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Gun Control Essay Sample

The issue of gun control is a highly sensitive and divisive political issue in the United States. The term “gun politics” not only refers to the opposing ideologies among politicians on civilian gun ownership but also demonstrates how integral the issue of gun control is in politics. On the one hand of the gun politics spectrum are advocates for tougher gun control regulations. Proponents of gun control regulations opine that restricting gun ownership through tougher laws would significantly reduce gun violence in the country. They note that America has the highest number of civilian-owned guns, thus high levels of gun violence. Notably, there are about 393 million civilian-held firearms in the United States, accounting for 46% of all civilian-owned guns in the world (Mencken & Froese, 2019). On the other hand, advocates of gun rights lobby for weaker gun control regulations to encourage gun ownership. Citizens voting patterns are influenced by the candidates’ stand on gun control. Presidents such as Obama and Trump leveraged gun politics to secure political seats.   

The issue of gun control dates back to the country’s history. The debate on gun control is triggered by the desire to protect the nation’s gun culture while upholding and protecting citizens’ right to life. Gun ownership in the US began when the country was still an agrarian society. Owning a gun and having sharpshooting skills was imperative for sourcing food, deterring predators, and partaking in hunting, which was almost like a rite of passage for boys entering manhood (Mencken & Froese, 2019). While acknowledging the importance of firearms in American culture, the nations’ forefathers protected the right to keep and bear arms by ratifying the Constitution's Second Amendment on December 15, 1791 (Mencken & Froese, 2019). The Second Amendment was challenged for the first time in 1822 in Bliss v. Commonwealth. Gun control campaigns intensified in the 1960s, after the assassination of President J.F. Kennedy, Martin L. King, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X, among others. The lobbying led to enacting the Gun Control Act in 1968s that held that only licensed firearms dealers, manufacturers, and importance would engage in firearm transfers (Mencken & Froese, 2019).

Since then, lawmakers have revised policies either to restrict or facilitate gun ownership. The issue of gun control has received support and criticism almost in equal measures. To restate, the concept of gun control is not sensitive but highly divisive. Research conducted by Pew Research affirmed that Americans are highly divided on the issue of gun control. The number of Americans supporting or opposing tougher gun laws keeps fluctuating. For instance, the percentage of Americans who held that gun laws should be stricter was 53% in 2020, down from 60% in 2019 (Schaeffer, 2021). That shows that Americans are divided on whether restricting legal gun ownership would reduce the prevalence of gun violence. Proponents argue that conducting background checks, illegalizing assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and red flag laws would reduce the chances that a firearm is in the chances of a person who poses a threat to themselves or others in the society. By contrast, critics opine that legally owned guns do not cause most incidents of gun violence; thus, limiting ownership would be ineffective (Mencken & Froese, 2019). Americans’ attitudes on gun control differ across party, ethnicity, and race. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support tougher gun control laws. The political divide on the issue has gotten wider in recent years. Lobby groups greatly influence the gun control laws enacted in the United States. Over the years, different interests groups have funded the political parties that advocate for their interests. For instance, the NRA spent over $50 million in the 2016 election to support candidates who protect gun ownership rights (Timmons, 2018). Likewise, other lobby groups support Democrats. 82% of Blacks consider gun violence a big problem, thus advocating for tougher gun control laws; only 39% of White adults hold this sentiment (Shaeffer, 2021). Notably, Americans’ sentiments on gun control seem to influence their experiences depending on the party affiliations, ethnicity, and race.  

A critical analysis of the gun control issue reveals that it is sensitive and highly divisive. Both sides of the debate seem to have supported almost equal measures, with advocates presenting substantial arguments that cannot be ignored. Although the arguments presented by both sides may seem extreme, a critical analysis reveals a common ground. Both sides of the debate acknowledge that life is important and that gun violence has increased with that of gun ownership. While all rights are important, the right to life is superior to bearing and kee

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