Take Away Their Guns

Wilson sides with the public, arguing that stricter gun control legislation is not the answer, but rather, believes “it should be to reduce the number of people who carry guns unlawfully/’ (Para. ). The essay is impressive but not conclusive for its view on gun control. When Wilson originally wrote this essay, it was for the New York Times Magazine on March 20, 1994 (Wilson 125). A magazine known for its series, professional journalism and devoted audience, unlike the satiric writing you would find in a newspaper column or tabloid magazine.

Wilson mainly uses his common sense, opinions and statistics to supply his evidence to build his argument. While I agree with Wilson, that stricter gun legislation is not the answer, I do not feel he chose nor presented his evidence strongly or effectively in his argument to convince me had I felt otherwise. In particular, there are two elements of his argument that I felt were vague, border lining weak, in his attempt to persuade me and the rest of his audience of his proposition to encourage police to make more street frisks as a resolution get illegal guns off the streets.

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The two elements or issues that am referring to are (1) obscurity in his details and (2) using surveys as a means to provide nationwide statistics. To summarize paragraph 2, of the estimated two percent of handguns in the country used to commit crimes, which comes to total of around only around of which are used by criminals were “purchased from a gun shop or pawnshop” (Para 2). He then goes on to say, “Most of the handguns, are stolen, borrowed, or obtained through private purchases that wouldn’t be affected by gun laws” (Para. 2).

Wilson does do a good job in convincing me that a relatively low percentage of handguns used for criminal use, procured through legal means, would be affected should gun legislation get stricter. While he did give us a total figure of the amount of guns in private use, he used the terms percent” and “one-sixth” for the rest of his figures, in particular when offering to illegal handguns and those used for criminal usage this seems to be an attempt at obscurity and it insults the reader by denying him or her the statistical figures, if there are any. Where did he get these estimates from in the first place? ” In his last sentence Of paragraph 2, he mentions, “obtained through private purchases that wouldn’t be affected by laws”, but if he is in fact referring to purchasing guns on the black market, then perhaps stricter gun legislation or rather law enforcement to that matter can help prevent guns getting sold by those means in the first place. In his following paragraph, Wilson then gives evidence from Gary Clock, who is a criminologist at Florida State University, and gets his estimates based on a household survey (Para 3).

Wilson is attempting here to convince his audience that, based on the survey, “the number of people that defend themselves with a gun exceeds the number of arrests for violent crimes and burglaries” (Para. 3). This evidence ties into later evidence in which he asserts, “self defense is a legitimate form of deterrence” (Para. 10). Wilson goes into using evidence from a National Crime Survey, concluding “people who reported that they defended homeless with a weapon were less likely to lose property in a robbery or be injured in an assault than those who did not defend themselves” (Para. 0). The problems with using these surveys are that they are both highly subjective and cannot at all be substantiated for the mere fact that surveys are completed on a voluntary basis. I, for one, never fill out home surveys. So there is no true way for the survey proctors or the writer utilizing the surveys, in this case, Wilson, to verify the authenticity of the results as it pertains to the national average or national standard.

If he is going to use any type of tactics or surveys, he should at least be using concrete data from federal and/or state law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI Annual Gun Crime Statistics Report that is available online on their website. Wilson does bring up a good point about the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, protecting people from unreasonable searches and seizures (Para. 5) in his case of encouraging police to make more street frisks.

He comes up with a reasonable solution implying having officers “trained to recognize the kinds of actions that the Court will accept as providing the reasonable suspicion accessory for a stop and frisk” (Para. 9). Wilson then suggests ‘that membership in a gang known for assaults and drug dealing could be made the basis, by statute or Court precedent, for gun frisks” (Para. 9). While I commend him on bringing up the People’s rights, by citing the Constitution against his own argument, he failed to use it on his own behalf with the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment 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” (Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America), and with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and subsequent Supreme Court rulings, states were prohibited from making or enforcing laws that infringe on most of the rights set out in the Bill of Rights.

It is because of these two amendments, that the federal government is having great difficulty changing gun laws. A simple argument or counter-argument is that it is unconstitutional in doing so, and doing so is to infringe on the people’s rights. In short, I think that Wilson has written an intriguing essay, and he does bring up some rather satisfactory purporti