You are on page 1of 6

Misenheimer 1

Will Misenheimer
Deby Jizi
UWRT 1102-028
6 April 2016
Gun Rights vs. Gun Control
For over two centuries, the 2nd Amendment has been commonly interpreted to give, The People
the right to bear arms, but is it time that Americans lock up their firearms? In his book, The Triumph of
the Gun-Rights Argument, Harry Wilson questions if the meaning of the United States Constitution
should be determined by what the original framers intended at the time of its creation, or is it a living
document, in which the meaning changes as political and social situations change? (Wilson 21). Does the
ability to defend oneself by means of firearms take priority over the potential to commit acts of terror?
The combination of these two questions have fueled the gun rights vs. gun control debate for years. In
the midst of the much heated debate over gun control, many people refer to the 2nd Amendment as either
the law that secures gun rights, or the outdated, aged legislation that does not mold into our current
society (Wilson 21). Those who defend the right to bear arms usually found their arguments on the basis
that the Second Amendment is outdated, and the need for firearms has slowly dissipated over time (Gun
Control vs. Gun Rights).
The Gun Rights vs. Gun Control debate has been a lifelong issue for this country, with the current
interpretation of the Second Amendment as the Peoples right to bear arms acting as the decider in a
heated stalemate. However, gun control does not necessarily imply the extermination of firearms, but also
the implications of more strict regulations (Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?). Following the
horrific shootings of news team members Jessica Parker and Adam Ward, the father of Parker released a
statement in which he declares that his legal team is not trying to take anybodys guns, but only to see that
incompetent people do not get their hands on them (Gun Control Debate Explodes on The Five). This is

Misenheimer 2
important to acknowledge as while firearms have not been banned, they may be restricted (Should More
Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?). While the recent Justice Antonin Scalia was known for having adopted
a Pro-Gun Rights mentality, Scalia once read that the Second Amendment is not unlimited. Therefore,
the right to bear arms is subjected to tighter restrictions, if need be. For example, of the 290 million guns
that were recorded to be in circulation in 2005, between 3 to 5 million of them were dealt through
secondary markets and illegal transactions (Gun Control versus Gun Rights). This is a very large amount
of weapons to be dealt without having serious record of the transactions, or who the weapons were dealt
to. It is very easy to discern how these under-the-table transactions may cause problems that jeopardize
the safety of the general public. Supporters of tighter gun control also argue that there is a linear
relationship between guns and gun-related deaths (Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?).
Between the years of 1999 and 2013, there were approximately 464, 033 gun-related deaths in the United
States, claiming the 12th highest manner-of-death (Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?). My
father used to tell me, If it can happen, it will. This same mentality fuels much of the skepticism on the
part of the Gun Control in regards to gun rights (Gun Control versus Gun Rights). In such a diverse
society, with millions of different minds and attitudes, it is easy to understand how discrepancies may
arise (Gun Control versus Gun Rights). If a gun is present in the midst of conflict, things may potentially
turn fatal because guns give power, and with power, certainly comes abuse (Gun Control versus Gun
Rights). The recent death of former New Orleans Saint Will Smith, as reported by The Washington Post,
is a good example (Boren). Smith and his wife were travelling on the highway when a collision with
another driver occurred, prompting Smith to confront the driver of the vehicle with which he and his wife
collided with (Boren). During the confrontation, the man drew a handgun and shot and killed Smith,
while wounding his wife (Boren). While guns are often defended as tools of self-defense, let us not forget
the potential to commit terrible acts with them.
When you visualize a Pro-Gun Rights activist, do you see a middle-aged, shirtless man driving a
big truck, brandishing the Confederate flag? Whatever your illustration of the common Pro-Gun-Rights

