Gun Law Debate Essay Example

Gun control is a hot button issue, especially in the wake of so many recent, tragic mass shootings. It is also a polarizing issue, which means that it tends to divide people.

When you’re writing an argumentative essay, it generally doesn’t matter what side of an issue you take. What matters is that you take a side and support whichever position you choose.

In the case of the gun control issue, you could plausibly—and defensibly—take either side: strict regulation up to and including an outright ban on firearms or complete legalization of individual gun ownership.

Either way, you’re going to need strong evidence.

With this in mind, I’ve sourced 12 gun control articles from online publications that illustrate both sides of the debate, plus two articles that can help you understand the background of the issue.

For each article, I’ve included the author’s basic point and why the article is a worthwhile resource, as well as citations for APA and MLA 7th and MLA 8th editions.

No matter what side you argue, this post will point you to some credible sources for your argumentative gun control essay.

6 Supporting Gun Control Articles

Pro-gun control article #1: Gun Control and the Constitution: Should We Amend the Second Amendment?

This article discusses what is perhaps the greatest source of contention in the entire debate: the Second Amendment’s wording.

The author quotes former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who advocates changing the Second Amendment’s confusing language to clarify that it only applies to those serving in a militia.

Formerly called BusinessWeek until 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek has been around since 1929 and has earned numerous industry publication awards.

APA Citation

Barrett, P. M. (2014, February 10). Gun control and the Constitution: Should we amend the Second Amendment? Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-02-20/gun-control-and-the-constitution-should-we-amend-the-second-amendment

7th Edition MLA Citation

Barrett, Paul M. “Gun Control and the Constitution: Should We Amend the Second Amendment?” Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Barrett, Paul M. “Gun Control and the Constitution: Should We Amend the Second Amendment?” Bloomberg Businessweek, 20 Feb. 2014, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-02-20/gun-control-and-the-constitution-should-we-amend-the-second-amendment. Accessed 10 July 2016.

A quick note about citations. I’ve included both MLA 7th edition and MLA 8th edition, as well as APA, citations for each article that you can use if you decide to reference the source in your gun control essay.

Because the MLA 8th edition went into effect in early 2016, not all professors/schools will require the use of the new format. Check with your professor to see which edition he or she prefers.

The 8th edition of MLA also suggests that you include the URL in each entry. Including the date you accessed an online source is now optional. I’ve included both pieces of information in my examples.

(Again, check with your professor to see what he or she prefers.)

Pro-gun control article #2: It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them.

Bovy tackles the gun issue by arguing that the debate should not be about closing loopholes in gun control. She doesn’t argue that specific types of guns should be banned, but argues that all guns should be banned.

This article is published by New Republic, which “…was founded in 1914 as a journal of opinion which seeks to meet the challenge of a new time” (NewRepublic.com). “Today, the New Republic is the voice of creative thinkers, united by a collective desire to challenge the status quo” (NewRepublic.com).

APA Citation

Bovey, P. M. (2015, December 10). It’s time to ban guns. Yes, all of them. New Republic. Retrieved from http://www.newrepublic.com/article/125498/its-time-ban-guns-yes-them

7th Edition MLA Citation

Bovey, Phoebe, M. “It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them.” New Republic. New Republic, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Bovey, Phoebe, M. “It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them.” New Republic, 10 Dec. 2015, newrepublic.com/article/125498/its-time-ban-guns-yes-them. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Pro-gun control article #3: Battleground America

This well-researched article was written in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting. It covers three main areas:

  • An in-depth discussion of the meaning of existing gun laws and the Second Amendment.
  • The difference between now and the time in which the Amendment was drafted.
  • How the drastically increased killing power of modern firearms makes any reference to the laws crafted two centuries ago obsolete.

LePore is a frequent contributor to TheNew Yorker, as well as many other national news magazines.

APA Citation

LePore, J. (2012, April 23). Battleground America. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/04/23/battleground-america

7th Edition MLA Citation

LePore, Jill. “Battleground America.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

LePore, Jill. “Battleground America.” The New Yorker, 23 Apr. 2012, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/04/23/battleground-america. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Pro-gun control article #4: Why We Can’t Talk About Gun Control

Hamblin discusses one of the most problematic aspects of the gun control debate: the fact that it is so politicized.

