Top Pro & Con Arguments
Gun control laws are discriminatory and infringe on citizens’ rights
Current gun control laws are frequently aimed at inner city, poor, black communities who are perceived as more dangerous than white gun owners. Charles Gallagher, Chair of Sociology at LaSalle University, stated that some gun control laws are still founded on racial fears: “Whites walking down Main Street with an AK-47 are defenders of American values; a black man doing the same thing is Public Enemy No. 1.”
In the late 1960s, gun control laws were enacted in reaction to the militant, gun-carrying Black Panthers. Adam Winkler, UCLA Constitutional Law Professor, stated “The KKK began as a gun-control organization. Before the Civil War, blacks were never allowed to own guns” so, after the Civil War, there was “constant pressure among white racists to keep guns out of the hands of African Americans because they would rise up and revolt.” For example, in Virginia, in response to Nat Turner’s Rebellion (also called the Southampton Rebellion, in which enslaved people killed 55 to 65 people in the most fatal slave uprising in the United States) in 1831, a law was passed that prohibited free black people “to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead and all laws allowing free black people to possess firearms were repealed.
Background checks and micro-stamping are an invasion of privacy. Background checks require government databases that keep personal individual information on gun owners, including name, addresses, mental health history, criminal records, and more. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) worried that Senator Harry Reid’s 2013 proposed background check legislation (the bill failed 54-46) would have allowed the government to keep databases of gun purchases indefinitely, creating a “worry that you’re going to see searches of the databases and an expansion for purposes that were not intended when the information was collected.” Micro-stamping similarly requires a database of gun owners and the codes their personal guns would stamp on cartridge cases. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote that they would oppose any legislation that infringes “on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance.”
Gun control laws infringe upon the right to self-defense and deny people a sense of safety. The police cannot protect everyone all of the time. 61% of men and 56% of women surveyed by Pew Research said that stricter gun laws would “make it more difficult for people to protect their homes and families.” Nelson Lund, Professor at George Mason University School of Law, stated, “The right to self-defense and to the means of defending oneself is a basic natural right that grows out of the right to life” and “many [gun control laws] interfere with the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against violent criminals.” A Pew Foundation report found that 79% of male gun owners and 80% of female gun owners said owning a gun made them feel safer and 64% of people living in a home in which someone else owns a gun felt safer. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein, a gun control advocate, carried a concealed gun when her life was threatened and her home attacked by the New World Liberation Front in the 1970s.
Gun control laws, especially those that try to ban “assault weapons,” infringe upon the right to own guns for hunting and sport. In 2011, there were 13.7 million hunters 16 years old or older in the United States, High-powered semiautomatic rifles and shotguns are used to hunt and in target shooting tournaments each year. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “So-called ‘Assault weapons’ are more often than not less powerful than other hunting rifles. The term ‘assault weapon’ was conjured up by anti-gun legislators to scare voters into thinking these firearms are something out of a horror movie… [T]he Colt AR-15 and Springfield M1A, both labeled ‘assault weapons,’ are the rifles most used for marksmanship competitions in the United States. And their cartridges are standard hunting calibers, useful for game up to and including deer.” According to a Feb. 2013 Pew Research report, 32% of gun owners owned guns for hunting and 7% owned guns for target or sport shooting.Read More