Misenheimer 3
activist may be, this man or woman represents the gun values of over half of early 21 st century America
(From the Polls: Gun Control). In a study done by the Washington Post at the turn of the 21 st century,
roughly 65 percent of Americans stood against the idea of a citizens ban on handguns (From the Polls:
Gun Control). But what makes these individuals feel so strongly towards their respective gun rights? In
many ways, the Pro-Gun Rights argument has not changed since even before the adoption of the Second
Amendment in the late 1700s (Wilson 23). In the case of Malloch v. Eastly in 1744, colonial courts settled
early controversy over gun control by ruling that families may keep firearms in order to ensure defense
of home and family (Wilson 23). This is a fact that the NRA (National Rifle Association) believes is
widely used by Americans (Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?). According to the NRA, guns
are used as a means of self-defense roughly 2.5 million times each year (Should More Gun Control Laws
Be Enacted?). Self-defense is an important commodity to supporters of gun rights, as seen in the
statement made by the husband of Vicki Gardner, a survivor of the 2015 Virginia TV Shooting (Gun
Control Debate Explodes on The Five.). In light of the horrific and senseless killings that had just taken
place, Gardner says, If he didnt have a gun, hed have had a knife, a machete; he was bound and
determined. I dont blame the gun, I blame the guy holding the gun (Gun Control Debate Explodes on
The Five.). NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is also recorded as describing that nothing
can stop a villain with firearm capabilities is a good individual with firearm capabilities (Should More
Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?). Also, in refutation to the argument commonly made by supporters of
gun control that there is a linear relationship between guns and gun deaths, Laws.com states that gun
rights supporters insist that regions practicing tighter gun control laws witness the most violent crime
rates in the United States (Gun Control versus Gun Rights). Advocates for gun rights also believe that the
violent crime that occurs in these regions, such as Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, are not elevated due
to the gun control controversy, but because of poverty and dissipating urban environments (Gun Control
versus Gun Rights). Lastly, to complement NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierres words
(Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?), Laws.com even argues that most gun-rights supporters
believe that denying law-abiding citizens of the right to own a firearm will not stop villains and horrible

Misenheimer 4
people from acquiring them, but only make the law-abiding citizen vulnerable (Gun Control versus Gun
Rights).
Regardless of your views of gun control, during the ongoing stalemate that is the American gun
control debate, the deciding factor, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, gives the edge to the
original question, Should the US Constitution be interpreted word for word as it was written, or is it a
living document that should be molded to fit the current society that it governs (Wilson 21)? Those who
wish for tighter gun control would most likely wish to see that the Constitution be interpreted to fit
todays environment, while those who support gun rights most likely interpret the Constitution in the
manner that it was written (Wilson 21). This is where the future of the gun control debate lies (Wilson
21). Thus, the gun rights vs. gun control debate is not the initial controversy, but rather a mere sub-topic
that is completely dependent upon the way that the United States Constitution is interpreted (Wilson 22).
It has become evident that both sides aim to achieve self-defense, but in different manners and
through different processes. Supporters of gun control typically aspire to create a safer environment by
restricting deadly weapons (Gun Control Debate Explodes on The Five.), while those who advocate
guns rights wish to ensure safety through self-defense with the use of firearms (Should More Gun Control
Laws Be Enacted?). This illustrates the diversity that is America. The general population holds a mostly
similar goal, but with different processes and variables along the way. It is equitable to a mathematical
function. There are two formulas, one representing the gun rights supporters and the other symbolizing
the advocates for gun control. A safer environment for all is represented by the supporters of gun rights as
the idea of self-defense (Gun Control versus Gun Rights), while it is also depicted in the argument for
tighter gun control through the abolishment, or restriction of deadly firearms (Should More Gun Control
Laws Be Enacted?)Thus, the two equations share the same y-variable, or outcome. However, where the
two arguments are conflicting is in the x-variable, where the input is changed (Wilson 21). The x-variable
of the argument for gun rights would represent the continuation of the right to bear arms and for lawabiding citizens to purchase and acquire firearms in a timely manner (Gun Control versus Gun Rights).

Misenheimer 5
The x-variable of the movement for gun control would not necessarily be limited to the abolishment of
firearms, but could also even be the restriction of firearms (Gun Control versus Gun Rights). The two
equations are very identical in terms of the y-variable and outcome, but polar opposites in respect to the
x-variable, and how that outcome is to be achieved (Wilson 21). Thus, the difficulty of this topic lies in
the majority-rule factor. How do we create a system that caters to one specific way of thinking, without
depriving another group of its way of thinking, but ultimately accomplishes the goal of each argument?

Misenheimer 6
Works Cited
Boren, Cindy. The Will Smith shooting leaves Drew Brees, New Orleans in shock. The Washington
Post. 11 April 2016. Web. 11 April 2016.
Gun Control Debate Explodes on The Five. The Five: FOX News. 28 August 2015.
Gun Control versus Gun Rights. Laws.com. n.d. Web. 23 March 2016.
Sage Publications. From the Polls: Gun Control. Sage Journals. January 2003. Web. 29
February 2016.
Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted? ProCon.org. 26 February 2016. Web.
2 April 2016.
Wilson, Harry. The Triumph of the Gun-Rights Argument: Why the Gun Control Debate is Over.
Santa Barbara: 2016. Print.