Explain what you believe is the most compelling reason listed by ProCon.org for supporting the conclusion that more gun control laws SHOULD NOT be enacted.

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Now it’s time to practice thinking through a controversial issue carefully. Gun control is a topic that often elicits strong feelings, and you may already have a firm opinion about it. Perhaps even just hearing the words “gun control” makes you feel an instant emotional response. Try to put those feelings aside so you can practice the believing game and the doubting game to examine the reasonable (and unreasonable) aspects of various perspectives and opinions.

You can explore these perspectives by examining the pro/con list provided byProCon.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that provides these lists for a number of controversial issues. The pro side lists reasons for supporting each issue, and the con side lists reasons for opposing each issue. In this activity, you’ll focus on the issue of gun control.


  1. Explain what you believe is the most compelling reason listed by ProCon.org for supporting the conclusion that more gun control laws SHOULD be enacted.
  2. Explain what you believe is the most compelling reason listed by ProCon.org for supporting the conclusion that more gun control laws SHOULD NOT be enacted.
  3. Imagine the perspective of an abuse victim whose partner has threatened to shoot them on multiple occasions. How might this person view the issue of gun control?
  4. Imagine the perspective of an avid hunter who likes to use guns labeled as assault rifles to hunt deer. How might this person view the issue of gun control?
  5. Did considering multiple viewpoints and new information on this topic have any impact on your original opinion about whether more gun control laws should be enacted?


  • Yes, I’m strongly reconsidering.
  • Yes, it made me think a little more about the other side.
  • Yes, but not enough to change my mind.
  • No, not even a little bit.



4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org GUN CONTROL Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted? Last updated on: 8/7/2020 | Author: ProCon.org The United States has 120.5 guns per 100 people, or about 393,347,000 guns, which is the highest total and per capita number in the world. 22% of Americans own one or more guns (35% of men and 12% of women). America’s pervasive gun culture stems in part from its colonial history, revolutionary roots, frontier expansion, and the Second Amendment, which states: “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.” Proponents of more gun control laws state that the Second Amendment was intended for militias; that gun violence would be reduced; that gun restrictions have always existed; and that a majority of Americans, including gun owners, support new gun restrictions. https://gun-control.procon.org 1/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Opponents say that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns; that guns are needed for self-defense from threats ranging from local criminals to foreign invaders; and that gun ownership deters crime rather than causes more crime. Read more background… Pro & Con Arguments Pro 1 Con 1 The Second Amendment is not an unlimited right to own guns. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects individual gun ownership. In the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, wrote, “Like most The Second Amendment of the US Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia, rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited… nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of rearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of rearms in being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Gun ownership is an American tradition older than the country itself and is protected by the Second Amendment; more gun control laws would infringe upon the sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and quali cations on the commercial sale of arms.” [3] On June 9, 2016 the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 that “[t]he right of the general public to carry a concealed rearm in public is not, and never right to bear arms. Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, in the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion syllabus stated, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a rearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” thus upholding a law requiring a permitting process and “good cause” for concealed carry licenses in California. [145][146] A 2018 study found that 91% of the 1,153 court cases with claims stating a government action or law violates the Second Amendment purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” [3] The McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) ruling also stated that the Second Amendment is an individual right. [51] Lawrence Hunter, Chairman of Revolution PAC, stated, “The Founders understood that the right to own and bear laws is as fundamental between the 2008 DC v. Heller decision and Feb. 1, 2016 failed. [157] and as essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom https://gun-control.procon.org 2/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 2 More gun