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Stricter Gun Control This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Did you know that all handguns are semi-automatic? This means that all that stands between you and death is the pull of a trigger. Limited access to handguns would decrease violence, as has been proven in the past by numerous laws. In addition, the mass killings that throw a blanket of loss and sorrow upon our nation can only be done with guns.

The opposing argument – that the Second Amendment applies and gives us the right to possess guns – is not supported with evidence, and is plain hogwash. When the amendment was adopted in 1791, the general public made up the militia to which the amendment refers. By this definition, only the military and other state security groups, such as the National Guard, should possess the right to bear arms.

Many including Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair, believe that “America needs to repeal the Second Amendment.” Those who do not support gun control believe the solution is to allow everyone to have guns for self-defense. Consider, though, how many brawls break out every day. If everyone has a gun, these fights might not end with just concussions and black eyes; more people would die. On the other side of the argument, with more sensible ­reasons, gun control advocates believe firearms should be taken away from the mentally ill and criminals. The endless debating, conflicts and deaths caused by guns is why my state of Michigan should limit access to handguns.

Quite simply, guns cause violence and death. Even though the U.S. populates only five percent of the world, we own almost 50 percent of civilian guns worldwide. Gun control laws help keep the public safe from heavy artillery weapons. Although the laws in place should be stricter, there is sufficient proof that they succeed in protecting the public. According to the Macmillan Social Science ­Library, the 1994 Brady Law, which required background checks and a five-day waiting period for all handgun sales, prompted a ­drastic decline in violence. Aggravated assaults involving guns dropped 12.4 ­percent, violent crimes from guns decreased by 35 percent, and more than 500,000 convicted felons were prevented from purchasing firearms. After the 1989 ban on importing assault rifles, the number of rifles used in homicides fell by 45 percent the very next year!

The number of people affected by gun violence in America is devastating. Their slogan perfectly summarizes the need for stricter gun control laws. “There are too many victims of gun violence because we make it too easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons in America.” Their research showed that in 2011, one-fifth of the 100,000 people shot in the United States were children and teens. Currently, background checks do not ­include charges in non-criminal offenses such as domestic violence and mental health. Creating stricter gun control laws would keep guns away from those who may become violent with the possession of a dangerous weapon.

Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Columbine. These mass shootings were all performed with semi-automatic handguns. The shooters had psychological issues. In addition, there have been 70 mass shootings since the attempted assassination of Senator Gifford two years ago. In fact, disputes involving guns have become more and more frequent.

Other devastating outcomes can result from the ­severe trauma of a shooting. In Houston, Texas, several people had cardiac arrests from the stress of a shooting situation. Another consequence is the very grave ­incidents of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The victims of the Columbine incident had reactions after the killing at Sandy Hook. After a near-death experience, and likely physical injuries, victims are also hindered by psychological issues.

The most important and core democratic value, the right to life, has been violated by loose, lethargic gun-control laws. Since this core democratic value is a right we all possess, each person has the right to the protection of his or her life. Guns endanger lives and deprive us of the first natural right listed in the Declaration of Independence. “We … are endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Guns have compromised this right to life, and have also deprived us of feeling safe and secure.

As John F. Kennedy put it, “Change is the law of life.” It is time we changed the laws that made it possible for 20 first-graders to die. We must make it much more difficult for anyone with an untreated mental illness, or someone who has been in prison, to buy a gun. Many others are affected by the effects of these mass shootings including those who have lost loved ones. Even if those killed are not our acquaintances, our spirits are struck by a brutal blow. After the killing of five- and six-year-old children, we cannot help but think: What if? What would their lives have been like? What will they never experience? This is why we must limit access to handguns and make stricter gun-control laws, in the state of Michigan, and the rest of the country.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 52 comments. Post your own!

Rich7553 said...
May 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm:
This article is riddled with so many factual errors, it can qualify as fiction. The author should have consulted with someone who was famliar with firearms. He also should have used independent sources instead of those slanted to an anti-gun ideology.
SarahK replied...
Jun. 8, 2013 at 8:08 pm :
The writer could be a girl, you know! So instead of "he", you should have used "they".
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eccho said...
May 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm:
Did you know if you choose to do nothing to ensure your own self protection the only thing standing between you're safety and being robbed, raped, beaten, or killed is a criminals lack of motivation to try to hurt you?   Up to 2.5 million people use guns to defend themselves every year. We have 315 million people, and about 300 million guns, and our gun sales are going nowhere but up. Our violent crime, including murders, are at HISTORIC lows. If you don't like guns, fine, you don&#... (more »)
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DavidT said...
May 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm:
The argument that guns cause violence is false to the core. For this to be true there could have been no violence prior to the invention of firearms. It would also have to mean that no violence could occur without firearms present, proven false by many events in recent history ( British soldier hacked to death). It is the same as saying that spoons cause obesity, pencils cause misspelling amd cars cause drunl driving. Inanimate objects cause nothing and are merely tools to be used at the will of... (more »)
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void * said...
May 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm:
I did not know that all handguns are semi-automatic. I did not know this because it is not actually true. The argument that the second amendment applies is not "plain hogwash" and is supported by Supreme Court rulings such as DC vs. Heller. This posting is intended as constructive criticism - if you are going to write an article, please be accurate. Thanks.
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economist said...
May 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm:
How do you keep someone from buying a gun from a drug dealer?  How does a 100 pound woman protect herself from a 180 pound rapist without a gun?  How does a 65 year old defend himself from a 23 year old parolee who just spent 4 years in prison lifting weights?  With no guns, society reverts back to rule by the strongest.  
Kels replied...
Jun. 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm :
Whoever posted on May 23 was obviously the same person posting repeatedly. You used the same phrases, many of which I disagree with. When I googled if "all handguns are semiautomatic?", several sources said "yes". Including a very trusting source, Opposing Viewpoints.
ASCLEPIUS replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm :
Yeah? Well I wiki'd "single action revolver" and wiki beats google.
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Vidarr said...
May 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm:
The writing technique isn't bad. However, the author really did not do any in-depth research.  For starters, the militia of the 18th century was composed of citizens, not employees of the government (such as the National Guard).  The National Guard was created to replace the purpose of the militia in the 19th century as it became difficult to get folks to live up to their obligations as citizens (like jury duty is today).   More importantly, The Second Amendment reads (as ... (more »)
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cgiven said...
May 23, 2013 at 11:00 am:
Although I support your right to make an arguement, that arguement should be based on facts, not falsehoods.  1-Not all handguns are semi-automatic.  There are many single shot hunting handguns and revolvers are not classified as semi-automatic.  2-Increasing access to handguns decreases violence while every gun control law passed has seen an increase in crime in the jurisdiction where it takes effect.  That is why those areas with the strictest gun laws have the highest crim... (more »)
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Ryan said...
Mar. 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm:
Excellent writing!  I can't say I agree with all of your points, but I do agree with most of them and you have obviously done your reserach.  Very well constructed arguments.  Good job!
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relalami said...
Mar. 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm:
Uhnny1990, I am very impressed with your writing. Your essay is thoughtful and you make a convincing argument. Keep up the good work! Rayhan - High School Social Studies
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