Crime or Criminal Justice
More Guns Won’t Make Us Safer
Over the last decade, the United States has witnessed an increasing number of gun-related violence, which has prompted the need for stricter gun control measures. In his article, ‘More guns won’t make us safer’, Rob Tindula produces a logical and, at times, an emotive argument that the pervasive distribution of guns will not improve self-defence but increase the incidence of gun violence in the country. The article was published in The Huffington Post on 13th November 2015 CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula). It was written for Americans, especially pro-gun rights advocates fighting gun control measures.
The author argues that it is difficult to tell a good gun owner from a bad owner. He puts forward his argument using adjectives such as ‘almost impossible’ and ‘very idealistic’ to convince the reader that one cannot tell a good person from a bad person. He also exaggerates when he says that almost anyone can own a firearm with the current system. He tries to persuade his readers by using the statistical evidence that out of 148 million firearm applicants, only 1.6% have been denied permits CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula). This way he makes them believe that anyone without prior felony conviction can legally acquire a gun regardless of their intentions. In this argument, the writer assumes that anyone with bad intentions will always acquire a gun to fulfil them, and the law is so incompetent to identify a potential gun violence perpetrator.
Next, he argues that legally acquired weapons are not well stored from potential perpetrators. The repetition of ‘legally acquired’ puts emphasis on the fact that due process has been followed to get them. The goal is to convince the reader that the government is promoting self-harm and harm to others by giving its citizens guns. He again uses statistical evidence by referring to a study on the storage patterns of firearms which found that 55% of firearm owners did not lock their firearm stores CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula). The adjective ‘alarming’ and the negative connotation used persuades the reader to believe that if more guns are given, they will not be stored properly and more people will fall victim of gun violence. He refers to the evidence that 68% of school attackers get guns from their homes or a relative, and more legally acquired guns are lost through theft than denied applications for guns CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula). The writer is persuading enough because these examples manage to convince the writer to believe that more guns will escalate the problem by exposing more people to gun violence.
The writer dismissed the notion that guns are used at home for protection. On the contrary, he notes that 76.6% of homicide victims were murdered by a relative or someone who knew them CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula). In addition to the statistical evidence used in this argument, the writer also assumes an ironic tone by when he claims that we focus on preventing unwanted entry into our homes when the real threat to our security if actually within our houses. He goes ahead to give statistical evidence from the CDC that Americans are twice as likely to commit suicide using a gun than commit a homicide using the same firearm CITATION Cox15 l 2057 (Cox). The writer ends his argument by noting that guns are rarely used as a defensive tool and more often to inflict self-harm. The writer, therefore, appeals to the sense of the need to abolish the distribution of guns.
While acknowledging that firearms can be in the possession of the ‘correct hand’, the author refuses to rule out the possibility of something bad happening. ‘The correct hand’ in this case is a metaphor meaning a licensed owner or a police officer. He then uses a negative connotation when he says, ‘…seemingly innocuous situation into something deadly CITATION Tin15 l 2057 (Tindula).’ The writer uses an emotive language when he narrates the story of two unarmed teenagers who were stopped in traffic, shot and killed by the same police officers with guns that were supposed to protect them CITATION Mar15 l 2057 (Marans). The writer achieves persuasion due to several reasons. Firstly, the metaphor ‘correct hands’ clearly brings out the argument that a firearm in the hands of a police officer does not rule out the danger. The negative connotation explains the gravity of what policemen can do with guns. Finally, the emotive language makes the reader relate to the situation and encourages him/her to believe the writer.
Finally, the writer argues by providing evidence that enforcing strict gun restrictions reduce the incidence of gun violence. He gives examples from the UK and states in the United States, which saw a drop in gun related deaths and homicides after they enacted stricter restrictions. In the end, the use of inclusive word ‘we’ is persuasive because it makes the reader get on the writers side.
The writer’s main contention was that increased distribution of guns will not improve self-defence, but increase gun-related violence. The writer employed various persuasive techniques to convince the reader to believe his argument. He used adjectives and exaggerations to persuade the readers that a good guy with a gun is no different from a bad guy with a gun. He also used statistical evidence on more than one occasion to support his argument. He used negative connotations and appeals, which I think worked best in this article because they could convince a reader to agree with his point of view.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Cox, Elaine. Ending the Epidemic of Youth Gun Violence. 19 October 2015. 21 November 2015 <http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/10/19/ending-the-epidemic-of-youth-gun-violence>.
Marans, Daniel. An Unarmed Teen Flashed His Brights At A Cop And Ended Up Dead. 15 October 2015. 21 November 2015 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/teen-flashed-brights-dead-family-lawsuit_5620005ce4b028dd7ea73d53?section=india&adsSiteOverride=in>.
Tindula, Rob. More Guns Won’t Make Us Safer. 13 November 2015. 21 November 2015 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-tindula/more-guns-wont-make-us-safer_b_8548084.html?utm_hp_ref=second-amendment&ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in>.