Today, gun control is under discussion everywhere. All the tragic gun violence-related events that took place recently and not so recently led not only to grief but to all sorts of speculation on all levels. The topic has become so widely discussed that everyone has something to say on it: from the social science scholars to the celebrities. So, given the actuality of the issue, it is only logical that students are often given assignments to write gun control essay, to investigate this pressing question, and to share their opinions in this regard.
While everybody agrees that mass shootings should not happen, the gun control as a means to cope with this problem is a controversial approach that polarizes our society. Some people adopt the pro gun control approach, speaking in favor of regulating the individual gun possession more strictly or even banning it, some stand on anti gun control positions and say that guns should be made available to everyone to grant all individuals the opportunity to protect themselves from criminals, others stand somewhere in the middle ground between these two extremes.
It is always best to look at where the issue begins. In this case, we have to look as far back in time as 1791 when the Second Amendment was passed as an integral part of the Bill of Rights, allowing individuals to possess firearms. Of course, much time has passed since then, and the spirit of the Second Amendment has been clarified multiple times by court precedents, but apparently, it is not enough, given the fact that the discussion is still far from being concluded. Since the discussion goes on, there is still a lot to say on the topic, and this is why gun control essay remains a popular assignment in high schools and universities alike. You probably already have an opinion on the issue – either you are pro gun control, or anti. Either way, there is enough material out there not only for a five-paragraph essay for high school but also for much more serious academic papers – with the overwhelming amount of material, you could even write a dissertation about it if you want.
Gun control is such a broad topic that a gun control essay can be virtually anything. The issue can be seen from so many angles and discussed on so many levels, that you can tackle such an issue however you like in your essay. As a student, you know that there are several kinds of essays which differ in their form, content, and purpose. Gun control essays are no exception. Here are the kinds of essays that you may be assigned to write on gun control:
Descriptive gun control essay. A descriptive essay is where you describe the topic in terms of senses. In our case, you write about the images, sounds, or even smells you can associate with the total absence of individually possessed firearms or with their overwhelming amounts.
Definition gun control essay. A definition essay is set to define the notion of its topic. In this case, you will talk about what a gun control is. It is not unlike an article in a dictionary.
Compare and contrast gun control essay. A compare and contrast essay describes the differences and similarities between the two issues. In our case, you can – for example – talk about how different are the people of opposing standpoints on gun control.
Cause and effect essay on gun control. A cause and effect essay takes a certain event (existing or suggested) and investigates its consequences. Here, you can, for example, talk about what would total ban on individual firearm possession lead to.
Narrative gun control essay. A narrative essay tells a story. You can write about your or someone else’s true or hypothetical experience related to gun violence.
Process gun control essay. A process essay basically talks about how to do something, how to reach point B from point A. For example, your point A can be where the mass shootings are possible, and point B – where they are impossible.
Argumentative gun control essay . An argumentative essay is where you convince your reader that your argument is valid. In this case, you substantiate your stand on gun control.
Critical gun control essay. A critical essay discusses the advantages and disadvantages of its subject. You can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a certain approach to gun control.
Expository essay on gun control. An expository essay sets out to describe the issue in its current state, without any evaluations. Here, you can talk about the current state of the gun control regulations.
Persuasive gun control essay. A persuasive essay is where you have to convince an opponent that you are right. For example, you can try and convince a pro gun control lobbyist that strict regulations are not the answer to a problem.
Evidently, gun control as an essay topic gives the most fertile ground for persuasive and argumentative essays. So, these are the most common kinds of essays that students have to write on gun control.
Usually, an exciting argumentative essay starts with a controversial topic that suggests two (or more) polar opinions on it. Anything related to gun control can be classified as such so you won’t need to worry about that. With gun control, it should not pose any problem. Next, an argumentative essay suggests that you don’t stay neutral throughout your writing. You do have to avoid any emotional language, but you still need to have your own argument on the issue. Given the controversial nature of the topic, this should also pose no problem: either you write a pro gun control argumentative essay, or anti. The next thing you do is collect evidence to support your argument. This may include collecting evidence in support of the opposing argument for you to rebuke. There is a lot of material on both sides of the argument, so even an extensive research for your gun control argumentative essay should not be too challenging.
