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Justin Gomez

Ms. Smith

English 11, Period 1

October 8, 2018

Owning Firearms

One must wonder to themselves the responsibility and consequences of owning and

operating firearms. There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not people over the age of

18 should be allowed to process a gun. Arguments from both sides show how deeply divisive

people are on the subject, some want better security while others do not want to lose rights they

were given. The privilege of owning a gun should be restricted to those 18 and older, since

owning a gun is not a constitutional right, the age of owning a gun is too low, background checks

are to simplified, and guns are tools used to induce death not everyone should have.

The 2nd amendment is brings debate on how it is supposed to be represented. An article

by the Salem Press lists the 2nd amendment as “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”(Lee

1). Gun activists view this as their right to own their guns, but it can be disputed. The 2nd

amendment means that it is necessary to bear arms when every there is a treat to our country or

freedom. It does not state that it is right to own a gun in general, only in cases such as an army;

which the “”well regulated Militia” encompasses. The Salem Press also mentions “The Second

Amendment was ratified in 1791, as a direct result of the Revolutionary War.” The amendment

was written for an event for its time, for a reason where it is necessary to own a gun to win the

war. It was never meant for the overall right to just own a gun.
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The age to own a firearms differs between the type of gun, from 21 for a handgun and 18

for a rifle. The article “Most Americans Can Buy an AR-15 Rifle before They Can Buy Beer”

presented by Lois Brekett, highlights the comparison between the ages to buy beer and a rifle.

This article presents the idea how young adults can’t trusted with alcohol, but are allowed to buy

guns at a younger age. There is a clear contradiction between what people can be trusted with,

the legal age to buy any type of weapon should be equal to the age to buy beer. At 21 where

people are considered more rational or “mature”. “In all, 28 states have no minimum age

requirement for owning a rifle, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence,

which tracks state gun laws. Four states set the minimum age for owning a rifle or shotgun at

between 14 and 16 years old” (Breckett 1). The ages to buy these rifles are much younger than

18 in a couple of states. In ages below 18 the brain is still developing, thus most teens do not

have the rational to understand the responsibility of owning a gun as they are more impulsive in

this age. That is why there should be an age limit to buy a gun that is above 18 years of age.

It’s been often showed that the background checks are not sufficient enough to guarantee

safety. In a CNN article “How Gun Background Checks Work” by Aaron Smith and Jose

Pagliery shows how these checks ask simple questions such as “Have you ever commited a

felony?” and “Have you ever been committed to a mental institute?” and ask for identification

(Smith 1). This is too simple to be considered a “background check” as anyone could obtain a

gun despite being checked. A potentially dangerous person a easily obtain a gun legally to use to

harm others. The article states mentions a shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people at a high

school. “Last fall, a YouTube user going by the name "nikolas cruz" left the following comment

beneath another person's video: ‘Im going to be a professional school shooter.’ However, Cruz

passed the FBI's background check to be able to purchase his AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle”
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(Smith 1). This quote highlights the flaws in the current background checks. Cruz has shown to

be violent and quite deranged and was able to buy a gun to hurt others with. The backgrounds

checks are too simple, to the point where any person above 18 can get a gun. Obtaining a gun

should be more restrictive and the background checks should be more thorough to secure the

safety of others.

The most important fact to keep in mind when discussing gun control is to know that

guns are tools with the purpose to kill. In a CBS article “Death by Gun: Top 20 States with

Highest Rates” it lists the states with the highest rates of gun related deaths. 18 out of 20 states

listed do not need a permit to buy a firearm (Chalasani 1). The reason why deaths are so high in

these states is because just about anyone can buy a gun. There are no restrictions, so there is no

clue to the type of person buying these weapons. It could be used to hunt, for protection, or for

nefarious deeds; all we know are number of people who are killed. Additionally, guns are an

easy tool to help assist in suicide. In the article it stated that, “John Roman, senior fellow at the

Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank told USA Today that states with the

highest rates of suicide also usually had the strongest culture of gun ownership. ‘There are many

more suicides in places where it's easy to get a gun,’ he said” (Chalasani 1). John Roman brings

up the idea that suicides increase in places where it’s easy to get guns. This relates to how guns

are just tools to kill, a suicidal person knows this fact. Guns are used to kill, but it is distributed

to anyone who wants one. Not everyone should be allowed to have that tool necessary to harm

oneself or another, especially minors under the age of 18.

