Gun Control

March 20, 2017
By Anonymous

In the novella Anthem, Ayn Rand expresses her strong views on the rights of the individual over the group. One of the things she would have a strong opinion on would be gun control.  Although she would side with the individual right to bear arms, she would not be opposed to the government having more laws regarding gun control. In an interview, she said herself that, “A man has a constitutional right to bear arms. But if a man has declared that he intends to murder you, it is not your duty to provide the knife and place it in his hands” (Lawrence). She thinks that people should have the right to bear arms but if you know specific people could be untrustworthy with guns, you should not let them have access to them. There should be more gun control because of the increasing gun deaths per year, the laws surrounding the selling of guns being too lenient in the United States, and the true intention of the Second Amendment.

Guns are the leading cause of death in the United States. America is also the leader in per-capita gun deaths among industrial nations (“Gun Control”). The American gun homicide rate is more that 25 times the average of the other developed countries. Each year, there are approximately 33,000 gun deaths, which comes out to 93 Americans killed with guns everyday. Nearly 62% of those deaths are suicides and the other 38% are homicides (“Gun Violence”). There are also about 200 people that go to hospitals because of guns everyday. Adding more gun control laws will reduce the thousands of people being killed or injured every year. Gun control could also help women who are in abusive relationships. In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by their partner (“Gun Violence”).

It is no surprise that the U.S. has so many guns deaths because the U.S. also leads the world in the most guns per 100 people at 112.6 (Morris). The evidence shows that there are for too many gun deaths, no matter the form, and this should cause the government to reconsider the rights to own a gun. Guns are very dangerous and have clearly killed too many people. About 37% of citizens own a gun or have one in their home and there are approximately 270 million to 310 million guns in the U.S (Desilver). The high percentages in the country are because guns are too easily accessible for too many people.

One of the biggest problems with the current gun control laws is that almost anyone above the age of 18 can buy one. Any person who is at least 18 that wants to buy a gun just has to apply for a license and get approved. The only way they would deny you is if you are not a U.S. citizen, if you have previously committed a serious crime, have a restraining order against anyone, or have a record of using controlled substances. One of former-President Barack Obama’s laws was preventing mentally impaired social security recipients from buying guns. This law was greatly influenced by the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Just recently (Feb 15th, 2017), current President Donald Trump revoked that law and now people with mental illnesses have the right to buy a gun (“Gun Control”). In the Sandy Hook tragedy, the shooter did not buy the guns himself, his mother actually purchased every one of them as well as the ammunition (Hawkins). Even though he did not buy them, he was still able to have access to them because he had them at his house. The point is that there are too many guns in the U.S. and that is why so many criminals and other people have access to them.

Another problem with gun control laws is that guns are too easily accessible. In some places they are sold in common stores like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. But even if someone is denied their license to buy a gun, they can borrow a friend’s or steal it from a family member. If someone really wants a gun, the chances are they will be able to get their hands on one because there are so many out there. More than two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides in the U.S. Many of those people own a gun or can just buy one at the store. But younger people like teenagers that commit suicide could easily steal a gun from their relatives. Gun control laws would limit the possession of guns and would reduce the number of gun deaths. Bush’s 1989 ban on importing assault rifles supports the fact that gun control laws would help. After his ban, the number of imported assault rifles traced to crime dropped 45% (“Gun Control”). It shows that gun control laws can help reduce the number of crimes and deaths related to guns every year.

Many people think they have the right to own a gun because of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “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” (Madison). It was written a very long time ago when things were different and many things have changed since then. In 1787, every state had its own militia which consisted of regular people that served as part-time soldiers. The militias required training, firearms, and military exercises. The militias were also the national guards to protect the state. The authors wrote the Second Amendment so if the federal government’s army ever tried to attack the state for something they did not agree with, the state could defend itself (“Gun Control”). That means that the amendment was only intended for the militias’ right to bear arms. Two hundred and thirty years later, there are no more militias and the law now includes regular citizens that are not going to protect the state from harm. The Second Amendment was not meant for everyone to have the right to have a gun for self-defense and use it whenever they felt necessary.
Some people might say that everyone has the right to bear arms and use self defense in dangerous situations. They might also be against gun control because it denies them the right to hunt and gives too much power to the government. Although this is true, people take advantage of these rights and have made bad decisions because of fear. Statistics show that for every one justifiable gun homicide, there were 34 criminal gun homicides, 78 gun suicides, and two accidental accidents (“Gun Control”). So more often than not, homicides with guns are intentional and not acts of self-defense. Those people also see the laws as an invasion of privacy because of the background checks and microstamping (“Should More Laws Be Enacted?”). The background checks and microstamping are necessary because it increases safety and if the wrong people (criminals, etc) get their hands on guns, it could be very dangerous. Microstamping makes it possible to link cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes to the firearm that fired them (“Microstamping & Ballistics”). Microstamping could be a very positive thing if a crime was committed, and it would be helpful in finding the gun that was used and eventually,  owner. 

Ayn Rand believed in individual rights over the group. Her views are well expressed in Anthem, which is an individual going against the rest of the society and caring about himself. In the novella, Equality says, “Yes, we do care. For the first time do we care about our body. For this wire is as a part of our body, as a vein torn from us, glowing with our blood” (Rand 61). The wire has become a part of him and he does not want it taken away from him. It shows that for the first time in his life, he is focusing on himself and not society. The wire and the light box could represent the gun and the individual feels very strongly about it. They do not want it taken away from them. Although these individualist views are present in Anthem, that is generally not how Rand feels about gun control. Rand has discussed the topic of gun control various times but it seems like she agrees with both sides of the argument. She has said that the government's only task is to “protect man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force” (Lawrence). Rand has also said that “A man has a constitutional right to bear arms. But if a man has declared that he intends to murder you, it is not your duty to provide the knife and place it in his hands” (Lawrence). She is basically saying that people should have the right to bear arms but guns should not be sold to just anyone, they should be checked. Overall, Ayn Rand cares about the safety of the society and of every individual, more than who should or should not be allowed to possess guns.

Because of the high number of gun deaths per year, the current laws surrounding the selling of guns in the U.S. being too lenient, and the true intention of the Second Amendment, there should be more gun control. Gun control has always been a controversial topic and that is why even Ayn Rand weighed in on the topic. There will always be people on both sides of the argument but the numbers do not lie. Too many people are dying everyday as a result of guns. More laws need to be passed to make sure guns do not get into the hands of just anyone.

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