The Top 3 Arguments for Gun Control

Why America Needs More Gun Control

gun control rally
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In 2014, a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot her gun instructor to death during a lesson in how to fire an Uzi in Arizona. Leaving aside the question about why anyone would ever allow a child of that age to have an Uzi in her hands, for any reason, we might also ask why anyone, of any age, needs to learn how to fire an assault weapon like an Uzi in the first place.

The National Rifle Association would respond to that question by claiming that the United States Constitution does not place any restrictions on gun ownership in America. So if you want to fire an Uzi, by all means, have at it.

But that's a dangerous and illogical interpretation of the Second Amendment's "right to bear arms." As Seth Millstein asked on, "If you think the Second Amendment prohibits any and all restrictions on gun possession in the U.S. no matter what the circumstances, then you must believe that convicted murderers have the right to carry machine guns in prison. Right?"

So how would a liberal respond to incidents like this one, an incident that will haunt not only the family of the slain victim but also of the shooter, that little nine-year-old who will have to live with that image in her mind for the rest of her life?

Use these top three points the next time you defend the need for gun control:

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Gun Control Saves Lives

gun control rally
Protesters with One Million Moms for Gun Control, a gun control group formed in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, rally in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Gun-rights advocates and other extremists act like every attempt to create sane and logical regulations on guns is a fascist assault on their freedom. But a quick look at other nations shows this to be untrue. Australia, which has a similar frontier history to that of the United States, enacted gun control following the horrific ​Port Art​hur Massacre, in which a deranged man murdered 35 town residents and wounded 23 more. The restrictions were enacted by a conservative Prime Minister and resulted in a 59% drop in gun-homicides there. Further, recent studies reveal that "higher gun ownership rates were correlated with higher homicide rates, both within the U.S. and amongst different high-income countries."

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You Do NOT Have the Right to Own Any Gun You Want

The Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that while private citizens can own weapons, they are also subject to restrictions on those weapons. It's not your right to build and own a nuclear weapon, nor is toting a pistol in your pocket an unfettered natural right. Minors can't buy alcohol and we can't buy cold medicine right off the shelf because our society decided that we need to protect citizens from drug abuse and trafficking. It's not a leap to insist that we also regulate guns to protect Americans from gun violence.

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Few Guns Means Fewer Gun Crimes Period

It's common for gun advocates to claim that the solution to gun violence is to be more heavily armed so that you can take out someone brandishing a weapon against you. That view is summed up by the popular saying, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." But again, that's an illogical argument. As succinctly stated by Joshua Sager on The Progressive Cynic, gun control means that fewer guns in society means that "as guns are harder to obtain legally and illegal guns become harder to come by (when more guns are confiscated by the police or are used in murders and disposed of then are put onto the street), it will become harder for criminals to find access to clean guns."

Why We Need Gun Control

These three points are rooted in logic, fairness, and the idea that we all have to live together in this society. That is the essence of democracy, and our democracy is based on the idea that we have a social contract that will ensure the well-being of all citizens — not just gun fetishists. And that's the ultimate reason we need gun control: the American people should not have to live in fear every time they enter a public place, send their children to school, or sleep in their own beds at night. The time has come to bring common sense to the dialogue on gun control.