12 Nov. 2003
A Gun Is Your Only Protection
1) Recently there has been a great deal of talk about the need for the United States to revise the Second Amendment to restrict Americans' right to own guns. The Brady Bill, passed in 1993 in reaction to the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, sets a waiting period for handgun purchases and also restricts purchases of semi-automatic weapons (Aborn 417). [11a] Supporters believe that the bill protects Americans from criminals who use guns.  However, the contrary is true. The most effective way to stem growing violence in America is to encourage people to arm themselves and learn how to use those weapons correctly. 
2) Gun registration doesn't always work.  Americans will readily agree that most violent crime in the United States involves the use of some kind of gun. Because guns are much quicker and deadlier than knives or clubs, they are the "weapon of choice" in the commissions of crime. For example, Nick Shields was shot in the back in 1974 as he sat in his van holding a lacrosse stick. The gun was one purchased legally and registered before being passed on seven times, until it landed in the hands of the murderer  (Shields 23). [11a] Having gun registration did not save Nick Shields’s life. However, had Shields been holding a gun rather than a lacrosse stick, the murderer would have been more deterred than he was by having owned a registered gun. 
3) Certain businesses particularly need to provide protection for their employees.  The Crime Prevention Service at Rutgers University reports that one of the most dangerous jobs in America is driving a taxi. In one year, 184 taxi drivers out of a thousand will be a victim of violence  ("Riskiest"). [11c] Registering guns is not going to keep taxis drivers from being robbed or exposed to violence, but having a gun handy to thwart attackers might as can be seen in this incident involving a shopkeeper.  On December 31, 2004, Ngoc Le and his wife Kelly were attacked at their cell-phone and fishing supply business by serial rapist Antonio Diaz Reyes. When Reyes grabbed Kelly Le, Ngoc Le grabbed his .380 caliber revolver. When Kelly Le slumped to the floor, Ngoc Le took advantage of the situation and killed Reyes  ("Self"). [11c] The incident proves that if the employees are not only armed but trained to use those arms, criminals will soon be much more wary of preying on these innocent workers. Human beings have a natural inclination to preserve their lives, and criminals are no exception. Thus, the threat of a bullet is much more likely to keep criminals from victimizing taxi drivers than the threat of having to register their guns. 
4) Guns provide protection not only in businesses but also to individuals.  Bernard Goetz responded in the only way possible when he shot the four young men accosting him in the New York subway. He had been threatened before and complained, but to no avail. He had a right to defend himself and he did  (Spitzer 182). [11a] Although no significant studies have been done--probably out of fear of what the studies would show--there is little doubt in my mind that the subways became safer for individuals after Goetz protected himself. Not even the most jaded youth is about to harass an individual if he believes that the individual will retaliate with greater fire power. 
5) Our homes are our castles, and like the kings of old, we need to protect our castles.  According to The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 34% of Americans reported having a gun in their homes in 2002  (Maguire and Pastore, eds.). [11d] Many of these guns are purchased for protection of the home and family. Even if the purpose for the gun is recreational, such as hunting or target shooting, the guns in these homes are available for use when the home is invaded. What needs to be done to make these guns even more effective in protecting homes is to make public the number of people who do have guns. No one--except criminals and deviants--wants to use a gun on another person. However, if criminals do not believe that the house is protected by a weapon and therefore stay away, the owners may have to resort to violence. Guns will actually stop the violence, but the Brady Bill that limits gun accessibility makes it less likely that homes will have guns and more likely that criminals will attack homes and be shot by those people who have managed to arm themselves. Again the fear of death is a strong argument, and simply knowing that to enter a person's home could bring death would be enough deterrent to stop most criminals. 
6) Our bodies also need protection.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program reports that there were 93,433 forcible rapes in the United States in 2003, which means that 63.2 of every 100,000 women faces rape  (United States). [11b] Many of these rapes occur when women (or men) are alone. For example, in Oakland Park, Florida, a 56-year-old woman was raped at her home by an unidentified stranger. He grabbed her when she opened her patio door and forced her into the bedroom where he repeatedly raped the defenseless woman  ("Woman"). [11c] However, she did not have to be defenseless. Had she followed the advice of the women’s organization Arming Women Against Rape & Endangerment (AWARE) which stresses that women should be trained to use weapons, she would have had a weapon and she may have prevented the rape  (AWARE). [11b] It is true that she may not have gotten to the gun in time, but if she had had a gun in her home, at least she would have had more of a chance than without one. A Brandeis University report said that the women most likely to be raped are those who do no defend themselves  (AWARE). [11b] Women, it’s time to arm yourselves. 
7) Statistics have shown that present deterrents do not work against rapists, murderers, or thieves probably because the deterrents are not strong enough.  At present, a murderer in Illinois may expect to spend no more than 20 years in prison and an armed robber no more than 8 years  (State). [11b] That kind of punishment is not likely to stop criminals from either robbery or murder. However, the realization that the criminals may face a .38 Wesson handgun is a deterrent because facing the sentence of death is likely to deter them. They know that the court system won't do much to them, but they also knows that the .38 will. John Lott, Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, points out that "States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes"  ("Interview" ). [12a] No more powerful argument can be made for the ownership of weapons. 
