United States Gun Control Pros Cons Research Paper

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The Second Amendment to the Constitution states, “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,” (United States Constitution). Because few contemporary gun owners would describe themselves as being part of a “well regulated militia,” the relevance of the Second Amendment becomes increasingly spurious. Mass shootings, firearm accidents, and other gun-related deaths are disproportionately high in the United States, but assessing causality remains one of the greatest policy challenges of the last century. Gun control advocates claim that revising the Second Amendment would help to reduce the number, frequency, and severity of violent deaths and especially curb instances of mass shootings. On the other hand, gun control detractors claim that guns themselves are not the problem; that existing legislation already controls firearm ownership, and that the Second Amendment must remain sacrosanct in order to protect public safety.

Why Not Gun Control?

Because of the Second Amendment, the burden of proof in the gun control debate remains legally placed on gun control advocates. After all, the default status is that of legal but regulated personal firearm ownership. Therefore, gun control advocates have an uphill battle to climb, one that comes up against constitutional values and law. Gun control would result in costly, lengthy, and potentially futile legal battles that could actually preclude research into broader sociological and psychological causes of gun-related violence.

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Another argument against gun control is that restricting legal access to firearms would potentially impede the ability of the average American to engage in self-defence or even to create the “well regulated militia” the Constitution allows. Gun control detractors also claim that no amount of legislation can prevent the illegal firearms trade from flourishing, and that legal gun ownership would effectively allow individuals and communities to protect themselves from would-be terrorists or armed criminals. Some gun advocates also herald the underlying values of freedom and liberty that undergird the Second Amendment: which places actual physical power into the hands of the people rather than in the hands of elected officials with the potential to abuse their positions of power. Finally, gun advocates claim that statistics related to gun deaths have been either manipulated or overblown, advocating for improved gun safety education and awareness (“Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?” n.d.).

The Benefits of Gun Control


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“10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Gun Control,” (n.d.). Vittana. https://vittana.org/10-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-gun-control

Kalesan, B., Mobily, M.E., Keiser, O., et al. (2016). Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study. The Lancet 387(10030): 1847-1855.

Mosher, D. & Gould, S. (2018). The odds that a gun will kill the average American may surprise you. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-gun-death-murder-risk-statistics-2018-3

“Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?” (n.d.). ProCon.org. https://gun-control.procon.org/
United States Constitution. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment

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