control laws would reduce gun deaths. There were 572,537 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2016: 336,579 suicides (58.8% of total gun deaths); 213,175 homicides (37.2%); and 11,428 unintentional deaths (2.0%). [162] Guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (67.7% of all homicides) and by suicide (51.8% of all suicides). [162] A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that rearms were the second leading cause of deaths for children, responsible for 15% of child deaths compared to 20% in motor vehicle crashes. [30] A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that “legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death” [6] According to a Mar. 10, 2016 Lancet study, implementing federal universal background checks could reduce rearm deaths by a projected 56.9%; background checks for ammunition purchases could reduce deaths by a projected 80.7%; and gun identi cation requirements could reduce deaths by a projected 82.5%. [148] Gun licensing laws were associated with a 14% decrease in rearm homicides, while increases in rearm homicides were seen in places with right-to-carry and stand-your ground-laws.[158] [160] of religion and the other protections against government encroachments on liberty delineated in the Bill of Rights.” [52] Con 2 Gun control laws do not deter crime; gun ownership deters crime. A study in Applied Economics Letters found that “assault weapons bans did not signi cantly affect murder rates at the state level” and “states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murders.” [103] While gun ownership doubled in the twentieth century, the murder rate decreased. [53] John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, stated, “States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes… The effect on ‘shall-issue’ [concealed gun] laws on these crimes [where two or more people were killed] has been dramatic. When states passed these laws, the number of multiple-victim shootings declined by 84 percent. Deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90 percent and injuries by 82 percent.” [54] More than twothirds of gun owners cite protection as a major reason for owning a gun. [55] Journalist John Stossel explained, “Criminals don’t obey the law… Without the fear of retaliation from victims who might be packing heat, criminals in possession of these [illegal] weapons now have a much easier job… As the saying goes, ‘If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’” [56] https://gun-control.procon.org 3/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 3 High-capacity magazines should be banned because they too often turn murder into mass murder. A Mother Jones investigation found that highcapacity magazines were used in at least 50% of the 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012. [7] When high-capacity magazines were used in mass shootings, the death rate rose 63% and the injury rate rose 156%. [8] David H. Chipman, Senior Vice President of Public Safety for ShotSpotter and former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agent, stated that a high-capacity magazine “turns a killer into a killing machine.” Some gang members use high-capacity magazines, such as 30 rounds or even 90 [7] rounds, to compensate for lack of accuracy and maximize the chance to harm. [9] According to a Feb. 2019 NPR poll, 65% of Americans believed banning high-capacity magazines would reduce gun violence. [165] https://gun-control.procon.org 4/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 4 Con 3 More gun control laws are needed to protect women from domestic abusers and stalkers. Gun control laws infringe upon the right to self-defense and deny people a sense of safety. Five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States. [10] A woman’s risk of According to the National Ri e Association (NRA), guns are used for self-defense 2.5 being murdered increases 500% if a gun is present during a domestic dispute. [11] During million times a year. [57] The police cannot protect everyone all of the time. 61% of men the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 5,364 US soldiers were killed in action between Oct. 7, and 56% of women surveyed by Pew Research said that stricter gun laws would “make it 2001 and Jan. 28, 2015; between 2001 and more di cult for people to protect their homes 2012 6,410 women were killed with a gun by an intimate partner in the United States. [10][12] and families.” [58] Nelson Lund, JD, PhD, Professor at George Mason University School A 2003 study of 23 populous high-income countries found that 86% of women killed by of Law, stated, “The right to self-defense and to the means of defending oneself is a basic rearms were in the United States and American women are 11.4 times more likely to natural right that grows out of the right to life” and “many [gun control laws] interfere with the be the victims of gun homicides [13] 57% of ability of law-abiding citizens to defend mass shootings involved domestic violence. [11][14] For example, the 2011 mass shooting themselves against violent criminals.” [59] Constitutions in 37 US states protect the right at a Seal Beach, CA hair salon reportedly began because of the shooter’s custody battle to bear arms for self-defense, most with explicit language such as