Once you have conducted your research, it is time to start writing. Just as any other essay, an argumentative essay on gun control comprises of three parts: the introducing paragraph, the main body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraphs. In the introducing paragraph, you present your topic to the reader by giving some relevant background information and stating your standpoint on the issue in your thesis statement. The main body of your essay will consist of three parts: your standpoint on the issue, the opposing standpoint, and the explanation why your standpoint is right and why the opposing one is wrong. In the conclusion of your gun control argumentative essay, you briefly re-state your standpoint and why it is the right one.
Persuasive essays are largely similar to argumentative ones, so much that it may be difficult to pinpoint the difference at first. This difference mainly lies in the ways by which you prove the rightness of your claim. Let us take a closer look at these ways.
The commonly accepted classification suggests three main methods of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos employs logic to appeal to the reader's rationality. Pathos uses the irrational and appeals to emotion. Ethos employs authority and appeals to the sense of ethics. As we have mentioned, an argumentative essay focuses on proving the rightness of your argument rationally - so, it employs logos as the only method of persuasion.
In a persuasive essay, on the other hand, you focus on your result - persuading your reader. Thus, you can employ whichever of the three methods of persuasion you like in any combination.
When we talk specifically about gun control, it is a heavily emotional topic, so it is hard to stick to dry facts and logic exclusively. So, when writing a gun control persuasive essay, not only logical but also ethical and emotional appeal is probably much easier than writing an argumentative essay and sticking to logic. Consequentially, an argumentative essay suggests that you use neutral language at all times, whereas in a persuasive essay you can relax and write in moderately emotional language here and there.
The writing and pre-writing processes for a persuasive essay will not be different from those for an argumentative one: you formulate your topic, you give a background on it, you state your position in the debate, you conduct a research to gain and present a deep understanding of both opinions - and then you explain why your opinion is right and the opponent one is wrong.
As we have discussed, gun control is an extremely broad and multi-angled topic. Naturally, it is much bigger than one can cover in any essay, and you can investigate this topic in a gun control research paper or even bigger academic papers. If you choose to write a research paper on gun control, however, you will still find that the topic is too broad and you will have to narrow it down according to your personal and academic interest. Still, if you find a particular gun control-related topic interesting, it is not enough to make a good topic for a research paper. It also has to be original, i.e., exciting not only to you but to your reader as well.
On the bright side, you usually will not have to pick a fixed topic and stick to it. At the initial stage of your work, you can formulate your subject somewhat vaguely and specify and adjust the topic to your liking with the course of your research.
Another distinct feature of a research paper is that it needs a presentable list of referenced sources. You do not have to stick to other authors' writing here. You are also allowed (often even encouraged) to get and use your own empirical findings.
One final thing that you need to know about a research paper is that it needs to focus on the research data - facts and analytics, rather than opinions and reflections - your own or those of other authors.
Gun control is one of those topics that encourage us to be biased and express opinions. Hence, there are lots of opinions on gun control out there - both pro and anti, - and most probably, you have one as well. However, when you are writing an academic paper, you cannot make your writing strictly opinion-based. Regardless of what kind of assignment you are writing, everything you write there has to refer to hard evidence. In other words, any kind of paper on gun control demands profound research. You need to be well informed about the background of the issue and both sides of the argument.
As you know, the very issue of individual firearm possession and its control date back to the late 18 th century and the famous Second Amendment. So, this is where you begin your research you should be familiar with the text of the Second Amendment. Given the amount of time that has passed since then, the understanding of the Second Amendment has evolved, which is marked by a number of notable court cases, about which you also need to be aware. The most significant of them include United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the United States v. Miller (1939), District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), McDonald v. The City of Chicago (2010), and others.