Here, the author explains his opinion by framing it in his own experiences. He states that he lost his job when he published a column arguing that it’s possible to regulate guns without infringing on individuals’ rights.

Hamblin is a frequent contributor and senior editor at TheAtlantic.

APA Citation

Hamblin, J. (2014, June 29). Why we can’t talk about gun control. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive /2014/06/how-to-interpret-the-second-amendment/373664

7th Edition MLA Citation

Hamblin, James. “Why We Can’t Talk About Gun Control.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 29 June 2014. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Hamblin, James. “Why We Can’t Talk About Gun Control.” The Atlantic, The Atlantic Monthly Group, 29 June 2014, www.theatlantic.com/politics /archive/2014/06/how-to-interpret-the-second-amendment/373664. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Pro-gun control article #5: California’s proposed gun laws won’t change our culture of violence, but they will make us safer

This editorial by the the LA Times Editorial Board explains that, even though California has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, there are still many loopholes. The editorial board argues that stricter regulations for purchasing guns and ammunition need to be in place to stop gun violence.

The Los Angeles Times is a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper that has been in publication for more than 134 years.

APA Citation

Times Editorial Board. (2016, April 22). California’s proposed gun laws won’t change our culture of violence, but they will make us safer. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-adv-california-guns-20160422-story

7th Edition MLA Citation

Times Editorial Board. “California’s Proposed Gun Laws Won’t Change Our Culture of Violence, but They Will Make Us Safer.” LATimes.comLos Angeles Times Media Group, 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Times Editorial Board. “California’s Proposed Gun Laws Won’t Change Our Culture of Violence, but They Will Make Us Safer.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Media Group, 22 Apr. 2016, www.latimes.com/opinion/ editorials/la-ed-adv-california-guns-20160422-story. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Pro-gun control article #6: 4 Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing

Though you might not automatically think hard-hitting news when you think of Rolling Stone magazine, the author of this brief article succinctly sums up four common pro-gun arguments and explains why she doesn’t feel they’re effective.

Rolling Stone covers a variety of cultural, music, social, and political news and is a well-established magazine.

APA Citation

Marcotte, A. (2015, October 1). 4 pro-gun arguments we’re sick of hearing. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/ politics/news/4-pro-gun-arguments-were-sick-of-hearing-20151001

7th Edition MLA Citation

Marcotte, Amanda. “4 Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Marcotte, Amanda. “4 Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing.” Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2015, www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/4-pro-gun-arguments-were-sick-of-hearing-20151001. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Now that we’ve examined articles in favor of gun control, let’s take a look at a few articles that are against gun control.

6 Opposing Gun Control Articles

Anti-gun control article #1: 5 arguments against gun control — and why they are all wrong

Published in the LA Times, this op-ed piece is written by Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes, who are the founders of the gun violence prevention site Armed With Reason.

The authors argue that gun control laws don’t deter criminals and cannot prevent mass shootings.

APA Citation

DeFillipis, E., & Hughes, D. (2016). 5 arguments against gun control—and why they are all wrong. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/ opinion/op-ed/la-oe-defilippis-hughes-gun-myths-debunked-20160708-snap-story

7th Edition MLA Citation

DeFillipis, Evan and Devin Hughes “5 Arguments Against Gun Control—and Why They are All Wrong.” LATimes.com. Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

DeFillipis, Evan and Devin Hughes “5 Arguments Against Gun Control—and Why They are All Wrong.” Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2016, www.latimes.com/ opinion/op-ed/la-oe-defilippis-hughes-gun-myths-debunked-20160708-snap-story. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Anti-gun control article #2: Gun control isn’t the answer

Wilson, an author of several books about crime and a teaching fellow at Pepperdine University, asks an interesting question: how could or would we ever get rid of the hundreds of millions of guns that already exist in the United States?

He takes the stance that banning firearms is pointless, that “the genie is out of the bottle.” He discounts the debate—driven by the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred just before he wrote the article—as being driven by election politics and, therefore, insincere. Though this source is a bit older, it still raises a valid question.

