Critical Thinking

America, the place we call home, is filled

America,
the place we call home, is filled with an unceasing problem of violence. Our
neighborhoods have become a battlefield, where innocent people are being beaten
for their bags, where fragile women are easily attacked and raped, where people
are shot in their own homes, and where children are caught in the crossfire of school
shootings. We can’t ignore the atrocity that these criminals are causing within
our society and we must take proper action to put an end to this madness. Unfortunately,
the efforts to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not address the
real problem we are facing, but it simply disarms the innocent law-abiding
citizens who are most in need of security and self-defense. We need to keep in
mind that guns aren’t to blame, but the criminals behind the trigger are.

            Firearms have played a significant
role within our country. In order for us to understand the efforts behind gun
control, we must take into consideration the history of America. The second
amendment of the Constitution of the United States mentions that 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 (Amend. II). Although we
may disagree, there are good reasons in which we have the right to bear arms in
the society we live in today. Initially, people maintained firearms for the use
of hunting, and occasionally for protection or self-defense. However, when the
colonist felt that the burden of British oppression was too much to bear, they
utilized their personal firearms and proceeded to war. Standing against the
British armies, these rebels found themselves opposed by the greatest military
force in the world. The founding fathers of the country understood that an
armed population, aided in fighting off and defeating oppression. They reinforced
the right to keep and bear arms, a constitutionally guaranteed right. Thomas
Jefferson mentions in the draft of the Virginia Constitution, “No man shall
ever be debarred the use of arms” (Draft).

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            We hear arguments with opposing
views on firearms and we witness advocates claiming that they want to remove
guns out of criminal hands. Today, Congress continue to work diligently to pass
legislation that would remove guns from hands, but forget that they are also removing
guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. Law-abiding citizens who possess
these weapons in times of self-defense or protection. We need to face the fact
that the efforts to reinforce stricter gun control does not address the real
problem that we have at hand. If we pass laws restricting the use and ownership
of firearms, who does these laws really affect? The obvious answer is that gun
control laws don’t affect the law-breaking criminals, instead it affects the law-abiding
citizens. Criminals will continue to violate these gun control laws, they will
continue to carry their guns, and their efforts at crime will be much simpler,
knowing that their victims will be unarmed and vulnerable. It’s easy to picture
this when we witness this today. We often hear news about unarmed African
Americans who are shot, innocent people who become victims when the laws make
it impossible for them to defend themselves. An unarmed man stands little
chance against an armed one.

            Many states which include, Hawaii,
Florida, and Texas, consists of citizens stating that they want to preserve
their right to bear firearms, mainly for self-defense and security reasons. Hawaii,
with some of the nation’s toughest gun-related laws, keeps a tight rein on gun
ownership, registration, and use. Because of this, Hawaii prosecutors report
that gun crime levels in the state are relatively low (Find). Florida has been
issuing concealed weapons permits to law-abiding citizens and these citizens
have been carrying their firearms as defense to uncontrolled crime. Similar to
Hawaii, Florida has resulted to dropping numbers of incidents in violent crime
as compared to Alaska who is the leading state in firearm deaths (Frohlich). Advocates
who are against the use of firearms argue that when citizens proceed with the
right to carry, we would see bloodshed or an increase in violence. But these
advocates are quick to judge and accuse wrongly. In the United States of
America, there has been 16,358,844 active concealed permits, a 256% increase in
permits since 2007 (Guns) with only a few of those permits revoked for improper
use of firearm. These statistics make it clear for us to see that it is the
law-abiding citizens who are following the rules. These citizens go through this
legal process in use of protection when needed and not wanting to break the law.

 The criminals of our society are the
ones who intend to continue breaking the law. These criminals will continue to seek
possession of their firearms, whether or not the law allows them to do so.

            With or without gun control laws in
place, criminals will always find ways to gain possession of guns. In America,
we have criminalized the use, possession, sale, and transportation of many
kinds narcotics, but it’s still so simple for a person to drive by a specific
corner to purchase the drug of their choice. Just as easy as it is to gain
possession of these drugs, firearms and ammunitions are also easily attainable.

Today, criminals often carry illegal weapons with disregard to the current laws
in place. When these criminals are caught, the courts dismiss these lesser
weapon charges when prosecuting and focus more on the serious charges such as
murder.

            Gun control advocates continue to
argue their case by demonizing the weapon itself, rather than addressing the
real issue, the people behind the trigger who commit these violent crimes. This
is the main misconception in their argument. These gun control advocates
continue to believe and argue that the possession of a gun turns people into bloodthirsty
murderers. If legal possession of firearms is the issue at hand, why are crime
rates still higher in areas such as New York or Washington, D.C., states with
stricter gun control laws? Why are crime rates decreasing in states such as
Florida where private ownership of weapons is encouraged? (Kurtzleben). It is
obvious that legal ownership is not the issue, it isn’t the reason behind the
crime. Does ownership of weapons cause people to become cold blood murderers?
We must not fall into the trap of blaming the gun for the hand that wields it.

            Forcing firearms to become illegal
does so little when trying to prevent criminals from getting guns. Gun control
laws only refrain people who are obedient to the law, the law-abiding citizens
who would utilize these weapons for legal use only. If we give people the right
to defend themselves, we find that criminals start looking for other victims in
fear that they will become the victims. It’s true that we must try to reduce
crime in our country, but before pointing fingers, we must look at the problem
as whole and create more effective plans, rather than banning the use of guns.

Gun control laws are not effective in reducing crime. Instead, we should direct
our efforts towards controlling the criminals versus controlling the legal
ownership of firearms.

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