Alabama’s: “every with his ex-wife who was a hair stylist at the salon. [11][8] 31 states do not ban convicted citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” [60][61] Wayne LaPierre, misdemeanor stalkers from owning guns and Executive Vice President of the NRA, stated, 41 states do not force convicted domestic abusers from relinquishing guns they already “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” [62] A May 9, 2013 own. [10][14] 76% of women murdered and 85% of women who survived a murder attempt by 48% of convicted felons surveyed admitted that they avoided committing crimes when an intimate partner were stalked in the year before the murder or murder attempt. [15] they knew the victim was armed with a gun. [63] Pew Foundation report found that 79% of male gun owners and 80% of female gun owners said owning a gun made them feel safer and 64% of people living in a home in which someone else owns a gun felt safer. [58] Even Senator Dianne Feinstein, a gun control advocate, carried a concealed gun when her https://gun-control.procon.org 5/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 5 Guns are rarely used in self-defense. life was threatened and her home attacked by the New World Liberation Front in the 1970s. [64] Of the 29,618,300 violent crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, 0.79% of victims (235,700) protected themselves with a threat of use or use of a rearm, the least-employed protective behavior. [16] In 2010 there were 230 “justi able homicides” in which a private citizen used a rearm to kill a felon, compared to 8,275 criminal gun homicides (or, 36 criminal homicides for every “justi able homicide”). [17] Of the 84,495,500 property crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, 0.12% of victims (103,000) protected themselves with a threat of use or use of a rearm. [16] https://gun-control.procon.org 6/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 6 Con 4 Legally owned guns are frequently stolen and used by criminals. Gun control laws, especially those that try to ban “assault weapons,” infringe upon the right to own guns for hunting and sport. A June 2013 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states that “[a]lmost all guns used in criminal acts enter circulation via initial legal In 2011, there were 13.7 million hunters 16 transaction.” [18] Between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 million guns were stolen from US homes during property crimes (including burglary and car theft), a yearly average of 232,400. [19] Ian years old or older in the United States, and they spent $7.7 billion on guns, sights, ammunition, and other hunting equipment. [65] [66] High-powered semiautomatic ri es and Ayres, JD, PhD, and John J. Donohue, JD, PhD, Professors of Law at Yale Law School and Stanford Law School respectively, state, “with shotguns are used to hunt and in target shooting tournaments each year. [67] According to the National Shooting Sports guns being a product that can be easily carried away and quickly sold at a relatively high fraction of the initial cost, the presence of more guns can actually serve as a stimulus to Foundation, “So-called ‘Assault weapons’ are more often than not less powerful than other hunting ri es. The term ‘assault weapon’ was conjured up by anti-gun legislators to scare burglary and theft. Even if the gun owner had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and would never use it in furtherance of a crime, is voters into thinking these rearms are something out of a horror movie… [T]he Colt AR-15 and Spring eld M1A, both labeled it likely that the same can be said for the burglar who steals the gun?” [20] ‘assault weapons,’ are the ri es most used for marksmanship competitions in the United States. And their cartridges are standard hunting calibers, useful for game up to and including deer.” [68] According to a Feb. 2013 Pew Research report, 32% of gun owners owned guns for hunting and 7% owned guns for target or sport shooting. [58] https://gun-control.procon.org 7/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 7 Con 5 Gun control laws would reduce the societal costs associated with gun violence. Gun control laws will not prevent criminals from obtaining guns or breaking laws. The more than 100,000 people shot in the United States each year generate emergency room and hospital charges of nearly $3 billion. [163] A study in the American Journal of Public Of 62 mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and 2012, 49 of the shooters used legally obtained guns. Collectively, 143 guns were possessed by the killers with about Health estimated that hospitalizations for rearm-related injuries cost Medicaid and Medicare $2.7 billion over nine years. [21] A study in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that hospitalizations for rearmrelated injuries cost Medicaid and Medicare $2.7 billion over nine years. [22] 84% of those injured by rearms are uninsured, leaving taxpayers responsible for most of those bills through programs like Medicaid. [23][24][25][26] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the costs of gun violence can include legal services, medical costs, perpetrator control, policing, incarceration, foster care, private security, lost earnings and time, life