Gun violence is a crime committed using firearms. In his article, “Our Blind Spot About Guns,” Kristof argues that gun violence is rampant in us due to the lack of strict laws regulating the acquisition of guns. The author argues that if there were strict laws regulating the purchase of firearms, then gun violence cases would reduce. The author equates it to the case of automobiles which used to cause many accidents (Kristoff, 2019). With the enactment of regulatory measures, the number of accidents gradually reduced. Kristof proposes that politicians enact strict laws to regulate the acquisition of firearms. This paper will focus on the need for gun control measures proposed by Kristoff.
Kristoff’s article focuses on gun violence and the need to control it. The author introduces the argument by referring to the ancient people and the introduction of automobile legislation. Automobiles used to cause many accidents before the introduction of the bill. The people proposed the introduction of regulatory laws to help reduce accidents. The enactment of the rules has gradually decreased the number and severity of car accidents. Kristoff stresses that he is not against gun ownership but instead advocates for a thorough background analysis of the individual who has applied for gun ownership. In addition, the author cites an ancient city that imposed gun acquisition regulations. The author concludes by urging the government to enact strict gun violence control measures to combat gun violence.
The author’s writing style is very engaging and personal. The author does an excellent job of making his argument relatable and understandable. For example, the author writes about his experience as a gun owner and how he felt after a mass shooting. The author’s expertise makes the writing style very effective in persuading readers to think about guns differently. However, Kristoff’s writing style heavily relies on emotion to make points. While the use of emotions can be effective, it can also be off-putting to readers who are already skeptical of his argument. In addition, Kristoff’s use of statistics can be confusing and overwhelming (Kristoff, 2019). He would benefit from simplifying his data and using it to support the points rather than relying on it to make his argument. Overall, the author’s writing style is very effective in persuading readers to think about guns differently. However, the author could benefit from simplifying data and using it to support points rather than relying on it to make his argument.
According to Kristof, in the past, weapons and guns were used mainly for hunting to get food, for self-defense, for law enforcement by the government, for the acquisition or defending of a sphere of influence, and to enslave people or liberate them. Guns were mainly used for recreational purposes leading to the assumption that they were not warfare tools. The technology used to make the first guns were simple since they were primarily meant for simple tasks and were rarely effectively challenged by comparable defense countermeasures. Many people who acquired guns in the past intended to use them for recreation, primarily for hunting (Kristoff, 2019). However, over time technology has advanced, making guns more warfare weapons than objects for entertainment. People started acquiring guns for self-protection. However, some people received guns and started using them for criminal activities like homicide, assaults, and robberies.
I agree with the author that there is a need to enact strict regulations regulating the acquisition of firearms. The author argues that gun violence is persistent due to the lack of strict rules. The government should enact strict checks on the purchase of guns. There are only two requirements that one must meet to buy a gun in the United States, one must have attained the age of eighteen years old, and he cannot be a criminal. Americans assume that successfully passing background check ensures no possible involvement in criminal activity. In addition, there is no waiting period to buy a gun, no requirement for a license, and no mandatory gun safety training (Salari et al., 2020). In some states, no permit is required to carry concealed firearms (Greene-Colozzi & Silva, 2022). In the U.S., buying a gun is more accessible than getting a driver’s license.
In the U.S., it is far too easy for people with mental illnesses to access firearms. Mentally ill people do not know the consequence of their actions. They also do not know what they are doing and can quickly shoot an individual. The effect of mentally ill individuals having guns can be seen in the case of the shooting in 2007 at Virginia Tech, in which a mentally ill student shot 32 people (Kristoff, 2019). In addition, it is also easy for drunkards to acquire firearms. Most individuals under the influence of alcohol are likely to shoot others when less provoked. Minors can easily access firearms illegally. The government should enact strict measures such as banning certain weapon and magazine types and expanding access to psychological well-being facilities.
Prohibiting assault arms and high-capacity magazines is one step toward reducing gun violence. The danger of high-capacity magazines can be shown in a case that involved mass shootings in Las Vegas (Greene-Colozzi & Silva, 2022). The gunman, Stephen Paddock, used a semi-automatic rifle to kill fifty-eight people and injure more than five hundred. In the aftermath of the shooting, there were the usual calls for thoughts and prayers (Kristof, 2019). Strict punishment should be meted upon individuals possessing assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to serve as an example to individuals who may harbor similar thoughts.
Improving access to mental health care can help reduce gun violence. Kristof cites several studies that show a correlation between mental illness and gun violence and argues that better psychological well-being enables a reduction in mass shooting rates. Kristof notes that most mass shooters do not have a history of mental illness but argues that better mental health care can help reduce violence in society. Kristof argues that the current mental health care system in the United States is woefully inadequate and that many people who need help do not have access to it. He argues that there is a need to invest more in mental health care and make it more accessible to people who need it (Kristof, 2019). The author claims that there is a need to do more to address the social and economic factors that can lead to mental illness, such as poverty and racism.
Kristof’s intended audience includes citizens concerned about gun violence, including anti-gun activists and gun owners. Some of the author’s points and arguments rely on singular cases, which may be considered inferential. The author generalizes gun violence to any citizen who has a gun, not considering responsible gun owners, presenting an uncomfortable precedent for “cause and effect” speculations in controversial topics. Although many citizens would argue that they use guns for self-defense, according to the author’s research, only a few gun owners use guns for self-defense. Most gun users are involved in criminal activity, which can be seen in U.S. gun homicide per capita statistics. In 2015, there were thirteen thousand two hundred and eighty-six deaths from gun violence (Richmond & Forman, 2019). Countries with more strict gun ownership laws have historically had much lower levels of gun violence. Easy availability of guns, lack of proper licensing procedures, and poor governmental control over firearms distribution should be addressed before debating whether gun ownership restrictions can be considered a breach of one’s constitutional rights or personal freedom.
The article by Kristof suggests that gun violence in the U.S. is caused by factors such as the high levels of poverty and inequality in the United States, which often leads to desperation and frustration that can lead to violence. Additionally, the high levels of gun violence in the United States are often linked to mental illness. Many of the people who commit gun violence are not in a mentally healthy state, and this can contribute to the problem. The lack of extensive and meticulous background checks in the gun licensing procedure, the consequent high distribution of licensed and unlicensed guns around the country, and a lack of adequate social policies should be addressed. The government should enact measures that regulate gun acquisition and use. However, the measures should not infringe on the constitutional liberties of Americans.
Greene-Colozzi, E. A., & Silva, J. R. (2022). Contextualizing firearms in mass shooting incidents: A study of guns, regulations, and outcomes. Justice Quarterly, 39(4), 697–721. Web.
Kristof, N. (2019). Our blind spot about guns. The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings, 3(14), 177–180.
Salari, S., LeFevre Sillito, C., & Allen, T. (2020). U.S.A. violent cause mortality: Analysis of trends and the political controversies of prevention. Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 7(4), 227–246. Web.
Richmond, T. S., & Forman, M. (2019). Firearm violence: A global priority for nursing science. Journal of nursing scholarship, 51(3), 229–240. Web.