8) Crime is increasing, and people are getting hurt. Police and courts are providing no protection. Guns do protect, and if criminals are aware that their prospective victims are armed and may turn the criminals into the victims, crime will go down. Florida District Attorney Jim Smith puts it bluntly in response to a question about the rise in gun purchases in Dade Country: "'They damn well better [purchase guns]. They've got to protect themselves'”  (NRA, "A Question of Self-Defense" 100). [12b] 
Aborn, Richard M. "The Battle Over the Brady Bill and Future Gun Control Advocacy." Fordham Urban Law Journal 22 (1995): 417.
Cummings, Jeanne. "A Likely Event in 1993: Passage of the Brady Bill." Grand Forks Herald 14 March 1993: D3.
Demsky, Iain. "Stranger Rape Cases Among 'Toughest.'" [Nashville]
15 Dec. 2004. 4 Jan. 2005 <http://tennessean.com/local/archives/04/12/ 62879874.shtml?Element_ID=62879874>.
"An Interview with John R. Lott, Jr." University of Chicago Press Online. 1998. 18 Jan.
Maguire, Kathleen and Ann L.Pastore, eds. Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics Online. Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center, University at Albany, NY, 2003. 10 Jan. 2005 <http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/section2.pdf>.
National Rifle Association. "A Question of Self-Defense." Gun Control. Ed. Robert Emmet Long. New York: H. Wilson, 1989. 98-108.
"The Riskiest Jobs." Crime Prevention Service. Criminal
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University of New Jersey Rutgers. 10 Jan. 2005 <http://crimeprevention.rutgers.edu/ crime/violence/workplace/riskyjobs.htm>.
"Self-Defense in Camden." Editorial. Philadelphia Inquirer
9 Jan. 2005. 10 Jan. 2005
Seligman, Daniel. "Ask Mr. Statistics." Fortune 8 Mar 1993: 139-40
Shields, Jeanne. "Gun Control: Triggering a National Controversy. Newsweek 28 Apr. 1978: 23.
Spitzer, Robert J. "Shooting Down Gun Myths." The Informed Argument: A Multidisciplinary
Reader and Guide. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert K. Miller. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992. 182-85.
State of Illinois. Department of Corrections. "Sentences Imposed." Reports and Stats.
2002. 12 Jan. 2005 <http://www.idoc.state.il.us/subsections/reports/default.shtml>.
United States. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI Releases Crime
Statistics for 2003. Washington: FBI National Press Office. 25 Oct. 2004. 4
Jan. 2005 <http://crime.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=crime
“Woman Raped, Choked in Her Oakland Park Residence." [South Florida] Sun-
Sentinel.com. 31 Dec. 2004. 12 Jan. 2005 <http://www.sun-
1) Attention getter opens with the opposing side's argument and background of specific legislation against which the writer is arguing. Return to paragraph 1.
2) Thesis led to by the transition
however to indicate that what the writer wants to prove is the opposite to
what has been said. Return to paragraph 1.
3) Topic sentence that states what point the paragraph is making about the thesis. Return to paragraph 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
4) Use of specific example to illustrate point. Return to paragraph 2, 3, 1, 4, 6.
5) Use of statistics to prove point. Return to paragraph 3, 5, 6, 7.
6) Expert validation to support analysis of point. Return to paragraph 6, 7.
7) Analysis of how the specific example, statistics, or expert validation illustrate the point. In most instances, the analysis is the largest part of the paragraph. Return to paragraph 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
8) Analysis of statistics and transition to example to strengthen argument further. Return to paragraph 3.
9) Sentence to add emotional impact by intentionally addressing the readers. Second person commands can be used in writing, but they must be used carefully and with a clear purpose. Return to paragraph 6, 7.
10) Conclusion that summarizes main points and ends with expert validation. Return to paragraph 8.
11) Citation of the paraphrase. Remember that paraphrased material, although in your own words, still comes from another source and must be cited.
a) Author's last name and page number to cite print source. Return to paragraph 1, 2, 4.
b) Author is an organization so shortened form of name and no page number to cite electronic
source. Return to paragraph 6, 7.
c) Shortened form of the title since no author and no page number because source is electronic.
Return to paragraph 6
d) Since editors' names begin entry, use both names and indicate they are editors.
Return to paragraph 5
12) Citation of a direct quotation. Return to paragraph
a) Shortened form of the title since no author and no page number because source is
electronic. Return to paragraph 7
b) Author is an organization and page number to indicate print source. Return to paragraph 8.
13) Quote within a quote since speaker Smith differs from author NRA. Return to paragraph 8.
Return to Writing the Argumentative Paper or OWL.