A common counterargument is that the 2nd Amendment protects the right to own a gun. It

does not, because nowhere in the Amendment does it specially say that it is. It just refers to those

in a “well regulated militia” are ensured to their guns, not the common people. Another
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counterargument is that some people believe that people under 18 are already mature enough to

own guns. This is not true however, because at below 18 the brain is still developing and not

fully mature yet. Another counterargument is that since most people buy guns illegally anyways,

background checks are worthless. This is not true, there should still be a barrier to prevent a gun

going into the wrong hands legally. If a background check can prevent a potential dangerous

person to get a gun and harm others, then it is worth something. Lastly, a common phrase people

use when discussing gun violence is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We know

people use guns to kill people, but we shouldn’t that guns need to be excused for being the tool

to do it. Guns were designed to help make killing easy, that is why we shouldn’t dismiss the gun

when discussing its use in crimes.

Its common knowledge understand that guns do serve a purpose for security and safety, it

is when everyone owns a gun that security and safety is threatened. Owning a gun is not a right

that people have, people should not be allowed to own a gun before their twenties, more effort

should be put into background checks for the safety of others, and the distribution of these tools

meant to kill others should be heavily restricted. To ensure better safety for the citizens I feel

guns should be harder to obtain with intensive background checks. Also that it should be outright

banned to sell a gun to a minor. It’s a better alternative to the outright banning everyone of

owning a gun because there are situations where owning a gun can mean safety. With that in

mind, not everyone over 18 should be allowed to own any type of gun. There must be restrictions

to prevent disasters and tragedies.


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Annotated Bibliography

Alpers, Philip, Amélie Rossetti and Daniel Salinas. “Guns in the United States: Total Number of

Gun Death” Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney. GunPolicy.org, 8

August 2018.

https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compareyears/194/total_number_of_gun_deaths.

Accessed 20 September 2018

This chart list the total number of deaths by guns in the USA from years 1999-2016. The

authors gather data from the respective years to show how many people have been killed

by guns per year. My source gives me data to use, to help me advance my position. It

features relevant data, as it features death totals as recently to 2016. I find this to be a

valuable source of information because the contents of the chart shows how many people

are killed per year. This gives me accurate statistics to push for a logical perspective in

my essay. These are help me support my argument further, and gives me an exact number

to reference.

Beckett, Lois. “Most Americans Can Buy an AR-15 Rifle before They Can Buy Beer.” The

Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Feb. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-

news/2018/feb/16/americans-age-to-buy-ar15-assault-rifle-mass-shootings. Accessed 19

September 2018.

This article highlights the idea that people can easily purchase rifles once they turn the

age of 18. They compare this to the age in which one can buy alcohol at age 21. They

then begin to list examples of mass shootings that feature the AR-15 Rifle and other long

guns. The author is pushing for an increased age in which someone could buy guns. It

uses current events to help their points, and statistics. I think the article is credible since it
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does bring up well developed arguments about the age of purchasing guns, with the use

of factual evidence. It was able to bring up some good points about the gun debate.

Chalasani, Radhika. “Death by Gun: Top 20 States with Highest Rates.” CBS News, CBS

Interactive, 15 June 2016, www.cbsnews.com/pictures/death-by-gun-top-20-states-with-

highest-rates/21/. Accessed 18 September 2018.

The article is a list of the top 20 states in the USA with the highest rates of gun deaths.

The article also shows if that state requires a permit to purchase a firearm or not. The

article is quite recent since it was made in 2016. The article shows that 19 out of 20 states

on the list do not require a permit to purchase a firearm, the author relates this to the

increase of gun deaths in said state. The article was made to present information that was

easily available to a general audience. In that way the information is easily understood by

anyone.

Lee, Alexander, “Gun Control” Salem Press Encyclopedia, December 2016,

htttp://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89158206&siteeds-

live. Accessed 13 September 2018.

This article gives a general consensus of Gun Control in the USA. It gives a history of

gun control in the USA, and presents both sides of the argument. The article has many

different sources to give an overall unbiased overview of the gun control situation. It

presents current events to show its relevancy, and has information it back it up. I believe

that this is a valuable source of information that in not attempting to push one side of an

argument. It gives me the information I am looking for to help me come to my own

conclusions about the topic at hand. This source is credible because, it was found in a

school approved research library called Digital Library.


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Pagliery, Jose, and Aaron Smith. “How Gun Background Checks Work.” CNN, Cable News

Network, 15 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/gun-background-checks-florida-s

chool-shooting/index.html. Accessed 20 September 2018.

The article’s main purpose is to give information on how gun background checks work. It

gives some insight on how a person is able to obtain a gun legally. It also points out the

faults of the system, by targeting shooter Kikolas Cruz, a man who showed mental

instability, but was still able to get a semi-automatic rifle legally. The article pushes for a

more in-depth background checks for purchasing guns. The argument presented is

persuasive by targeting the emotions of sadness and the logic of how a tragedy could’ve

been prevented. The article is shown to lean to the side of stricter gun control, and

harsher background checks.