Gun Control: Full Auto

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Over the past years, reports of mass shootings in the United States have become common headliners for news and people believe preventive actions need to be taken. These reports, such as the Las Vegas music festival shooting, the Virginia Tech school shooting in 2007, and the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting, prompted people to take sides and propose reasonable arguments to discuss preventative measures. These mass shootings are all different and complex events that influence people to question the possession of firearms, but this debate can be easily skewed to one side and misinterpreted if some details are missed.

In this debate, there are two positions that are most popular. On one side, the pro-gun control group call for gun law revision because they see flaws in what the Constitution states in the Second Ammendment. Their motive is to ban certain types of weapons or weapon modifications in order to decrease gun-related deaths in the United States. On the other hand, the anti-gun control group argue that the Second Amendment is still valid and vital to citizens’ rights. They have a similar goal which is to protect the lives of American citizens and keep America safe. In my opinion, American citizens have the right and the privilege to possess a legal firearm and their rights should not be taken away. However, I believe the minimum age to purchase a firearm should be raised to 21 and implemented at a federal level in order to apply to all of the U.S.

It is important to first understand the situation that we have and understand some information of gun purchases. In the United States, people are allowed to own firearms, unlike other countries, for personal use and are easily accessible for purchase at local gun shops. Firearms are also traded and bought in other places such as gun shows and through online stores. In some transactions, restrictions are required to verify that the customer is qualified and suitable for the weapons they plan to acquire. These limitations depend on whether or not the customer is of legal purchasing age, owns a gun permit or gun license, and passes a background check. It is important to note that these restrictions vary based on the state that they live in.

The Second Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, which is analyzed by both sides, states that, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (U.S. Const. amend. II). It is important to note that there are two parts to this; one part addresses a militia to ensure that a tyrant government would be opposed by its population (Mcnamara 2017) and the other to state that confiscation of personal firearms is illegal. Any argument against the ownership of weapons would therefore insist on the removal of the Second Amendment because of the conflicting statements of owning a firearm between the arguer and the Constitution. This law was made for the protection of its citizens. By removing the Amendment, it would leave many people defenceless against many threats, including the government.

In the eyes of many anti-gun control activists, their opposition, the pro-gun control side, lacks the proper knowledge of firearm terminology and do not know the process that one goes through in order to purchase a weapon. For instance, the correct definition for an assault rifle states that it is a weapon that is capable of firing multiple rounds in automatic, burst, or semi-automatic mode that are fed from a disposable magazine with a simple pull of the trigger (Morgan 21-22). The three types of gun firing rates are semi-automatic, burst fire, and fully automatic. Fully automatic is capable of firing all of the rounds in a magazine as long as the trigger is held down; burst fire meaning that with a single pull of the trigger, a small number of bullets are fired. The last firing mode is semi-automatic where with each pull of the trigger, a single bullet is fired. Some politicians used the term “fully semi-automatic” which is clearly made up. The definition of firearms is very important because it established the foundation of this entire argument and clears up any confusion on the firerates of firearms.

Similarly, most people assume that full-auto weapons are used in mass shootings, but they mostly occur with semi-automatic pistols. Fully-automatic firearms are less commonly used because fully automatic weapons have been strictly banned from production. The only legal fully automatics are machine guns that were manufactured before 1983; any other modern fully automatic gun has been banned in the U.S. In addition, the ones that people are able to purchase come at a very high expense and strict limitations. This evidence clearly shows how some pro-gun law activists do not know about the real weapon used in mass shootings.

Many people on the pro-gun control side give the argument that most of the gun deaths occur from a mass shootings because of the relevance of the news and mainly focus on the negative firearms statistics(e.g. deaths, robberies, mass shootings). Most people think that most gun deaths are caused by mass killings, but according to Mathew Bowen’s article, “Suicides account for 61 % of all firearm fatalities in the United States in 2010 as recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Injury 2015)”(2016). Less than 40 percent of all gun related deaths are caused by mass shootings, and even still we are combining mass shootings with defensive uses and gang related violence. For this reason, it invalidates the argument that mass shootings produce the most deaths because far fewer people are killed in mass shootings than self inflicting deaths.

Based on the previous article mentioned, it brings forward the problem of mental health. For instance, the Virginia Tech perpetrator was a mentally ill college student who did not seek medical attention and suffered from severe anxiety. Even if the main cause of the mass shooting was that the shooter was mentally ill, the news and politicians focus on the weapon of choice. They do not take the state of the individual into consideration. I believe that the reports should be done similar to how car crash summaries are given. In car crashes, the news report covers the state of the individual, such as if they were under the influence but never cover the type of car (Morgan 24). In this case, the car has nothing to do with the deaths. Even if the car has the potential to harm or was not working properly, the car is disregarded. With this logic, the car, much like a gun, is just a tool that a person can use and the situation should be focused on the person in the driver’s seat and how they use the said tool.

On the anti-gun control side, it is clear the majority of gun owners claim they rely on firearms for instant protection when law enforcement is minutes away in a situation where every second counts. In a debate over gun control, Dr Kates refers to defending against break-ins by saying:

While armed criminals commit thousands of crimes per year, armed citizens foil many of those crimes [9]. According to a study by Kopel and colleagues, “firearms are used over half a million times a year against home invasion burglars; usually the burglar flees as soon as he finds out that the victim is armed, and no shot is ever fired.” (Michael et al. 2013)

That is very meaningful and should not be ignored. The amount of times a robbery is prevented with a firearm, is far greater than without one; it is in the defender’s best interest to gain the most advantage in this situation and should legally be allowed to do so. In this scenario, it is ideal for the victim of the robbery because they are safe, and the criminal hopefully learns to never commit crime in the future while they are spending time in jail. Furthermore, in the shooting in Texas in 2017, an NRA weapons instructor brought down the shooter that sprayed into a church and prevented any further deaths using a firearm. These two examples clearly show the potential for firearms when used properly for defense. Therefore, gun laws should not be made in reactionary response to a small percentage of gun related deaths caused by mass shootings. They should be made in consideration of all gun related situations while keeping the process of buying a firearm in mind.

