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Critical Thinking Paper

Honor Kalala
Honors English 9
Blue Group
5/10/15

On December 14th 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6
adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The
incident is known as the deadliest mass shooting at a grade school in U.S. history and

the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history, after the 2007
Virginia Tech shootings. In response to this devastating incident and many other like it
that happen every year, Senator Dianne Feinstein reintroduced the Assault Weapons
Ban that had been active since 1994 until it expired in 2004. The Assault Weapons Ban
of 2013 however, was rejected in congress with a 40-60 vote. The bill included the
banning of the Sale, transfer, manufacturing and importation of All semiautomatic rifles
that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature (Assault
Weapons Ban of 2013). This bill however, failed to act upon the 200 million guns
already in the hands of private owners instead stating that Any weapon that is lawfully
possessed at the date of the bills enactment is excluded from the bill therefore still
legal. The bill was also extremely specific and detailed in the types of guns that it
banned, therefore making it easier to evade. The US Senate must reintroduce a revised
version of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, including more extensive background
checks, so as to reduce the number of people killed at the hands of guns in the US, to
ensure that American citizens are still granted their right to bear arms, and to reduce the
economic loss that comes as a result of gun violence.
On average, more than thirty thousand people are killed by firearms each year in
the Unites States excluding shooting accidents and suicides, this amounts to about 308
shootings and 86 deaths every day. The Assaults Weapon Ban has been found to have
a significant impact on solving this problem, A Justice Department study of the assault
weapons ban found that it was responsible for a 6.7% decrease in total gun murders
("Assault Weapons Ban of 2013"). This ban has proven to be effective in getting
military-like assault weapons off of the streets, since the ban expired however, Assault

weapons are disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple


wounds per victim, and police officers as victims, more than 350 people have been
killed and more than 450 injured by these exact weapons. The use of assault weapons
in crime has also declined by more than two thirds after the 1994 Assault Weapons ban
took effect. Thirty seven percent of police departments reported seeing a noticeable
increase in criminals use of assault weapons since the 1994 federal ban expired. This
decrease in crime showcases the essential need of gun laws, such as the 1994 Assault
Weapons Ban, in the United States.
Gun violence not only has an effect on the health and safety of our society, but it
also has a negative impact on the American economy. In terms of lost productivity,
police and judicial time, medical care and medical examiner costs(Hamilton), and
insurance, the United States loses billions of dollars each year, amounting to as much
as 174 billion dollars in 2010 according to data compiled by the Pacific Institute for
Research and Evaluation in Calverton, Maryland. The calculated cost of each civilian
owned firearm in the US equals to more than 644 dollars each, dwarfing the 28.2 billion
dollar budget of the Justice Department. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 was flawed
in the fact that it only proposed to ban assault weapons when there were still millions of
guns out in circulation that had either not yet been accounted for or had been found
legal to own through a loophole in the bill. Many Americans have come to own private
guns by finding a loophole and evading the mandatory background check that is
required during the process of acquiring a gun. When reintroducing the Assault
Weapons Ban, the bill must include a more general banning of dangerous firearms so
as to relieve the most amount of guns in private hands, therefore decreasing the

negative economic impact of guns on the economy, and must enforce stricter
background checks.
One of the big arguments against gun laws comes from Americans need to
maintain their 2nd Amendment right, 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 ("The Constitution of the United States," Amendment 2). The Assault
Weapons Ban ensures that all persons are still granted their right to bear arms but as
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said, I believe you should have the right to own a
gun, But you do not need an assault weapon to defend yourself and your property.
Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose alone, to kill a lot of people very
quickly. The Senator depicts the bill very precisely with this quote explaining how the
Assault Weapons Ban will not remove anyones 2nd amendment right but will allow the
public to have access to less dangerous firearms and not those that are meant to kill a
lot of people very quickly. The AR rifle (auto reloading) is a certain type of assault
weapon that has been used in most mass shootings since the ban fell, primarily
because they are so easy to get.
The US senate must work to introduce and pass the Assault Weapons Ban that
unlike its predecessor, must enforce more extensive background checks and include a
broader description of the guns banned not simply a list of types of assault weapons. A
reintroduction of the Assault Weapons Ban will not eliminate all loopholes, The more
government regulates gun purchases from legal dealers, for example, the more
criminals will seek to get them illegally(Cohn), but it is a start and looking at it from a

social viewpoint, any legislation that can save lives is good framework for future more
extensive and innovative legislation.