However, being familiar with the background of the issue will only make your own opinion more reasoned, and this is not enough to put together an academic paper. You will also need be familiar with the current line of thought in both pro and anti gun control directions. To do that, you should read the gun control articles and watch the documentaries on the issue from reputable news sources, such as Businessweek, New Yorker, Times, CNN, and others
Anti gun control articles are written by experts who are convinced that individual firearm possession should not be controlled more than it already is or should not be controlled at all. You can begin your research by looking through these articles:
5 Arguments Against Gun Control - And Why They Are All Wrong by Evan DePhilippis and Devin Hughes, LA Times
DePhilippis and Hughes have co-founded the site Armed With Reason to inform people about gun violence prevention. The article centers around the idea that introducing more strict gun control regulations does not decrease gun violence because criminals procure firearms illegally anyway.
Gun Control Isn't the Answer by James Q. Wilson, LA Times
Wilson is an author of several books on crime and teaches at Pepperdine University. The article blames the gun control lobby of populism and points out that they have no suggestions as to what to do with the existing amount of guns owned by individuals: "the genie is out of the bottle."
Why Gun Owners Are Right to Fight Against Gun Control by David T. Hardy, Reason.com
Hardy is an attorney from Arizona. He claims that as an anti gun control person, he is open to dialogue with the opponent side, which he cannot say about them. He claims that they are like fanatics on a crusade who will not stop until all individual firearm possession is banned.
"American Sniper" Widow: Gun Control Won't Protect Us by Taya Kyle, CNN
Taya Kyle is the widow of the late Chris Kyle whose story was the basis for the movie American Sniper. She wrote this emotional and insightful piece to express her views on the issue. If you want to read more about it, she also has written a book American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal.
A Criminologist's Case Against Gun Control by Jacob Davidson, Time
Davidson interviews James Jacobs, the director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law, to pinpoint the definition of gun control as exactly as possible and to question the most popular approaches to gun control. In this article, Davidson clarifies what gun control actually is and puts to question various popularly suggested gun control methods.
How Gun Control Kills by Jack Hunter, The American Conservative
Hunter serves as an aide to the conservative Senator Rand Paul. In his article, he claims that gun control lobbyists only notice the cases where mass shootings occur while ignoring the instances where well-intended gun-owning citizens have prevented crime and violence. He also lists some inspiring stories of the latter instances.
Pro gun control articles are written by people who are not enthusiastic about the current gun control policy and suggest that either it should be more strict, or individual firearm possession should be downright outlawed. Here are some of the most interesting examples:
Gun Control and the Constitution: Should We Amend the Second Amendment? by Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek
Barrett points out that the language of the Second Amendment is too vague, which leaves it too open to interpretation. The article calls for a completely new regulation that will be more precisely formulated and limit the individual firearm possession to the militia.
It's Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them by Phoebe Maltz Bovy, New Republic
Bovy claims that all the current talk around gun control is futile and pointless and that the only way to stop gun violence once and for all is to outlaw all individual firearm possession.
Battleground America by Jill LePore, The New Yorker
LePore takes an in-depth look into the issue, starting with the Second Amendment and investigating how our understanding of this document has evolved since then, also noting how guns are different today from what they were 200 years ago.
Why We Can't Talk About Gun Control by James Hamblin, The Atlantic
Before landing a job at The Atlantic, Hamblin was fired from his previous workplace for drafting a piece on draft control. He speculates that the people involved politicize the issue too much instead of discussing it as it is.
The article takes a look at the existing gun control regulations in California, known to be some of the most strict in the country. The authors evaluate the effectiveness of these laws and, through pointing out some loopholes, conclude that they are not strict enough.
4 Pro-Gun Arguments We're Sick of Hearing by Amanda Marcotte, Rolling Stone
It is surprising to find an insightful piece on gun control in such a magazine as Rolling Stone, but given how deeply this talk penetrates our culture, it is only logical for such piece to appear. Marcotte offers a somewhat "outsider" look and tells why the pro-gun arguments do not appeal to the audience to which they are supposed to appeal.