Nolan N. California

The Pragmatic Perspective

Gun control is no longer a question of if, but how much. A hard-line approach to the matter that incorporates the ideologies of both of the nation's political parties may be the direction that we must head into in order to preserve the well-being of all U.S. citizens.

Dear Future President,

Our nation has changed in many different ways since our Founding Fathers wrote the United States Constitution. They especially would never have predicted the extreme controversy that has risen due to the development of modern firearms. The second amendment of the U.S. specifically states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But in this modern day era, the control of our government over civilian firearms is not a question of if, but instead a question of how much. With news of public shootings almost seeming like regular news at this point in time, it is clear that something has to change. I have sent this letter to you in order to discuss the ambiguous ethical nature of gun control laws as well as a potential solution to this complex issue.

The more conservative approach to this matter is the belief that government should wholly respect the second amendment, and provide as much freedom to gun-ownership in the United States as possible. The reasons for this way of thinking span from simple respect to the Constitution, purposes of self-defense, and for the inconsistency of gun laws. The second amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees American citizens that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," which clearly has been violated by our government due to the development of modern firearms. The U.S. Justice Department states that self-defense with guns occurs about 110,000 times a year, which is certainly the basis for a sound argument. Finally, members of the conservative party reject government intervention in possession of firearms because the result is often inconsistent, as demonstrated by laws such as the Californian 1989 ban, which was actually then saw an increase in homicide via firearm.

On the other hand, the liberal belief holds that government needs to tighten its grip over the flow and use of firearms throughout the nation. Those who call for an increase in the potency of gun laws point out that the U.S. has an abnormally high homicide rate, how guns are not very effective at self-defense, and that gun laws still have a chance of reducing gun-related homicides. According to Humanosphere, of all first world nations, The United States has three times the number of all-around homicides than the second leading first world nation, Finland, and seven times the number of gun related homicides than the country that the follows it for second place in that category, Portugal. Next, it is often highlighted that the scenarios in which guns are actually useful are quite limited, as carrying a gun in public is both suspicious and inconvenient, and the ability to actually properly retrieve and use a gun in a public or private settings is quite limited due to environmental and time constrictions. Finally, the existence of gun restrictions that have worked means to some that they should still be passed, such as the success of the Maryland’s “junk gun” ban.

Having presented both sides of the issue, it is clear that both sides do have relevant points, even if there are simultaneously flaws in these popular arguments as well. If I appeared biased towards either side in my description of the two cases, I apologize because that was not my intent. Back to the topic, a solution would have to address both the freedoms to us guaranteed in the Constitution but also preserve public safety at the same time, and I humbly believe that the plan I shall propose does not have to greatly sacrifice our liberty, while improving public safety. However, it is clear that regardless of one’s political affiliation, something has to be done to mitigate the number of gun-related homicides within the U.S., as the extremely gradual rate in which they are decreasing is simply not quick enough. Limitations on the firearm magazine sizes sold to the public will reduce the potential number of people that can be injured by an active shooter, while those who are looking for self defense should still be able to defend themselves, all the while increasing the penalties for gun-related crimes to discourage any violent crimes. The maximum size of these magazines may need a little bit of research to be determined effectively, a semi-arbitrary number were to be selected that would seem logical would be six rounds per magazine. While this may all be conjecture, I believe that what I propose is at the least, logically sound.

The first part of the reasoning behind this decision comes from a basic understanding how firearms. Regardless of how many guns an active shooter has on them, reducing the size of magazines, therefore reducing the amount of shots someone they can fire before being forced to reload. This will cause future shooters that use legally sold weaponry to either have increased downtime in which they are incapable of harming anybody, or making the shooter have to carry more guns, which will weigh them down considerably. Regardless of the scenario that arises, this will most likely reduce the amount of people who are injured or killed in mass shootings, which is always a good result.

Of course, there then arises the issue of people use firearms to defend themselves from others with malicious intent. However, this is significantly less of a concern than it actually appears at first. This is mainly because in self-defense, one of the strongest aspects of possessing a gun is the shock and fear that it can inspire in an aggressor. It would be a reasonable conclusion that most of the time, the simple presence of a firearm discourages any further potential attacks. However, even in the unlikely occurrence that the criminal still attempts any malicious acts, anyone who would not be able to hit a target with six attempts or less, it would seem that the person is not responsible enough to handle a firearm in the first place, and would have been better off fleeing and/or alerting the authorities immediately.

To top it all off, harsher penalties should be dealt for gun-related crimes. This is in order to address the non-legal side of firearm sale and usage. Penalties for crimes that involve illegally obtained guns should be amplified by a large factor, which will deter the purchase of any firearms that break the government-defined protocol. The reason why these punishments should be so excessive is that the maximum reasonable penalties should be given so that any mentally stable person should be intimidated from committing homicide to any extent at all. Unfortunately, such a hard-line approach seems like the only way counter the proliferation of illegal firearm possession, especially in mass shootings.

The United States prides itself in being a land of freedom, yet at the same time promoting safety and equality for all. When it comes to human lives though, as little risk has to be taken as possible, and as such gun magazine sizes should be reduced, and penalties for gun-related crimes should be amplified. Sometimes, when everything has been done to resolve an issue and still nothing has changed, the most extreme solution has to be taken-especially in order to preserve the well-being and security of every citizen of our country.


Nolan N.

Newbury Park High School

English 11IB period 2B

High school English IB course

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