GUN FYI... Gun control paper I got graded last month.

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by SNDP, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. SNDP

    SNDP New Member

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    Argumentative essay with cited sources assignment. Graded A+.

    Are gun control measures helping or hurting our country and individual safety? When I was a teen in the 80s, several things formed my opinions on the matter and caused me to research the actual facts assumptions on the matter. It was one pivotal instance much later in life that prompted me to actually address the cause as somewhat as an activist set on changing people’s opinions when the topic often came up.

    I grew up in Alaska in a very small town. Alaska is a state with rather free gun ownership laws. If you want to buy a pistol or rifle there, you went to the gun store or gun show and bought one. My father however, was firmly anti-gun. We were never allowed to have toy guns, play video games with guns or even own a squirt gun. His experiences in Vietnam caused his opinions of guns to be very extreme. My summers in Alaska were mostly spent outdoors camping for several days or even weeks at a time, never venturing back to town unless we needed food or simply a home cooked meal. Having 20+ hours of daylight a day made for excellent camping.

    Before my first unsupervised camping trip with friends, my father took me aside in the backyard and revealed that he had a pistol. It was a .357 magnum revolver, and he intended to show me how to use it. I was shocked that such an item was even in our house, but even more shocked that at the age of 15 my father was showing me how to load, fire, carry and secure the weapon. He said if I was going to be out camping, it was a tool to take along any other tool like a hammer, knife, shovel or any other type of camping gear. We spent the afternoon shooting holes in cans and stumps and he told me to give it back to him as soon as I was back from camping. He said there are bears , other animals and some people that might make needing the pistol necessary. I already knew that, but knew how to steer clear of most of them. I understood that this pistol was meant for an extreme emergency such as killing a bear if need be, which in Alaska was not a very rare circumstance.

    I joined my friends that evening at one of their homes and we all hiked out to camp a good 5 miles from the nearest road. We set up camp and I noticed my best friend with a large pistol holstered on his hip. I told him I had a pistol too, and one of my other friends mentioned he had one too. That was pretty much the end of the discussion. There was some cursory talk of how many rounds we had, what kinds of pistols we had, but that was pretty much it. We spent almost a week fishing and camping that trip and the subject never came up again. When I look back at pictures of our trips from our sophomore, junior and senior years in high school, it was not unusual to see any one of us with a pistol holstered on our hip. Pistols had no allure, they were tools for an emergency and we all knew how and when to use them. I did notice during those years, several people in the general public carrying pistols too. The rules were essentially that you could not take on into a bank, bar or 7-11 type store. That made sense to me, and seemed to be all the ‘gun control’ that any area should need. When we heard of states enacting gun control measures like waiting periods, or not being able to buy one at all, we thought it was stupid. Obviously convicted criminals or someone in a compromised mental state should not own a firearm, anything beyond that seemed like a joke to us. We joked that gun control was being able to hit what you shoot at. As an EMT in Alaska, I have seen many gunshot wounds and deaths in the ambulance, but it was never considered to be an issue with the gun. It was always a case of self defense, preventing a theft or attack or other situation where I thought “Ya, he deserved it, he was robbing the guy at knife point or gunpoint” or “Well, he was trying to rape her, she shot him, he deserved it”. There were rare occasions of accidental discharge where someone was goofing around and shot themselves in the foot, but I never heard of any cases of a child finding a gun and shooting it or a gun accidentally going off. A gun in a school was unheard of. There were no dangerous bears at school so the thought of taking one to school just seemed silly. We grew up with an attitude of respect toward firearms, and my EMT experience clearly illustrated the damage they could cause. People don’t really fall over dead with a little gasp when they are shot like on TV. In real life, large sections of their body get turned into hamburger and blown off their body. I and the people I knew understood guns were not toys, they remained secured when not in use and never taken out to play with.

    What surprised me was when I went into the army after leaving Alaska. We were of course expected to learn how to fire a rifle and pistol with a certain level of marksmanship. There were many that had never held a firearm and they were a bit pensive or nervous handling the empty firearms when they were first issued. I could not understand what was to be nervous about. It’s just hunk of metal, but there were many that were afraid to even hold a pistol or rifle. They handled it as if merely touching it might cause it to explode. My bunk mate shook so nervously when he aimed his pistol I had to ask him why he was such a mess when he was holding a firearm. He said he’s always just had it engrained in him how dangerous they were, how scary they were, how bad they were. He said he heard all these stories of how they just “go off” and kill people. I was shocked, here was a grown man genuinely afraid of something he had 100% control over. I explained with a little more tact than the drills how it was simply impossible for a firearm to “go off” by itself and he eventually became more secure when qualifying with the pistol and rifle.

