• Stossel’s argues against gun control and his argument consists of him identifying three beliefs about gun control that he thinks are false, or as he calls them, myths. His argument aims to show that these three beliefs are false and are in fact myths. Below are the three myths he identifies. Please identify and list in standard form all of the premises he gives to support why he thinks each is myth (each has 4-6 premises). You can do this by directly quoting and paraphrasing.
• Myth 1 – Gun laws reduce crime and violence. (paragraphs 2-7)
• Myth 2 – Gun ownership is responsible for gun violence (paragraphs 7-10).
• Myth 3 – The Supreme Court ruled the Second Amendment applies only to state militia, not individual citizens. (paragraphs 11-13)
• Zakaria argues for gun control. Part of his argument is for why we need gun control and the other parts of his argument focus on him addressing what he considers are reasons people give against gun control and he argues against these reasons. Below are two of the reasons he identifies and argues against and his own argument for gun control. Please identify and list in standard form all of the premises he gives for each (each has 4-6 premises). You can do this by directly quoting and paraphrasing.
• Argument AGAINST the view that: Gun violence is simply a mental health issue (paragraphs 1-3)
• Argument FOR why we have so much gun violence and need gun control (paragraphs 4-5)
• Argument AGAINST the view that: Gun control is unconstitutional (paragraphs 7-11)
• Assess the argument
• Identify and assess the evidence presented. Assess the evidence by assessing how strong it is and how relevant it is. (Explain your reasoning.)
• Assess the structure or organization of the argument. (Explain your reasoning.)
• Assess the author’s reasoning. (Explain your reasoning.)
• Identify the strengths of the argument and explain why they are strengths.
• Identify the weaknesses of the argument and explain why they are weaknesses.
• Assess whether the reasoning and evidence presented is strong enough to support the conclusion and explain why or why not.
• Suggest ways of improving the argument (be specific and detailed, come up with an example to illustrate, explain how each suggestion will help improve the argument).
• Explain whether the article has had any influence on how you view the issue and why or why not.
Further Assessment Criteria
• Proofreading (spelling, careless mistakes)
• Grammar, syntax, style
• Organization and Clarity
• Essay should be around 1500-2000 words long (4-5 pages) long. It must be at least 1500 words (4 pages) long and it is okay if it is longer than 2000 words (5 pages).
• Make sure you organize your essay by separating each section as it is separated above.
• It must be 12 point font, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, and use either Garamond or Times New Roman font.
• If you use any additional sources, you must include a bibliography.Monday, Aug. 20, 2012
The Case for Gun Control
By Fareed Zakaria
Update Appended: August 10, 2012
After the ghastly act of terrorism against a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Aug. 5, Americans are pondering how to stop gun violence. We have decided that it is, in the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks, a problem of psychology, not sociology. We are trying to fathom the evil ideology of Wade Michael Page. Only several weeks ago, we were all trying to understand the twisted psychology of James Holmes, the man who killed 12 innocents at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Before that it was the mania of Jared Loughner, who shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords last year.
Certainly we should try to identify such people and help treat and track them. But aside from the immense difficulty of such a task–there are millions of fanatical, crazy people, and very few turn into mass murderers–it misses the real problem.
Gun violence in America is off the chart compared with every other country on the planet. The gun-homicide rate per capita in the U.S. is 30 times that of Britain and Australia, 10 times that of India and four times that of Switzerland. When confronted with such a large deviation, a scholar would ask, Does America have some potential cause for this that is also off the chart? I doubt that anyone seriously thinks we have 30 times as many crazy people as Britain or Australia. But we do have many, many more guns.
There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the U.S. In second place is Yemen, with 54.8, then Switzerland with 45.7 and Finland with 45.3. No other country has a rate above 40. The U.S. handgun-ownership rate is 70% higher than that of the country with the next highest rate.
The effect of the increasing ease with which Americans can buy ever more deadly weapons is also obvious. Over the past few decades, crime has been declining, except in one category. In the decade since 2000, violent-crime rates have fallen by 20%, aggravated assault by 21%, motor-vehicle theft by 44.5% and nonfirearm homicides by 22%. But the number of firearm homicides is essentially unchanged. What can explain this anomaly except easier access to guns?
Confronted with this blindingly obvious causal connection, otherwise intelligent people close their eyes. Denouncing any effort to control guns, George Will explained on ABC News that he had “a tragic view of life, which is that … however meticulously you draft whatever statute you wind up passing, the world is going to remain a broken place, and things like this are going to happen.” I don't recall Will responding to, say, the 9/11 attacks–or any other law-and-order issue for that matter–with a “things happen” sentiment.
The other argument against any serious gun control is that it's unconstitutional, an attempt to undo American history. In fact, something close to the opposite is true.
Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”
Congress passed the first set of federal laws regulating, licensing and taxing guns in 1934. The act was challenged and went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, said the Second Amendment grants people a right that “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The court agreed unanimously.
Things started to change in the 1970s as various right-wing groups coalesced to challenge gun control, overturning laws in state legislatures, Congress and the courts. But Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon, described the new interpretation of the Second Amendment in an interview after his tenure as “one of the greatest pieces of fraud–I repeat the word fraud–on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
So when people throw up their hands and say we can't do anything about guns, tell them they're being un-American–and unintelligent.
Find this article at:
October 19, 2005
Myths About Gun Control
By John Stossel
Guns are dangerous. But myths are dangerous, too. Myths about guns are very dangerous, because they lead to bad laws. And bad laws kill people.
“Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference,” said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law.
Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth.
I wanted to know why the laws weren't working, so I asked the experts. “I'm not going in the store to buy no gun,” said one maximum-security inmate in New Jersey. “So, I could care less if they had a background check or not.”
“There's guns everywhere,” said another inmate. “If you got money, you can get a gun.”
Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don't obey the law. (That's why we call them “criminals.”) Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there's money to be made selling something, someone will sell it.
A study funded by the Department of Justice confirmed what the prisoners said. Criminals buy their guns illegally and easily. The study found that what felons fear most is not the police or the prison system, but their fellow citizens, who might be armed. One inmate told me, “When you gonna rob somebody you don't know, it makes it harder because you don't know what to expect out of them.”
What if it were legal in America for adults to carry concealed weapons? I put that question to gun-control advocate Rev. Al Sharpton. His eyes opened wide, and he said, “We'd be living in a state of terror!”
In fact, it was a trick question. Most states now have “right to carry” laws. And their people are not living in a state of terror. Not one of those states reported an upsurge in crime.
Why? Because guns are used more than twice as often defensively as criminally. When armed men broke into Susan Gonzalez' house and shot her, she grabbed her husband's gun and started firing. “I figured if I could shoot one of them, even if we both died, someone would know who had been in my home.” She killed one of the intruders. She lived. Studies on defensive use of guns find this kind of thing happens at least 700,000 times a year.
And there's another myth, with a special risk of its own. The myth has it that the Supreme Court, in a case called United States v. Miller, interpreted the Second Amendment — “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” — as conferring a special privilege on the National Guard, and not as affirming an individual right. In fact, what the court held is only that the right to bear arms doesn't mean Congress can't prohibit certain kinds of guns that aren't necessary for the common defense. Interestingly, federal law still says every able-bodied American man from 17 to 44 is a member of the United States militia.
What's the special risk? As Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals judge and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, warned in 2003, “the simple truth — born of experience — is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.”
“The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do,” Judge Kozinski noted. “But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”
�2005 JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate
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