APA Citation

Wilson, J. Q. (2007, April 20). Gun control isn’t the answer. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved fromhttp://www.latimes.com/la-oe-wilson20apr20-story.html

7th Edition MLA Citation

Wilson, James Q. “Gun Control Isn’t the Answer.” LATimes.com. Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2007. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Wilson, James Q. “Gun Control Isn’t the Answer.” Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2007, www.latimes.com/la-oe-wilson20apr20-story.html. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Anti-gun control article #3: Why Gun Owners are Right to Fight Against Gun Control

Hardy argues that sweeping gun control legislation proposed by the anti-gun lobby leaves no room for compromise. He then does a U-turn and complains about the slippery-slope nature of bans on one kind of weapon, such as assault weapons or sniper rifles, leading slowly but surely to total prohibition.

Hardy fears that the gun control lobby is on a crusade to wipe out individual gun ownership altogether.

Hardy is an Arizona attorney and a Second Amendment scholar and writer.

APA Citation

Hardy, D. T. (2013, July 18). Why gun owners are right to fight against gun control. Reason.com. Retrieved from http://www.reason.com/archives/ 2013/07/18/why-second-amendment-supporters-are-righ

7th Edition MLA Citation

Hardy, David T. “Why Gun Owners are Right to Fight Against Gun Control.” Reason.com. Reason Foundation, 18 July 2013. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Hardy, David T. “Why Gun Owners are Right to Fight Against Gun Control.” Reason.com, Reason Foundation, 18 July 2013, reason.com/ archives/2013/07/18/why-second-amendment-supporters-are-righ. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Anti-gun control article #4: ‘American Sniper’ widow: Gun control won’t protect us

This opinion piece discusses one woman’s experience with gun violence and why she believes gun control is not the answer.

Taya Kyle, the writer of this article, is also the author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal. The movie American Sniper was based on her late husband, Chris Kyle.

APA Citation

Kyle, T. (2013, July 18). ‘American Sniper’ widow: Gun control won’t protect us. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/opinions/taya-kyle-gun-control

7th Edition MLA Citation

Kyle, Taya. “‘American Sniper’ Widow: Gun Control Won’t Protect Us.” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 18 July 2013. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Kyle, Taya. “‘American Sniper’ Widow: Gun Control Won’t Protect Us.” CNN, 18 July 2013, www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/opinions/taya-kyle-gun-control. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Anti-gun control article #5: A Criminologist’s Case Against Gun Control

This article includes an interview with James Jacobs, director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law. He is also a professor of constitutional law and the author of Can Gun Control Work?

In this article, Jacobs examines misunderstandings about gun control and examines the effectiveness of various gun control strategies.

APA Citation

Davidson, J. (2015, December 1). A criminologist’s case against gun control. Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/4100408/a-criminologists-case-against-gun-control

7th Edition MLA Citation

Davidson, Jacob. “‘A Criminologist’s Case Against Gun Control.” Time.com. Time Inc., 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Davidson, Jacob. “‘A Criminologist’s Case Against Gun Control.” Time, 1 Dec. 2015, time.com/4100408/a-criminologists-case-against-gun-control. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Anti-gun control article #6: How Gun Control Kills

The author gives examples of incidents of gun violence that were stopped by people carrying guns, arguing that had such people not been on the scene, the results would have been worse.

Hunter is an aide to conservative senator Rand Paul.

APA Citation

Hunter, J. (2012, December 27). How gun control kills. The American Conservative. Retrieved from http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ articles/how-gun-control-kills

7th Edition MLA Citation

Hunter, Jack. “How Gun Control Kills.” The American Conservative. Burr Media Group, 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Hunter, Jack. “How Gun Control Kills.” The American Conservative, Burr Media Group, 27 Dec. 2012, www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-gun-control-kills. Accessed 10 July 2016.

2 Resources About the Gun Control Debate

If you’re looking for articles with more background on the subject, check out these two resources that provide an overview of gun control and a variety of discussions about the topic.

Resource #1: Guns in America

In 2015–2016, the well-respected news source CNN aired a series of programming titled Guns in America. This resource contains both articles and videos about a wide array of gun-related topics, including town-hall meetings, an interview with President Obama, gun violence statistics, interviews with the NRA, a discussion of the gun industry, and segments about guns and police.

The articles and videos are too numerous to cite in this post, but I’ve included one sample to help illustrate how you might cite these resources.

