An Argument in Favor of Molly Ivins Argument That Guns Are Not the Answer for Self Defense

Molly Ivins tells us in her essay, Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of Guns, that she is “not antigun, but proknife” (323). She states that knives are the better option for self defense and that the processes for obtaining a gun should be similar to those for obtaining a driver’s license. I agree with this point of view. However, most of the population is able to earn a driver’s license and I believe that having access to a gun should be much more difficult. Many people may know the safety rules of owning a gun but decide not to follow them, just like speeding is not following the law of driving. I also see the other side of the argument that says that if there are more people that own guns for protection, less burglaries and murders are likely to happen (Scott 1). With this, I think that we need to provide a way to offer protection, without offering a gun as protection to those who might not be mentally or emotionally stable to own one. I also realize the difficulty the black market places on this issue, but I believe that there is a way to overcome even that. Along with that, there is a discipline that needs to take place in order to overcome this hurdle.

Ivins relates the idea of cars and how we “license them and their owners, restrict their use to presumably sane and sober adults, and keep track of who sells them to who” (324) to the issue of gun control. She, along with many others, believes that there should be more restrictions to receiving a gun. In some states, it is required for a gun purchaser to take a safety course along with other requirements (Vernick 85). This safety class seems like a good idea because we want the people carrying guns to handle them with care. Although this is logical, it does not address the issue of intended harm. A gun user may be able to recite all of the safety rules that they learned in their class, but defy them anyways in order to pursue harm. How do we ensure that the people we are trusting with guns are not using them for harm even when they know the safety precautions to handling a gun with care? Mores states in his article, Rampage. Regret. Repeat., that while on duty as a paramedic, his first shooting call was a husband killing his wife in front of their child(1). While reading this story, the thought that at any moment a trusted gun carrier can turn into an emotional wreck hit me.

The father and husband of this story could have gone through the tests that are recommended or may have not. However, if he did, it was possible that those tests could not have predicted an emotional outburst that resulted in death. After viewing the negative effects of guns, I would like to talk about the idea that owning a gun is for protection and can actually reduce the amount of crime in America. In the article, Gun Control Leads to More Crime, Not Less, the author tells us that “if responsible citizens are allowed to arm themselves, crime rates will fall” (Morse 1). He supports his idea by giving the statistic, “burglars are less than half as likely to break into a home if they suspect the occupant is present and even less likely if they think the resident is armed” (Scott 1). With this, how are we making it clear to the public that the person who owns the home is armed? Along with this question, is it possible for homes to show that they own a gun when in reality, it is not true? This would trick potential burglars into thinking that houses with this sign would be dangerous to enter illegally. Whether the house actually does or does not would not be known to the burglar until they entered the house.

At this point, I would assume that many people would not want to take the chance of being shot, therefore would not enter homes illegally. This idea would provide protection and would also reduce the need for guns, which would also reduce the amount of killings due to outbursts of emotion. This solution would be ideal for those who applied for a gun license but could not get one due to the high restrictions and tough requirements that I believe should be in place because it would still provide protection. I also realize that if we illegalize guns in America, they can be sold on the black market and most likely will. This is a problem that is occurring now and will most likely get worse if we abolish the right to bear arms for the individual. However, I believe that this is a problem that the government will have to face after they decide to regulate gun control. Although we do not see a solution for this problem in the present day, I believe that if we tackle one step at a time, then the result will be for the better of America. Ivins states that if we abolish guns and increase the use of knives instead, there will be more benefits for our society (324). Ivins also says that “guns [are] literally the power to kill” (324) and that “power without discipline is making this society into a wreckage” (324).

This statement goes back to the story that I told earlier about the husband killing his wife. This is a story of a man taking the responsibility of power that was handed to him and abusing it. If we were stricter on whom we hand guns to, then they would not end up on the black market and this power would not be given to those who abuse power. I know that this idea will not produce an instant change in society, but it is a start. With this same quote from Ivins, I want to pick out the word “discipline” and what that means to us. How do we discipline those who have the capability to use power in a destructive way? I believe that discipline is a great idea but I am not completely sure what that discipline would look like. Maybe in order to discipline those who hold power, we need to distinguish those who know the responsibility of holding a gun from those who know the responsibility but decide to defy the law anyway. This is a big concern because we cannot predict the future behavior of those who purchase a gun today. I would suggest that distinguishing these two groups would be possible by enforcing a type of discipline that looks like yearly checkups on those who purchase guns, so that we are able to see who is not mentally stable or in line with the law after they buy a gun. This would protect America and also enforce the discipline that we talked about earlier. Ivins makes her case that guns are not the answer and I would say that I agree with her on a lot of points.

In order to keep order within America we really need to strictly monitor those who we give guns to and present them with more thorough mental tests and background checks. These tests and background checks also need to happen every year and not just before we give a gun away. It may not be easy to distinguish those who will abuse power from those who are responsible enough to be trusted but we have to take a step further than where we are currently at in order pursue security in our country. Those who want to own a gun for protection should have to go through these tests and if they do not pass due to the high requirements that I believe should be in place, they should be provided with an option of security that is just as safe as a gun would be.

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