My 14 year old daughter, M3, video recorded a persuasive speech in favor of Gun Control for her online 9th Grade English class. I liked it a lot, masha’Allah, so I reproduce it here. ~ AJ
Hi, my name is [MJ] and today I will be talking to you about why I support gun control.
On April 16, 2007, a senior at Virginia Tech named Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on the campus before committing suicide.
On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. 12 people were killed and 58 others were injured.
Most recently, on December 14, 2012, a man named Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
These are only a few of mass shootings that have occurred recently in the past and have sparked debate about the controversial topic of gun control. Every year, approximately 100,000 Americans fall victim to gun violence. Although I do not believe guns should be completely banned, I do believe it is our duty as Americans to make our country safer by limiting the buying and selling of guns, restricting ammunition magazine’s sizes, and stating other measures. I believe this will prevent these violent massacres from occurring.
Americans own an estimated total of 270 million firearms, which means approximately 90% of the population possess a firearm. And according to statistics, living in a home where there is a gun increases the risk of homicide by 40% to 170%. This shows that people who have the availability of a gun in their house almost have a 4 times greater chance of doing homicide than people who do not possess a gun. Another study conducted by the U.S Secret Service of 37 school shootings in 26 different states has also revealed that in nearly two-thirds of the incidents, the attacker got the gun from his or her own home or of that of a relative. People may want to possess guns for self-defense and recreation, but it also increases the chances of homicide.
“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.”
You may have heard of this famous Second Amendment of the U.S Constitution, famously known as the right to bear arms. Many Anti-Gun control activists such as the National Rifle Association use this amendment to state that gun control is violating their inherited rights given to them by the U.S Constitution. But the 2nd amendment does not state that people should be allowed, without any restriction, to buy and sell large military style automatic rifles such as those recently used in multiple mass shootings. These guns are not only for defense purposes, but can be used to kill many people easily.
In 1994 the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was passed. Commonly referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban, this bill banned the possession, manufacturing, and importation of new semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use. Before this bill was passed, studies show that large capacity magazines were involved in 14 to 26% of gun crimes, as compared to assault weapons which accounted for 6% of crimes.
This bill helped reduce the amount of large capacity magazines being used in mass shootings. For example, when the bill was passed and the ban was in effect, the Virginia State Police experienced a steady decline in the number of firearms with large capacity magazines used in crimes, reaching a low 10% in 2004. Since the bill was in effect for only 10 years, in 2005 Congress failed to renew the ban and the number increased. By 2010, nearly 22% of guns recovered in crimes had large capacity magazines.
Many people also argue we need to understand the psychology of the killer. People believe that if we can understand the mind of the mass murderers, we can prevent the mass murders from happening. But we have to accept that there will always be psychopaths living undetected amidst our population. No matter the causes of why the killer did what he did, the problem we have to focus on now is how to prevent and limit these killers from accessing firearms and large amounts of ammunition.
Some anti-gun control activists also argue that laws forbidding the carrying of arms will disarm only those who are law-abiders and will make things easier for the assailants who will anyways be determined to break the law. The world is not perfect, and neither can it ever be. There will always be killers lurking in our midst, and if we can never completely ban guns, because guns will never fail to exist. I’m not saying that we ban guns, because then nobody will be able to defend themselves if they are being assaulted. We need to limit ammunition magazines, so that if killers decide they want to go on rampage shootings, they will not have access to automatic rifles, which makes committing massacres easier for them. As Ex-Chief Justice Warren Burger said, “Americans also have a right to defend their homes, and we need not challenge that…To “keep and bear arms” for hunting today is essentially a recreational activity and not an imperative of survival, as it was 200 years ago. “Saturday night specials” and machine guns are not recreational weapons and surely are as much in need of regulation as motor vehicles.”
Not only do we need to ban civilian use of automatic rifles and large ammunition magazines, but we also need to limit and restrict smaller firearms such as handguns. In fact, studies by the Bureau of Justice show that as handgun production has increased, so has the amount of homicides by handguns.
Not only do adults get killed in these shootings, but children and young adults are the greatest victims.
Since 1980, 297 people have been killed in school shootings. Statistics show that children and young adults comprise 38% of all firearm deaths and not-fatal injuries.
In response to the recent mass shootings such as the Aurora shooting and the Sandy Hook shooting, Congress has started to focus more attention on the topic of gun control. President Barack Obama has introduced many proposals to tighten gun control laws. His plans include universal background checks, the reinstatement of the Assault Weapons ban, and limiting ammunition magazines to a 10-round capacity, and many such measures.
These measures will ensure the proper use of guns and will limit access to semi-automatic and automatic rifles that can be used to commit mass homicides. Background checks will also ensure that other guns will be possessed only be people who are mentally stable enough to own them. If we cannot completely stop shootings, we have to prevent the buying and selling of guns to those who cannot handle guns, we have to prevent large ammunition magazine’s sizes, and then, I think, we Americans will also be able to prevent these violent massacres from occurring.
My name is [MJ] and thank you for taking the time to listen to my persuasive speech on gun control.