citizens in the small Colorado County of Douglas were mortified after witnessing the massacre of thirteen students at Columbine High School at the hands of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech was forever changed when twenty-three year old Seung-Hui Cho who opened fire killing thirty-two students and teachers. 2012, Adam Lanza shocked the entire world when he took the lives of twenty students and six teachers at an elementary school in Connecticut (CNN). Horrific, terrifying, and saddening all describe the above-mentioned events. And as would be expected, each one of these events brought forth the question, “Where does the America draw the line between personal freedoms and the safety and well-being of her citizens?” The Second Amendment promises, “[…] the right of people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But, the recent shooting in Connecticut has caused the extremely emotionally charged arguments both for and against the ban of assault weapons to resurface within the United States Congress. This paper will provide an unbiased presentation of both arguments for and against the ban of assault weapons. Upon objectively presenting both sides of the argument, the paper will then proceed into developing a stance against the ban of assault weapons through the further discussion and elaboration upon the ideas As mentioned before, the Second Amendment specifically states that the ability for an American citizen to own a gun will in no way be infringed upon. This leads to the first argument to be discussed, the argument against the ban of assault weapons within the United States. Opponents of this band rely heavily on the idea that many of the massacres that were discussed earlier in this text did not involve assault weapons; instead they were carried out through the use of handguns rather than rifles or shotguns (The Editors). In fact, it is evident that even Congress is struggling with the definition of assault weapon; in the past an assault weapon was described as having at least two or more of the following list: Pistol grip, forward Grip, removable or bendable stock, grenade launcher, barrel shroud, or threaded barrel, along with others (Hartmann). Hartmann of the New York News and Features stated, “Though the new legislation lays out the features of an assault weapon, figuring out if a particular weapon is banned is even more complicated. The bill prohibits 150 specific guns, and excludes 2,250 firearms used for hunting or other sport.” Staunch anti-gun control advocates argue that is hard to ignore that James Holmes, the infamous Batman Shooter who took four guns into the movie theatres the night he opened fire would still have had access to at least two of the guns that he used (Nwanevu). However, though the argument of banning assault weapons builds primarily around the idea that not only are assault rifles often times not used in mass killings and that the classification of assault weapons would prove to be very hard under the new Congressional bill, but their argument is also based upon the idea the assault weapon band of 1994 was found to be inconclusive (Lee). Numerous studies were conducted regarding the effectiveness of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. A particular study by Roth and Koper of the Department of Justice revealed that there were little if any difference in number of murder due to the fact that the banned weapons and magazines were rarely if ever involved in gun related murders (Lee). Anti-gun control advocates argue that if the ban of 1994 did little to influence the safety of the American citizens, how would a ban in 2013 prove to be different. This brings me to my final point used by those that are against the proposed 2013 ban of assault weapons. The final argument evoked by anti-gun restrictions is that the legislature would be much more successful in reducing crime by better enforcing the laws that are in place as of today rather than implementing new ones. More specifically, many argue that gun background checks should be more stringent, and that people who fail gun background checks are accordingly prosecuted by their respective states. In a recent Congressional hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham stated that the most recent DOJ statistics revealed that of the nearly eighty-thousand people that failed background checks, only forty-four of them were persecuted (McKelway). Proponents of this idea argue that enforcement would be a more effective avenue in comparison to completely banning assault weapons as it is evident that many states such as Texas, South Dakota and Illinois so highly detest the ban on Assault Weapons that recent legislation would allow officers in some states to not enforce the ban at all (McKelway). However, as with every argument there is always an opposing view, and those that are staunch gun restriction proponents do no hesitate to ensure that their arguments are heard as well. First and foremost, the idea of a reduction of guns would inevitably decrease the amount of violent crime. America has more guns per capita of any other nation on Earth, and to no surprise our rate of gun homicide is the highest of any developed nation, in fact it is nearly thirty-two percent higher than that of Great Britain (Eskow). In an article published by the Harvard Institute of Politics, argues that a ban in assault type weapons would greatly affect the safety of the American citizen due to the fact it, “[..] would help public safety agencies root out domestic terror threats. (Matthews)” In the same article, the author, Jake Matthews leaves his audience with the phrase, “As a society, we choose to arm our police officers. Yet, if we allow both officers and criminals to carry weaponry, were simply asking for death and instability.” The idea that society would be inherently safer is not the only argument employed by gun control advocates, but they also directly rebuttal the idea that a ban on assault weapons would eventually turn into a ban of all guns. An aspect that ban proponents are very adamant in emphasizing is that regulation on assault weapons would not be a regulation on all guns. To quote Richard Eskow in an opinion piece for the popular political blog SALON:
“Which sports, exactly, require an assault weapon that fires 850 rounds per minute? And is there any mass-killing capacity that would be too much for your recreational activity? 5,000 rounds per minute? 10,000 rounds per minute? Or is the recreational value of high-speed gunfire infinite and unbounded?”
The banning of the publically owned assault weapons would not directly affect those that use firearms for hunting, recreational, or competitive purposes. Gun proponents believe that a safe America starts with the elimination of assault type weapons. The last argument to be discussed revolves around the cliché, “Guns do not kill people, and other people kill people.” Gun control activist argue that it is hard to ignore the idea the fact that some truly troubled individuals have had the opportunity to obtain and ultimately use truly lethal devices. If a strong, conscientious effort was made to remove these types of guns off the market, it could be possible reduce the number of gruesome killings at the hands of mentally unstable individuals. Now that this paper has objectively presented both arguments for and against the ban of assault weapons within the United States, it will proceed into arguing against the 2013 Ban of Assault Weapons. Continuing with the ideas presented earlier in this paper, there is little if any factual evidence that a ban on assault weapons would prove to be beneficial in reducing the amount of violent homicides within the United States. Moreover, a huge loophole in the current 2013 proposal is the idea that previously owned assault weapons and larger magazines would still be accessible for those that truly wanted to get a hold of them. In fact, it could even be suggested that if a ban was placed on assault weapon, violent crimes could ensue by those that truly wanted to posses assault weapons. However, maybe the most convincing argument is the fact that the 1994 Ban on Assault Weapons did little if anything to protect the citizens of the Untied States, who is to say that a 2013 Ban, which in terms of contextual reference varies little from the 1994 bill will be any more successful? As illustrated by this paper, assault weapons are highly sensitive and heavily debated. Opponents of the 2013 ban argue that a ban of assault weapons will do little to help protect American citizens, as evident by the failure of the 1994 Ban of Assault Weapons. Moreover, there is not a specific definition of what does and does not qualify as an assault weapon, leaving many wondering exactly what would be classified as illegal under the 2013 law. Instead, opponents of the ban argue that enforcing current laws, especially those dealing with background checks. Proponents of the assault weapon ban argue that removal of assault weapons would make America a safer place. They support this claim with statistics regarding the fact that America has the highest number of guns per capita, and coincidently the highest gun homicide rate of any developed nation (Eskow). Proponents tend to take a more defensive approach as evidence of the argument against the claim that gun control will restrict the use of guns for hunting, recreational, and competitive purposes. Finally, proponents tend to emphasize the idea that even though guns do not kill people, removing the opportunity of emotionally unstable individuals to be able to access such a deadly weapon could help increase the safety of the American public. Lastly, the idea of not supporting the 2013 ban was further discussed and an argument was developed against the potential ban of 2013. The fact that history reveals that a ban of assault weapons is extremely unsuccessful in 1994 makes it hard to argue that a new ban that has very little differences from the original legislation would be affective.

