Legend staff battles over gun control


Two legend writers square off over gun control debate

Jacob Winick and Alex Johnson, Staff writers

PRO-Restraints on gun ownership

by Jacob Winick

 It was the kind of Christmas story nobody wanted to read. On Friday, Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, armed with his mother’s assault rifle, killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

This atrocity reflects America’s outdated and unjustifiable stance on gun control.

In a 2003 study, The Journal of Trauma found that the United States accounted for 80 percent of all firearm deaths that took place that year in 23 populous high-income countries.

Anti-gun control advocates have created a gun-loving system that allows almost anyone to buy guns without restrictions.

According to the National Institute of Justice, “no-check” sales, which do not require identification or background check, account for about 40 percent of gun sales in the U.S.

Anti-gun control advocates argue that restricting the gun trade will increase crime. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” goes the heavily circulated sound bite from Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

LaPierre’s opinion shows a complete disregard for statistics. Guns cause far more crime than they prevent. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, guns are 22 times more likely to be used for suicide, seven times more likely to be used for homicide and four times more likely to cause unintentional death or injury than to be used for protection.

Gun enthusiasts have only one viable statistic to counter this evidence. Former President Bill Clinton’s 10-year assault rifle ban, which passed in 1994 and expired in 2004, failed to lower homicide rates.

The ban failed because it was too weak, not because gun control is flawed. It sought to outlaw assault rifles by restricting specific features. Said M. Kristen Rand of The Violence Policy Center: “the gun industry easily found ways around the law and most of these weapons are now sold in post-ban models virtually identical to the guns Congress sought to ban in 1994.”

Governments that have passed stronger gun bans, as in the United Kingdom and Australia, have seen homicide rates plummet.

Undoubtedly, inanimate guns do not perpetrate shootings — humans pull the trigger. But the instrument is a key part of the problem. It is naïve to contend otherwise.

Guns are by far the most dangerous legal weapons. Around the same time as the Newtown shootings, a man in Chenpeng, China, slashed 22 children with a knife. Anti-gun control advocates say this proves the inability of gun control to reduce crime. Indeed, the Chenpeng attack proves that a gun ban cannot suppress evil acts. But it also demonstrates how many lives such a ban can save: 28 people died in Newtown. Nobody died in Chenpeng.

To prevent these atrocities, anti-gun control advocates want to put armed guards in public schools. Let’s remember that there was armed guard protecting Columbine High School. But on April 20, 1999, the officer was e ating lunch in his patrol car while 15 people died from gun wounds on campus.

Conservatives continue to disguise their love of guns with a fake concern for human life. They get away with it by touting a gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.

Our founding fathers wrote the amendment to protect state militias, which were needed to protect states if the federal government became tyrannical. This did not protect our right to own an assault rifle.

It was not until 2008 that the conservative majority in the Supreme Court decided with a one-vote margin that the amendment applied to citizens outside of state militias. It was a ludicrous ruling fueled by gun enthusiasm rather than a diligent interpretation of the Constitution.

Since we do not have state militias, the Second Amendment is no longer applicable. We need an amendment to the constitution banning guns besides those restricted to designated marksmen or hunting areas.

Anti-gun control advocates need to return to reality. We have tried allowing guns and it has failed. Let’s give peace a chance.



CON-Restrictions on gun use

by Alex Johnson

      It’s been more than 230 years since American citizens have had to defend themselves from a foreign threat.

However, the right to bear arms is still relevant. While the threat of government tyranny, violent rebellions, and redcoats is much smaller today, the ideas behind these fears still persist in today’s society. Revolutionary citizens wanted a guarantee of their right to bear arms for their safety and freedom. And the ability to keep their safety in their own hands was a privilege that not many countries allowed.

When aggressors want something from defendants, they can use force or persuasion . By having a gun, defendants ensure that aggressors must use reason, not force.

This is the service firearms provide us. They act as an equalizer. Having a handgun in the purse is one of the few things that can put a 100-pound young woman on the same level as a professional criminal. By placing heavy restrictions on gun ownership, government allows the safety of its citizens to fall into the hands of felons. In June of 2007, on an NRA website, Sgt. Maj. L. Caudill wrote, “I don’t carry a gun because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid.”

Common sense says that some guns are bought for evil.  Despite this, restricting the purchase of guns is not the solution. Criminals can find other ways to obtain firearms. In a 2002 study, the Journal of Quantitative Criminology found that U.S. citizens used guns to defend themselves 989,883 times in 2001.

Placing restrictions on the acquisition of guns in hope that street violence will dwindle is ignorant. Restrictions will only prevent people who hope to use guns for defense from getting them. Criminals will get guns no matter what. According to the website JustFacts.com, England experienced 10 gun deaths per 1,000,000 citizens in the 1950s. However, after a gun control act in 1968, and a 1997 ban, homicide rates increased to 16 per 1,000,000 citizens.

Furthermore, restricting gun sales will not prevent murders. As Joyce Lee Malcolm wrote in The Wall Street Journal in Dec. 2012, “After a school massacre in 1998, the U.K. passed a universal ban on guns. A decade later, handgun deaths more than doubled.” According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there were approximately 242 million guns in circulation in the U.S. as of 1996. If the government limited gun sales, criminals would still illegally obtain guns and law-abiding citizens would lose the ability to protect themselves. The Clinton assault weapon ban, which passed in Sept. 1994, demonstrated this problem: The government banned assault weapon sales, yet there was no decrease in rates of violent crime.

All research aside, common sense favors guns. If someone felt threatened, he or she would want to protect himself or herself. So why wouldn’t Americans want to protect the right to defend themselves?

Gun owners don’t doubt the ability of law enforcement. However, police officers face limitations. According to the website gundata.org, the average response time of a 911 call is between eight and 12 minutes in most cities. In contrast, the typical length of interaction between criminal and victim is between 90 and 120 seconds. As a result, police usually arrive after the incident. Which means your immediate safety is your responsibility. Having a gun at your disposal in those critical minutes could save you from being maimed, raped, robbed or murdered.

The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting. It was written at a time where the threat of government was of legitimate concern to its citizens. While Americans are no longer at war with the British, they are still at a war with crime. Having a gun can protect law-abiding citizens from the whims of violent criminals; but if state legislatures and the federal government tighten regulations, protection from crime may not be so readily available. According to gundata.org, the average 911-response time in San Francisco is eight minutes. Bullets travel at 3,000 feet per second.