APA Citation

Simon, M., & Sanchez, R. (2015, December 4). U.S. gun violence: The story in charts and graphs. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/ 04/us/gun-violence-graphics/index.html

7th Edition MLA Citation

Simon, Mallory and Ray Sanchez. “U.S. Gun Violence: The Story in Charts and Graphs.” CNN.com. Cable News Network,4 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Simon, Mallory and Ray Sanchez. “U.S. Gun Violence: The Story in Charts and Graphs.” CNN, 4 Dec. 2015, cnn.com/2015/12/04/us/gun-violence-graphics/index.html. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Resource #2: Gun Control Explained

This article, published by the The New York Times, provides broad definitions of gun control, includes arguments both for and against gun control, and even speculates as to why it’s so difficult to solve the debate.

APA Citation

Perez-Pena, R. (2015, October 7). Gun control explained. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/ 07/us/gun-control-explained.html?_r=0

7th Edition MLA Citation

Perez-Pena, Richard. “Gun Control Explained.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company,7 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 July 2016.

8th Edition MLA Citation

Perez-Pena, Richard. “Gun Control Explained.” The New York Times, 7 Oct. 2015, nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/07/us/gun-control-explained.html?_r=0. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Putting it All Together

You can cite these or any of thousands of other gun control articles to buttress your argument. (Read 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper if you need assistance researching more scholarly sources.)

Whichever side of the issue you take, make sure to mention the source, cite it properly (in-text and in your Works Cited or References list), and format direct quotations, summaries, and paraphrases per MLA 7th edition, MLA 8th edition, or APA guidelines.

If you copy the APA or MLA citations I created above, be sure to update the accessed date (10 July 2016) to the date that you accessed the article.

Keep in mind that there will be very, very few sources (including the ones I used above) that are totally objective. Most writers—and most websites—will be catering to an audience. For a fuller list of issues on both sides of the debate, check out these Top Pro & Con Arguments on gun control.

Your job is to filter out the bias and see what value a given person’s argument really has. Some of the most rabid commentators on both sides of the issue actually make good points—you just have to get past all the screaming.

Once you’re ready to start writing, check out these sample essays on gun control for some ideas on how to put your paper together.

If you need help with writing your essay, read How to Write a Research Paper: a Step-by-Step Guide. Need help with overall formatting according to the style guide you’re using? Give these resources a try:

When you’re finished drafting your argument, don’t forget to have an editor proofread your essay for you.

Good luck!

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Final Paper: Argument Against Gun Control

The argument on firearm regulation has been a heated discussion for many years. On one side of the debate, we have people in favor placing restrictions on guns, while, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have people fighting the regulation of guns. People in favor gun restrictions believe gun control can reduce crime ,while, the people against gun control believe having the right to bear arms is an effective crime deterrent. I believe that every law abiding citizen should be able to carry a gun and defend themselves against people who intend to harm them.Gun control laws are simply ineffective and they have an adverse effect on crime. Instead of reducing crime, gun control laws just simply take guns out the hands of good people and puts the guns into the hands of the bad guys.

Gun control laws do not deter criminals from possessing firearms. Whether or not there’s a law restricting gun use, criminal will always find a way to get a gun because criminals are less likely to obey laws. That’s why they are called “criminals”. Also there’s no law that can stop the supply and demand of the illegal arms trade. If there’s money to be made in the black market, someone will profit from it. Criminals can easily obtain a gun through the black market. An unnamed felon was quoted, “There’s guns everywhere. If you got the money you, can get a gun.” If a criminal wanted to get a gun,they are not likely to walk into a store to buy one. Therefore, they could care less whether they had a background check or not. No law can stop criminals from arming themselves to protect themselves. Most criminals have lots of enemies and they rather get caught with a gun than get caught without one. (Stossel).

The more gun control rules and regulations there are, the happier the criminals will be, for they know the more gun laws there are the less chance they have of having a crime victim defend themselves with a lawfully-owned firearm. In many right to carry states, crime statistics are lower than the states with gun laws. The reason why is because guns are used more defensively than criminally. Criminals are usually rolling the dice when they are targeting law abiding citizens in right to carry states. (Polsby) Criminals do not fear the police or other authorities. What they fear most is the citizens who might be potentially armed. It makes it harder for criminals because they do not know what to expect from them if they’re planning to rob them. They’re either fortunate to have an unarmed victim or they become a victim with a citizen that is ready to shoot and defend their families. (Stossel).

