A Rhetorical Analysis on the Issue of Gun Control

Gun control in America has been a much-debated topic in the past couple of years due to the frequency of mass shootings that occur in the country. Mass shootings is still a problem that we face today and as a result many Americans demand Congress take action to regulate the sale and distribution of firearms. Many Americans argue that Congress has not done enough to regulate gun distribution while groups such as the NRA or other American gun owners argue that an increase in gun regulation is a direct violation of their right to bear arms as stated in the second amendment. As an American citizen, it is important to understand both sides of the argument, what factors cause mass shootings, and what truly needs to be done to prevent future shootings from happening.


Source 1

America Can Prevent Shootings like Jacksonville. But It Must Come to Terms with Its Gun Problem by German Lopez

Summary: The article talks about America’s gun violence issue and the factors that contribute to this problem. Lopez argues that the problem comes down to five main points: America has a unique gun violence problem, the problem is guns, not mental illness, the research shows that gun control works, America isn’t enforcing gun control well, state and local actions are not enough, and America probably needs to go further than anyone wants to admit. For Americans to effectively prevent mass shootings, these five main points must be understood first.

Rhetorical Situation: This article was published shortly after the mass shooting that occurred at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Lopez states that since the unfortunate Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, over 1,800 shootings have happened. By stating this, he is arguing that mass shootings still occur frequently in America, and not much has changed since. To change this, the audience must understand Lopez’s five main points.

Audience: The target audience of this article would be American teens. By providing statistics of civilian firearms per 100 residents, homicide rates in industrialized countries, and homicide rates by firearms, Lopez shows the huge differences between America and other big nations. In doing so, Lopez effectively targets American citizens by showing Americans how far behind they are compared to other countries in preventing mass shootings. The article was published on Vox, a publication mainly read by teens and young adults.

Purpose: The author’s purpose for this article is to inform his readers that Americans must acknowledge the current problems within our society in order to prevent gun violence. Lopez argues that the United States has “the laxest gun laws of any wealthy country in the world”. He further provides evidence of the large number of homicides by firearms and the number guns owned per resident in America.

Genre: With statistics from organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the International Crime Victims Survey, and many other sources, the genre of the article is an informative essay. As Lopez provides evidence related to gun violence in America, he attempts to inform Americans about the current situation of the country’s gun issue. Lopez does not use informal language and does not address the reader directly.

Stance: Lopez is emphasizing the importance of gun control in America, and he believes that it is needed to prevent gun violence. He states, “if America wants to get to the levels of gun deaths that its European peers report, it will likely need to go much, much further on guns in particular.” The author is attempting to convince Congress to take action to prevent America from having such statistics as said in the article.


Source 2

My Father, a Judge, Said a Gun Control Case Was One of His Hardest. Now I See Why by Ian Urbina

Summary: The article is about the challenges that are faced when regulating guns and gun ownership. The author talks about his father and father’s job as a judge in the city of Washington. There has been debate over how gun control is necessary to prevent shootings, but at the same time violates an American’s rights to bear arms.

Rhetorical Situation: As more Americans become frustrated at Congress for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, Urbina attempts to explain the challenges that come with trying to regulate the distribution of guns. By writing about his father’s perspective, Urbina offers insight on how America’s justice system deals with cases of gun violence.

Audience: Urbina’s audience are young Americans that protest for stricter gun control laws. As a reporter for the New York Times, Urbina has written extensively on criminal justice issues and states that “I was aware of the arguments for and against regulating firearms partly because my father was a federal judge who handled one of the seminal cases in the city’s fight over gun rights” and “Washington’s history of gun violence has contributed to local residents’ push for more controls”. Writing about his father’s experience as a judge allows him to educate his audience more about the gun regulation process.

Purpose: The author’s purpose is to educate readers about the gun regulation process and to provide arguments for and against gun control. Urbina does this by presenting multiple cases where gun regulation laws were debated. Urbina states “In 2008, the Supreme Court had ruled that the city’s handgun ban, and specifically the requirement that lawfully owned rifles and shotguns be kept unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock, violated [the Second Amendment]”. The purpose of included cases in this article is to show readers the different sides of the argument. While an increase in gun control can prevent mass shootings, it leads to the violation of the Second Amendment.

Genre: The genre of this article would be a Times Insider article. According to the New York Times, “Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion come together at The New York Times.” Urbina is attempting to inform readers about the challenges a lawmaker can face when it comes to gun regulation. When it comes to gun regulation, the justice system can be very divisive, as both sides make compelling arguments of how guns should be regulated. Urbina offers readers a perspective of this through his father.

Stance: Urbina believes that Congress’s efforts in regulating guns have not been very effective. He talks about the mass shooting in Washington in October 2002 and how it was frustrating to track down the suspects due to the lack of information in the federal ballistics database. Urbina covered this case in 2006 and arguing for “need for better tracking of ammunition”.