Works Cited
"Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." Dianne Feinstein. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/
assault-weapons-ban-summary>.

Hamilton, Gina. "The Smart Money: The Economics of Gun Control." The New Maine
Times. django, 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.newmainetimes.org/articles/2012/12/18/
smart-money-economics-gun-control/>.
Cohn, Jonathan. "How to Build a Better Assault Weapons Ban." New Republic. N.p.,
2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112296/
nra-and-assault-weapons-ban-how-improve-it>.

Annotated Bibliography
"Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." Dianne Feinstein. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/
assault-weapons-ban-summary>.

Annotation: Explains exactly what they bill entails and provides several statistics that would prove the
law effective.
Chew, Cassie M. "The Assault Weapons Ban as Understood by a 2nd Amendment
Scholar." PBS News hour. PBS, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/
the-assault-weapons-ban-as-understood-by-a-second-amendment-scholar/>
Annotation:Didnt help me this year but might help the other side next year.
Cohen, Ed. "Public Enemy No. 1." Notre Dame Magazine. Winter 1999/2000: 32+.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. Cohen, Ed. "Public Enemy No.
1." Notre Dame Magazine. Winter 1999/2000: 32+. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
Annotation:
Cohn, Jonathan. "How to Build a Better Assault Weapons Ban." New Republic. N.p.,
2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112296/
nra-and-assault-weapons-ban-how-improve-it>.
Annotation:Helped a lot with coming up with the aspects needed for a solution.
Cox, Ramsey. "Senate Rejects Assault Weapons Ban on 40-60 Vote." The Hill.
Capitol Hill, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http://thehill.com/blogs/
floor-action/senate/294625-senate-rejects-assault-weapons-ban-on-x-x-vote>.
Annotation: Provided a clearer view of the senates take on gun control.

Goldman, Henry. "Shootings Costing U.S. $174 Billion Show Burden of Gun
Violence." Bloomberg Business. N.p., 21 Dec. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-12-21/
shootings-costing-u-s-174-billion-show-burden-of-gun-violence>.
Annotation: This is where I got most of my information on the economic aspects of gun control, very
helpful.
Hamilton, Gina. "The Smart Money: The Economics of Gun Control." The New Maine
Times. django, 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.newmainetimes.org/articles/2012/12/18/
smart-money-economics-gun-control/>.
Annotation: This site also provided a lot of economic statistics in relation to gun control although through
further research I found some of the stats to be false.
Hudson, John. "How Come Gun Sales Spike after Mass Shootings?" The Wire. N.p.,
24 July 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.thewire.com/national/2012/
07/how-come-gun-sales-spike-after-mass-shootings/54961/>.
Annotation: I didnt use this source in my essay but it is a good source for future drafts that I could use to
support some of my arguments.

Plumer, Brad. "Everything You Need to Know about the Assault Weapons Ban, in One
Post." Washington Post 17 Dec. 2012: n. pag. Print.
Annotation:
Reis, Patrick, and Matt Vasilogambros. "Gun Control Failed in Congress. Its
Happening Anyway." National Journal. N.p., 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Mar.
2015. <http://www.nationaljournal.com/whitehouse/
gun-control-failed-in-congress-it-s-happening-anyway-20130917>.
Annotation: Introduced me to the fact that there are gun laws being proposed but there are many flaws
and obstacles that are present in the bills and the system as a whole.
"Resolution on Firearm Violence Research and Prevention." American Psychological
Association. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.apa.org/
about/policy/firearms.aspx>.
Annotation: A smart solution which is to take a public health approach to gun control, comparing it to
diseases such as lung cancer which has significantly decreased as a result of the anti gun campaign.

"S.150 - Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." Congress.gov. Lib. of Cong., n.d. Web. 31
Mar. 2015. <https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/
150>.
Annotation: Provided a good summary of the bill and exactly what it entails.
"S. 150 (113th): Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." GovTrack. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar.
2015. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s150>.
Annotation: Broke down the details of the bill and provided a good introduction to what it was.
"Stronger Gun Control Laws Will Save Lives." Guns and Crime. Ed. Christine
Watkins. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Rpt. from "Ten Myths
About Gun Violence in America." LCAV.org. 2009. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
Annotation:
Willis, Tiffany. "Better Gun Control Would Reduce Gang-Related Violence."
Organized Crime. Ed. David Haugen, Susan Musser, and Michael Chaney.
Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt.
from "Who Arms America's Gangs?: Responsible Gun Owners."
LiberalAmerica.org. 2013. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16
Mar. 2015.
Annotation: