A Conservative Take on Gun Policy


Michelle Brodsky, News Editor

As we draw closer to the 2020 presidential election, political polarization in the United States has only intensified. Perhaps one of the most divisive issues, gun control policy, has risen to the forefront of political debate. While those on the left side of the political spectrum often assert that restricting a citizen’s Constitutional right to bear arms will save the lives of many, it is my assertion that this is actually erroneous and, in fact, represents nothing more than a political ploy.

According to studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, “lawful gun owners commit less than a fifth of all gun crimes, ” and over seventy-nine percent of guns used to commit crime are obtained in an illicit fashion (Ingraham, 2016). What this means is that enacting legislation to prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves is unlikely to reduce the amount of crime. Instead it will simply put innocent people into harm’s way, enabling criminals to commit heinous acts. Although the media tends to circulate a different message, ninety-eight percent of public shootings happen in “gun free zones.” When a person enters a location with the intention of committing a despicable act, they do so knowing that they will be able to execute said act. A gun free zone is nothing more than a sign displaying vulnerability (Pratt, 2019).

While the media would certainly beg to differ, the number of school shootings has actually not increased. What has increased, however, is the media’s coverage of gun-related violence. Mass shootings are a problem, as they long have been, but this does not mean that guns should be banned. Instead, it is imperative to look at the societal factors bringing about these bursts of violence. Why is it that people are so violent? Violence is the effect, but the cause is not the gun itself, much like a pool does not cause a child to drown. Issues like mental health stigma, fatherless homes, and moral decadence ought to be examined before an inanimate object is blamed for contemporary problems. Moreover, the media never covers the many occasions when firearms are used to save lives, a phenomenon which is more common than one might think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms are used sixteen to one hundred times more often to protect someone’s life, rather than to take it. From a Houston man using an AK-47 to ward off home invaders, to a Florida man using his AR-15 to fight off seven intruders, to a petite Maryland mother chasing three burglars out of her home simply by loading a round into the chamber of her gun, the examples are endless.

There is no room to deny that firearms can be used both viciously and inappropriately, but this is the case with almost everything else. A fork can be used to kill, as can a car, a pool, the stairs, or any other readily available good. What matters is the intention behind using the object, not the object itself. If the United States wants to fix its problem of “gun-related crime”, legislators should start solving real issues instead of looking for more ways to infringe on citizens’ rights (Pratt, 2016).