Source 3

Do Gun Owners Want Gun Control? Yes, Some Say, Post-Parkland by Jess Bidgood and Sabrina Tavernise

Summary: As the number of mass shootings in America is on the rise, many have taken on to the streets to protest for stricter gun laws. This article talks about the views of American citizens who own guns in their households. Many gun owners believe they should be responsible for advocating gun control in America while others believe protesting will cause more tension between gun and non-gun owners.

Rhetorical Situation: As more and more protests occur throughout the country pushing for more strict gun laws to prevent shootings, there has seem to be a rift between gun owners and non-gun owners. With the N.R.A. receiving more support and Congress not taking enough action to regulate gun distribution, it can be easy for the pro-gun control side to despise those who own guns. The article is meant to shed light on a less talked about community; those who own guns and strongly favor gun control.

Audience: The target audience of this article are gun owners and Americans that are pro-gun control. The article makes a claim about how important it is for gun owners to speak out. By including viewpoints of gun owners, the authors explain that the gun owners should be the ones advocating for the safety of these weapons.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to explain to readers that although the N.R.A. continues to oppose pro-gun control laws, there are some who own guns that support stricter gun laws and policies, as it states “But interviews with two dozen gun owners around the country found what polls have shown — that many of them are firm supporters of some gun control measures.” The authors talk about the rift between gun owners and non-gun owners and how they’re so divisive due to the viewpoints of those in the N.R.A. The authors provide readers with the viewpoints of gun owners who support gun control to educate people that the N.R.A. does not represent all of the gun owning community.

Genre: The genre would be a profile and interview. The authors provide the readers with many personal anecdotes from gun-owners they’ve interviewed, such as Tom Galinat, a farmer with nine guns that wants Congress to ban high-capacity magazines. They provide viewpoints of multiple gun owners, both in and out of the N.R.A., and their opinions on the gun control debate.

Stance: The authors want to let readers know that there are exceptions within the gun owning community. They believe that non-gun owners should listen to the arguments raised by gun owners despite their affiliation with the N.R.A. Many owners are hesitant to speak out on the issue since many non-owners are quick to disagree with their arguments.

Source 4

The effects of gun control on crimes: a spatial interactive fixed effects approach by Wei Shi and Lung-fei Lee

Summary: This paper is about the effect of right-to-carry laws on crimes. As states continue to pass more and more right-to-carry gun laws, the number of American citizens who own guns in their households has risen. This has resulted in higher crime rates within the states with right-to-carry gun laws compared to the states with no right-to-carry laws. The report examines change in average crime rates as policies pertaining right-to-carry guns laws change.

Audience: The target audience of this article would be other scholars researching issues pertaining to gun control and gun distribution policies. As this article is mainly evidence based, other researchers can use this to further learn about the effect gun control has on crime.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to inform readers about the effect of right-to-carry laws on crime rates and to find a conclusion based on evidence of average violent crime rates over time. The authors found that an increase in right-to-carry laws “has no significant effects on the overall violent crime or property crime rates”.

Genre: The genre is a research article, as the authors research the effect a certain policy has on a certain region. By using spatial panel data, where data over specific regions (in this case, areas where right-to-carry laws have passed) are recorded over time, the researchers are able to see how the policy effects crime rates.

Stance: The authors has a neutral stance, as they only provide evidence and draw conclusions based on the evidence. The authors do not provide their opinions, but rather explain the effects gun control has on crime.

Relationships between the Rhetorical Elements of the Sources

All the sources relate to each other in that they all attempt to explain what causes gun violence in America. The sources have similar purposes; to give readers further insight on America’s gun control issue and what can be done to prevent incidents from happening. The first two sources are similar genre as both provide readers with information on America’s current situation with gun control. Aside from the fourth source, the authors of the first three sources all agree that gun control is a serious issue to be debated, and that Congress must take further action to prevent future shootings and improve society.

Works Cited

Lopez. “America Can Prevent Shootings like Jacksonville. But It Must Come to Terms with         Its Gun Problem.” Vox, Vox, 27 Aug. 2018,    www.vox.com/2018/8/27/17785896/jacksonville-landing-mass-shooting-gun-violence.

Shi, Wei, and Lung-fei Lee. “The effects of gun control on crimes: a spatial interactive fixed         effects approach.” Empirical Economics, vol. 55, no. 1, 2018, p. 233+. Academic  OneFile,            http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A547500089/AONE?u=cuny_ccny&sid=AONE&x            d=765cd414. Accessed 12 Sept. 2018.

Urbina, Ian. “My Father, a Judge, Said a Gun Control Case Was One of His Hardest. Now I          See Why.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Sept. 2018,   www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/insider/ian-urbina-father-gun        control.html?login=email&auth=login-email.

Bidgood, Jess, and Sabrina Tavernise. “Do Gun Owners Want Gun Control? Yes, Some Say,         Post-Parkland.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2018,            www.nytimes.com/2018/04/24/us/gun-owners-laws-parkland.html.