Thursday, April 19, 2007


Cyber Essay 4

In consideration of the shooting at Virginia Tech, should the federal government pass more stringent handgun laws? Respond in 250 word minimum essay by Monday, May 7, midnight. Please include your name and e-mail address.

The form should be the 3-part essay where you consider the thesis or pro-argument, the antithesis or con-argument and the synthesis or conclusion, the argument where the two sides meet. This argument should be 4 paragraphs.

Include your name, works cited (2-3 sources) and an e-mail address.

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English 201B – MW – 1-3

Virginia Tech and the Gun Control Debate

Gun control is something that has been talked about for years in the U.S. The government would like to put much stronger restrictions on firearms because they feel it would reduce gun related violence. People who support the right to bear arms such as the National Riffle Association, feel that there shouldn’t be more stricter fire arm control laws because it goes against what they believe in. The tragic incident that took place at Virginia Tech has people on both sides thinking about the issues again.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1791 and 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” (Infoplease). According to the Webster Dictionary, Militia means “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call in an emergency”. When the Amendment was written, the U.S. had no trained military. They depended on men between the ages of 18-50 to protect the country against attack ( So it seems that the Amendment was written because at that time there was no military such as the Army, Navy and Marines. These days many people feel they need a gun to protect themselves.

Social factors like high unemployment rates, ethnic and religious prejudices, political unstableness, financial inequalities, not enough resources, and economic differences increase the possibility of gun violence. Some of the factors around violence include alcohol abuse, mental disorders, feelings of personal inadequacies and isolation, and an individual’s experience with violence in the home (Healthline). If you can get guns easy in these types of environments or when legislation is not stopping gun violence, injuries are probably going to happen. Yahoo News reported that a report in the New York Times said Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter, should not have been able to purchase guns from a local gun dealer or a local pawn shop because he had been diagnosed with mental illness and two years ago, a judge said he was “an imminent danger to himself”. Professors had also noticed he was disturbed, anti-social and possibly dangerous ( The judge was right and Cho ended up killing himself and other innocent people.

In 1871 the National Rifle Association was founded by Union soldiers Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis” (Infoplease). The NRA believes that most gun control legislation is dangerous because "it will lead the U.S. down a slippery slope to gun confiscation" (
In 1994, a study was done by the Center for Disease Control and showed the U.S. had the highest number of gun deaths (CBS News). I believe there should be stronger gun control legislation. The bottom line is if people want to get guns they will do it even if they have to obtain them illegally, steal them or get someone else to buy them.
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