Works Cited
CNN Political Unit. "From Second Amendment to Assault Weapons Ban: A Look at U.S. Gun Laws." CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/10/politics/us-gun-laws>.

Davis, Richard J. "In Gun Control Debate, Logic Goes out the Window." CNN. Cable News Network, 26 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/25/opinion/davis-gun-control-logic>.

Eskow, Richard. “12 Rational Responses to Irrational Gun Arguments.” SALON, 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.salon.com/2013/01/25/12_rational_responses_to_irrational_gun_arguments/>.

Hartfield, Elizabeth. "The Assault Weapons Ban: What Was It and Did It Work?" ABC News. ABC News Network, 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/newtown-connecticut-shootings-assault-weapons-ban-work/story?id=18000724>.

Hartman, Margaret. "What Makes a Gun an Assault Weapon.”? New York Magazine. New York Media LLC, 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/01/what-makes-a-gun-an-assault-weapon.html>.

Lee, Jack. "7 Reasons Why An Assault Weapons Ban Will Fail to Reduce Violent Crime." PolicyMic. PolicyMic, Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.policymic.com/articles/23290/7-reasons-why-an-assault-weapons-ban-will-fail-to-reduce-violent-crime>.

Matthews, Jake. "For Lives and Liberty: Banning Assault Weapons in America." For Lives and Liberty: Banning Assault Weapons in America. The Institute of Politics at Harvard University |, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.iop.harvard.edu/lives-and-liberty-banning-assault-weapons-america>.

McKelway, Doug. "Dems Ramp up Push for Assault Weapons Ban, Face Headwinds from States." Fox News. FOX News Network, 28 Feb. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/27/democrats-push-for-assault-weapons-ban-in-congress-but-it-still-faces-uphill/>.

Nwanevu, O.C. "Batman Shooting: Assault Weapons Ban Would Not Have Stopped James Eagan Holmes." PolicyMic. PolicyMic, July 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.policymic.com/articles/11645/batman-shooting-assault-weapons-ban-would-not-have-stopped-james-eagan-holmes>.

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/25/12_rational_responses_to_irrational_gun_arguments/ http://www.iop.harvard.edu/lives-and-liberty-banning-assault-weapons-america http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/25/opinion/davis-gun-control-logic http://www.policymic.com/articles/23290/7-reasons-why-an-assault-weapons-ban-will-fail-to-reduce-violent-crime http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/01/what-makes-a-gun-an-assault-weapon.html http://www.policymic.com/articles/11645/batman-shooting-assault-weapons-ban-would-not-have-stopped-james-eagan-holmes http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/27/democrats-push-for-assault-weapons-ban-in-congress-but-it-still-faces-uphill/

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