The problem of gun ownership and control in the United States of America has been a controversial issue for many decades. It is not surprising because the number of crimes related to gun violence rapidly grows. Moreover, mass shootings that spread over the country and take the lives of innocent citizens, including children and the elderly, have posed a requirement to take immediate action and change the current weapon possession policy. It is only logical to seek the solution in the political paradigm due to the involvement of human rights and safety issues. My political identity is libertarian left and is resembled by the inner corner of the bottom left quadrant of the political compass. In my opinion, it is vital to implement gun control as a regulatory measure with respect to the rights and freedoms of all citizens with a priority set on the promotion of safe firearm ownership. In this essay, the opinions of the representatives of different political views will be discussed to validate a proper solution for the gun ownership controversy.
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General Overview of the Problem of Gun Control
No US citizen can be surprised by the question of gun possession because it has occupied a significant place in social debate, media, and political discourse. The issue has been researched from the perspectives of race, political adherence, gender, and age (Pederson 273). No presidential or senate elections campaign has passed without the candidates’ addressing the problem of gun violence and the need for its control (Blanco 1). However, a single solution or an agreement concerning the resolution of the problem that could satisfy all the people of the US has not been reached. Mass shootings in Tuscon, Aurora, Orlando, Newton, and other American cities have taken away the lives of hundreds of people (Blanco 1; Stroebe et al. par. 1). It is the obligation of those who live in this country now to learn from the heartbreakingly painful experience and stop going to extremes but instead find a compromising solution that would suffice all the arguers. Nonetheless, it is essential to clarify the existing points of view on the problem.
An Authoritarian-Left Perspective
This point of view supports the idea that a strict ban on gun possession should be implemented across the country, so that only military governmental representatives have a right to use a weapon, but civil citizens must live in a weapon-free environment. Indeed, according to Blanco, the authoritarian-left individuals “consider guns as the main catalysts of murders, homicides, and other forms of crimes associated with senseless killings and violent deaths” (1). They also believe that “tighter controls can help to prevent mass shootings” (Stroebe et al. par. 2). In other words, the firearm is viewed as a means of power and influence, which are not expected to be given to any entity besides the government.
I agree that free possession of firearms imposes a significant threat to the safety of those who live around a gun owner. There is a reasonable explanation for such a point of view on a right to possess deadly arms. Indeed, if there was no access to a weapon in a situation of crisis or common argument, it would be possible to prevent shooting and severe injuries or death as a result of it. On the other hand, such a strict governmental prohibition of gun ownership contradicts the rights given to the Americans by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution (Masters 1). According to this legislative document, people have a right to use guns as a means of self-protection from criminals or intruders. A democratic society is obliged to preserve human rights in all its forms to ensure people’s safety and well-being. However, there is another perspective that employs less restrictive arguments.
An Authoritarian-Right Perspective
The representatives of this side of political debate claim that only a chosen part of the civil population should be given the right to own, possess and use guns. Racial minorities and refugees that are notorious for a high level of homicide crimes and shootings should be deprived of such an opportunity. Accordingly, society has to be divided into layers of those who have more rights, freedoms, and opportunities, and those who lack them.
I agree that the statistics might imply a higher level of the predisposition of minorities to criminal records, but it does not mean that every representative of this population is a felon. However, racial inequity in the discussion of such an important political issue as self-protection is a direct manifestation of discrimination, which contradicts the US legislature that strives to provide equal opportunity and rights for all. Similarly, any other disparity on the basis of gender, social status, or income level should be used as a measure of priority to use guns. Moreover, such an attitude diminishes the ideas of the role of previous convictions of felons who do not fall under the category of a racial minority but are dangerous for the safety of citizens (Masters 3). In my opinion, such a direction of thought might lead to even more social disparities and grow into an absolute dominance of one social layer over another. It is evident that a different opinion is required to provide an overview of the alternative solution for the problem.
A Libertarian-Right Perspective
According to the beliefs and values of the agents within the libertarian-right wing of the political spectrum, the right to own a gun should be given to all the population residing in the USA. Every person can own, possess, and use a firearm freely regardless of his or her background because the USA is a country of freedom. Indeed, some people argue that the Second Amendment guarantees such an opportunity for all (Masters 1). I support the idea of equity that this perspective elaborates on. However, one should refer to mere common sense to understand that such an approach is a direct way to anarchy where, despite completely equal rights, everyone will be in danger. Thus, such an extreme solution would not provide a sound solution and has to be reevaluated. Individuals under legal age and those with a criminal history would have easy access to a weapon. Therefore, one cannot rely on such a solution and needs to seek a more realistic and humane attitude.
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A Libertarian-Left Perspective
As for my opinion, which falls under the category of the libertarian-left, responsible individuals should be given a right to have and use weapons according to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. I also believe that the government should have partial responsibility for the control of gun use. According to Blanco, “gun ownership education is necessary to protect the citizens against any threats, violence, and attacks perpetrated by criminals and felonious individuals” (1-2). Naturally, it is the right and obligation of every citizen to protect oneself from dangers, the number of which is growing across the states. Mass shootings and other signs of inadequate theoretical and practical knowledge concerning the use of firearms only increase social awareness and imply better special education and licensure for responsible ownership of guns. Therefore, the solution to the controversial question of whether to possess a gun should not be sought in extremes but rather in compromising ideas that provide benefit for all sides of the argument. American society can use its own experience, as well as the advancement of other countries of the progressive world, to keep people alive and safe.
In summary, like any other highly disputed question, the issue of gun control and violence has raised a significant number of opposing views resembling diverse sides of the political spectrum. Some of the opinions are based on extreme ideas that seek a decisive measure of complete restriction, absolute freedom, or discriminative selection. However, in such a culturally and socially diverse country like the USA, it is impossible to find a revolutionary answer to a question of such social relevance. It is vital to try to comply with the requirements of all but with an application of the current legislature, common sense, and reasoning. The lack of education in the sphere of gun usage is the key element of mass killings and gun-related crimes. By eliminating this crucial factor, the government will be able to increase the level of social responsibility in weapon ownership and ensure public safety by peaceful measures.
Blanco, Dennis Vicencio. “The Gun Control Debate: Why Experience and Culture Matters.” International Journal of Public Administration, 2015, Web.
Masters, Jonathan. “US Gun Policy: Global; Comparison.” Council of Foreign Relations, 2015.
Pederson, JoEllen, et al. “Gun Ownership and Attitudes Toward Gun Control in Older Adults: Re-examining Self Interest Theory.” American Journal of Social Science Research, vol. 1, no. 5, 2015, pp. 273-281.
Stroebe, Wolfgang, et al. “The Impact of the Orlando Mass Shooting on Fear of Victimization and Gun-Purchasing Intentions: Not What One Might Expect. PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 8: e0182408, 2017.