Gun control laws only affect the citizens who follow the law. The law does not apply to the criminals. Regardless if theres a gun ban or not, criminals will find a way to obtain guns. The gun laws have no way in curtailing the illegal arms trade. In Chicago, handguns are not for sale legally. Only shotguns, rifles and ammunition can be bought with people with a Firearm Owners Identification Card. The Chicago area is one of the most difficult places to legally obtain a gun.

In order to get a gun license, people have to go through a background check and wait up to a month to legally carry a weapon.(Polsby). While it is difficult to legally possess a gun, it is way more easier to illegally carry a gun in Chicago. There are thousands of unregistered firearms in the streets with thousands more coming in every month. Banning the sale handguns in Chicago makes no difference as well too. People can go elsewhere to buy a gun. They can go out of town or even out of state to buy a gun with Indiana and Wisconsin in close proximity.(Moorhouse and Warner).

Another example why gun control law are ineffective is the staggering increase in crime in England since they imposed a ban on guns. In 1997, England passed a ban on all guns, which makes it illegal for all citizens to carry guns. England’s gun sanctions made it one of the most strictest law in the world. The new law only created an illusion of the country being more safer. Instead of reducing crime, the law put it’s citizens at the mercy of criminals who are well assured that their would be victims are unarmed and defenseless. In the two years after the law was enacted, gun related crimes increased to 40% and armed robberies rose to 53%. From 1997 to 2001, violent crimes more than doubled. People are six times more likely to be robbed at gunpoint in London compared to New York. In the United States, the occurrence of home burglaries is 13% because the majority of burglars fear armed homeowners more than they fear the law. England’s burglary statistics are 5 times higher compared to the United States at 55%. England’s gun ban created the unintended consequences of lawlessness in the streets, as well as, it did not stop criminals from possessing guns and committing crimes. (Malcolm)

Even in the United states where states and cities that passed strict gun laws have found them to be ineffective. The places where gun control laws are the most strictest are places that have the most crimes are committed with firearms.(Piquero). Of the 15 states that have the highest homicide rates, 10 have very restrictive gun laws. New York, for example, has one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation has 20 percent of the nations total of armed robberies. Another example, Washington D.C., since guns were banned in 1976 the murder rate has risen 200 percent. In Chicago, the city consistently had one of the highest homicide rates in the nation since they enacted a ban on gun in 1982. In May 2010, a month before the Supreme Court overturned the ban, Chicago already had 113 homicides for the year.(Piquero).

Since gun restriction laws were repealed by the Supreme court in 2010, Chicago and Washington D.C. received significantly lower crime rates. The murder rate in Chicago in the first six months of 2011 is 14% lower than the first six months of 2010. This is the first significant drop in the murder rate since gun sanctions were first passed in 1982. In 2008, the Supreme Court lifted the gun ban in D.C. in the case of the District of Columbia vs. Heller. Since the gun ban was repealed, the murder rate in D.C. has dropped 35% from 2008-2010. The rate of assault with weapons decreased by 37% and armed robberies fell as well too by 25% (Lott). These statistics further prove how ineffective gun control laws are. Not only they do not work in reducing crime they create adverse effects on crime. Instead, they make the problems worst.

I believe that the right to bear arms is an unalienable right and I don’t believe that government have that right to take it away. I feel that all citizens have the right to protect themselves and their families. Gun laws restricting the use of guns does not help law abiding citizens. These laws only take away the ability of each citizens to defend themselves and makes us helpless against criminals. Gun control only creates an illusion that a society is safer and it does not solve the root cause crime. One cannot solve the crime problem by just simply taking away guns.

The crime problem goes way deeper than just guns. Criminals will find a way to get guns regardless if theres a strict law or not . Most criminals are opportunist and having a strict gun law only gives them the opportunity to commit more crime with less worry about that person being armed. I believe that there is other ways to fight crime, however, I don’t believe gun control is the answer to making our world a safer place.

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