insurance, productivity, tourism, and psychological costs (pain and suffering), among others. [25] Homicide rates doubling has been associated with a 12.5% decline in property values. [25] 75% obtained legally. [69] A Secret Service analysis found that of 24 mass shootings in 2019 at least 10 (42%) involved illegally possessed guns. [176] John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, gun rights activist, stated, “The problem with such [gun control] laws is that they take away guns from law-abiding citizens, while would-be criminals ignore them.” [70] According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics May 2013 report, 37.4% of state prison inmates who “used, carried, or possessed a rearm when they committed the crime for which they were serving a prison sentence” obtained the gun from a family member or friend. [16] Despite Chicago’s ban on gun shops, shooting ranges, assault weapons, and high capacity magazines, in 2014 Chicago had 2,089 shooting victims including at least 390 murders. [71][72][73] Approximately 50,000 guns were recovered by police in Chicago between 2001 and Mar. 2012. The guns came from all 50 states, and more than half came from outside of Illinois. [74] https://gun-control.procon.org 8/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 8 Con 6 A majority of adults, including gun owners, support common sense gun control such as background checks, bans on assault weapons, and bans on high-capacity magazines. Gun control laws give too much power to the government and may result in government tyranny and the government taking away all guns from citizens. According to a Feb. 20, 2018 Quinnipiac Poll, 97% of American voters and 97% of gun owners support universal background checks. 57% of people surveyed by Pew Research in Feb. 2013 said that gun control laws would “give too much power to the government over 67% support a nationwide ban on assault weapons, and 83% support mandatory waiting periods for gun purchases. [155] As much as 40% of all gun sales are undocumented private the people.” [58] The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre stated, “if you look at why our Founding Fathers put it [the Second Amendment] there, they had lived under the tyranny of King party gun sales that do not require a background check (aka the “gun show loophole”). [28] 53% of all adults surveyed George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live approve of high-capacity magazine bans. [27] 89% of adults with a gun in the home approve of laws to prevent the purchase of guns by the mentally ill, and 82% approve of banning gun under tyranny.” [75] Alex Jones, radio host, in a Jan 7, 2013 interview with Piers Morgan, stated, “The Second Amendment isn’t there for duck hunting, it’s there to protect us from sales to people on no- y lists. [27] 77% of Americans support requiring a license to purchase a gun. [165] Don Macalady, member tyrannical government and street thugs… 1776 will commence again if you try to take our rearms!” [76] of Hunters against Gun Violence, stated, “As a hunter and someone who has owned guns since I was a young boy, I believe that commonsense gun legislation makes us all safer. Background checks prevent criminals and other dangerous people from getting guns.” [29] https://gun-control.procon.org 9/26 4/15/2021 Gun Control – Pros & Cons – ProCon.org Pro 9 Con 7 More gun control leads to fewer suicides. Gun control laws such as background checks and micro-stamping are an invasion of privacy. Between 1999 and 2013 there were 270,237 rearm suicides in the United States, accounting for about 52% of all suicides during those years. [4] When US gun ownership Background checks would require government databases that keep personal individual information on gun owners, including name, goes down, overall suicide rates drop; meanwhile, each 10 percentage-point increase in gun ownership is linked to a 26.9% increase addresses, mental health history, criminal records, and more. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) worried that Senator in the youth suicide rate. [31][164] Female rsttime rearm owners were 35 times more likely to commit suicide within 12 years of buying the gun compared to women who did not own Harry Reid’s 2013 proposed background check legislation (the bill failed 54-46) would have allowed the government to keep databases of gun purchases inde nitely, creating a “worry guns; male rst-time rearm owners were about eight times more likely to do so. [171] [172] Firearm-related suicides accounted for that you’re going to see searches of the databases and an expansion for purposes that were not intended when the information was 61% of the gun deaths in the United States between 2000 and 2010. [18] Researchers found that a “general barrier to rearm access created through state regulation can have a collected.” [77][78] Micro-stamping similarly requires a database of gun owners and the codes their personal guns would stamp on cartridge cases. [79] Senators Rand Paul (R- signi cant deterrent effect on male suicide rates in the United States. Permit requirements and bans on sales to minors were the most effective of the regulations KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote that they would oppose any legislation t …
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