    My experience with my bunk mate in the army illustrated to me just how the anti-gun media and lobby has caused an irrational fear of firearms and used it to manipulate legislation against legal firearm ownership. It was his type of fear that illustrated the effect of misinformation, hysteria and fear mongering in furthering a movement against a right that was clearly protected in our country’s constitution. To me at the time it wasn’t a constitutional issue, it was a “what if I am afraid of getting eaten by a bear?” issue. Subsequently moving to states where there was a waiting period or complete ban on pistol ownership seemed truly illogical to me. It is just a tool that does what it’s owner directs it to, what’s the big deal? More people get killed by cars accidentally each day than firearms, yet there’s no debate on whether or not they should be legal or freely available.

    In addition to purely anecdotal evidence, there is a lot of data supporting the fact that more firearm restriction actually causes an increase in gun related violence. Virginia tech had a firearm ban, and that clearly had no effect. It is already illegal to kill someone, so why would making it harder for law abiding people to protect themselves be a logical? You can get jailed for life or even a death penalty for shooting someone, what punishment could be worse than that? It makes no sense to me punishing a normally law abiding citizen to wait for a purchase or not allow them to carry their firearm when using it to kill someone, in the end, already has the most severe punishment our country can offer. This threat of death or life imprisonment hasn’t stopped the large number of gun related murders that keep happening, so how would a lower sentence for something related to improper gun ownership have any effect at all?

    There have been many highly publicized incidents of mass public shootings. VT, Columbine and more recently a missionary center in Colorado have recently had mass public shootings It was of course illegal to kill at all of those places, and the laws meant nothing to the shooters. At trolley square and the missionary center though, citizens legally carrying concealed weapons stopped additional killing by killing the shooter. Even more locally, student Kidus Yohannes at UVSC was stopped from what in all certainty was going to be a mass shooting when the police were tipped off about his behavior. Clearly the threat of being arrested for the shooting had no effect on thwarting his plans, but fortunately in Utah there would have likely been an armed citizen on campus that could have helped.

    The unfortunate problem is that strict gun laws do not really affect criminals. They are already criminals, and law-abiding people are the only ones affected by not being able to legally protect themselves. Adding to the problem is that gun sale laws only apply to retail dealers. It is perfectly legal in Utah to sell a gun to someone if you are not a gun dealer. Criminals know this and simply buy from private parties. The only potential person affected by limiting gun store sales are those trying to keep their business above the counter, traceable and as legal as they possible can. In Washington DC for example, there is an outright ban on pistol ownership except for police or certain people approved by the government. If this was effective then related murders should be zero, but in fact the opposite is true. In 1976 Washington D.C. enacted strict gun control laws. Subsequently, the FBI has reported their gun murder rate has increased 134% through 1996 while the rest of the country’s rate dropped. ( FBI unified crime report, 1997 )

    Maryland claims to have the toughest gun control laws in the country, yet they have the highest rate of robberies in the country, and the 4th highest rate of murder in the country. ( FBI unified crime report, 2000, Pg. 79 )
    Utah on the other hand, has very free gun laws. You can go to any number of stores here, lay cash on the counter and leave in 15 minutes with a firearm if your background check comes up clean. Utah enjoys a very low rate of gun violence. In fact states that pass right-to-carry concealed legislation have lower rates of public shootings. (Lott and Landes "Multiple Victim Public Shootings").

    While the well-publicized shooting tragedies are of course something we would like to prevent, restrictive gun laws simply do not have that effect. What would have a much better effect and make these isolated mass shootings even more isolated is a movement to make responsible gun ownership and training more available to the public, not less. By making the facts of how gun ownership prevents crime available, we can remove the stigma that is being perpetuated falsely about guns and prevent needless loss of life.

    Works Cited
    FBI Unified Crime Report (UCR) for 1997
    FBI Unified Crime Report (UCR) for 2000, Pg. 79 Table 5, “Index of Crime by State”.
    Lott, John R. and Landes, William M., "Multiple Victim Public Shootings" (October 19, 2000). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=272929
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  2. clarus

    clarus OT Supporter

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    allthatshit.jpg

    The UCR is a cool resource though.
     
  3. attomica

    attomica Active Member

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    Very nice composition. You deserve your grade.
     
  4. MrSlappyPants

    MrSlappyPants New Member

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    Your composition is well thought out, and clearly voices your views in a well constructed manner. :bigthumb: However, it is also strewn with grammatical errors throughout, and doesn't always flow well. :o

    Perhaps you struck a chord with the professor, the professor is not fully reading the essays, or the professor may even be unqualified for his position, because it really is not an "A+" composition.

    However, I don't want to turn a "WMD" thread into an "OT Tutoring" thread (or even a flame war...) so either way, well done on voicing your opinion, and congrats on the grade. :bigthumb:
     
  5. SNDP

    SNDP New Member

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    that's actually the second to the last draft, I cannot find the final one I uploaded to the professor. I did make a few grammatical and repetitive corrections, but it was 99% the same
     
  6. jonny427

    jonny427 Scooby Doo OT Supporter

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    Great essay man, I read it start to finish :big grin:
     
  7. Dumbstixlars

    Dumbstixlars Ron Paul/AR-15/Glock/old car/Scooby/R/C croo OT Supporter

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    That was really good. I liked it! :bigthumb:
     

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