There is the argument on the pro-gun laws side that states: “Acquiring a gun is too simple and easy to find loopholes in the system.” According to David DeGrazia, “The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act mandates background checks of gun buyers, but only if the seller is a licensed dealer; private sales, including those at gun shows and those conducted online, are exempt” (2). This means that people skip the detailed background checks that examines if the person has committed any crimes, has any charges of assault, has a drug use record, and many other things including mental illness records in order to prevent the purchase of firearms. Weapons bought without going through background checks are more likely to fall into the wrong hands and used for illegal activity. This is a problem and must be modified. The only possible change that I think could be done here would be to have every private or gun show weapon purchase be preceded by an online background check and authorized by the government. They would require a gun license or permit to proceed with the universal background check. In addition, they have to meet the minimum age of 21.

I believe that the legal age to buy a weapon should be the same for the drinking age for alcohol at 21. This is because young people lack the ability to make justified decisions and significantly rely on emotional response than their older counterpart (Lawrence O and Duranske). The legal purchasing age to buy a weapon has a lot of variance. It depends on what type of weapon the customer is buying, and what state they are in. In different states, the legal age to purchase a long gun, such as a shotgun or a rifle, is between 18 and 21 years old. The minimum age is 21 in order to buy a handgun in a majority of the U.S. Based on a study from Giffords Law Center, “In 2017, 36,024 young people between the ages of 10 and 21 were arrested for weapons offenses, such as illegally carrying or possessing a firearm. This group made up 28% of all arrests for weapons offenses that year” (2018). These young adults are still maturing and lack the knowledge of being a proper gun owner that respects the power of their weapon. Therefore, I believe that having the minimun age set to 21 for all states, would lower the amount of teens and young adults under 21 that are committing massacres in schools, ending their lives, getting arrested, or doing other idiotic actions they otherwise wouldn’t have done if they didn’t have a gun at such a young age.

A possible counter argument for this would be for hunters who are under 21 and want to experience hunting in the wild. Hunters are a big part of sustaining the population of certain animals that become a problem and bring the species’ numbers down to prevent damage done to the environment or other species. Many young people are accompanied with the more experienced and learn from a young age. How would they be able to go hunting for food, learn how to use a gun, and maintain the ecosystem’s wildlife with these new laws? The answer is that they would be still able to hunt and gain new experiences only if they have a hunting license and the proper training. Additionally, they would only be allowed to purchase low capacity weapons such as bolt action rifles and shotguns. This would allow young aspiring hunters the ability to pursue this hobby in a feasible way, allow them to hunt sustainably, and limit the amount of teens with weapons of higher capacity at the same time.

One radical proposition in this debate would be to ban all handguns in the U.S. Many people would not be happy about this and reject this idea for what it is because it has been done before. In Donald W. Bucker’s article, “Gun Control and Alcohol Policies”, he says:

In Great Britain, for example, homicide and other violent crime rates increased significantly after handguns were banned. Some back up this kind of argument by claiming that while gun ownership rates have steadily increased in the U.S., homicide rates have not followed the same pattern. (151)

It is true that in Great Britain, it lowered the amount of deaths by guns to a small amount, but the homicidal rate and deaths rose substantially. They removed the people’s main defence against criminals and gave the enemy a better outcome when committing crime. On the other hand, the U.S. saw an increase in gun ownership which led to a stable crime rate based on this article. The people with guns have more protection from threats and more likely to defend themselves. Furthermore, if the law completely eliminate the use of guns, criminals will find the next best thing to commit crimes like knives and hidden blades, which is what I assume happened during the gun ban in Great Britain. Not that many people are trained to fight against knives. Defending against an attacker with a knife is extremely difficult and involves more risk. Therefore, banning guns may result in more casualties and cases of abuse.

On a similar note, if further assault rifle laws are implemented, it could impact innocent law abiding citizens. Based on an article discussing whether the population should be allowed to own an assault rifle, Morgan Glen discusses how the news media misinformed the population of the damage of an AK-47 and stated, “This biased news coverage helped to hype the assault rifle ban, but the assault rifle ban had no effect on crime. Instead, people who had never committed a crime before were arrested for owning these weapons” (24). Having good intentions and trying to remove weapons from criminals, they arrested multiple innocent people. The citizens had the right to own those weapons and the state illegally took their privileges away from those innocent people. The ban backfired and leads me to believe that the ban should never have been passed.

People claiming that because AR-15s, short for ArmaLite Rifle 15 not “Assault Rifle 15”, are the main weapons in mass shootings, they should be banned or restricted in magazine capacity. They view the AR-15 as the most life threatening gun, but there are more weapons that are more powerful and more commonly used in mass shootings. There are plenty of other handguns and rifles, like the Desert Eagle and the AK-47, that use higher caliber ammunition. The AR-15 uses 5.56x45mm NATO rounds meanwhile the AK-47 uses 7.62x39mm rounds that are capable of doing serious damage on a target with its stopping power. Most mass shootings occur with the use of handguns and most gun owners, in general, depend on concealing a small firearm that is easy to use and reliable for protection. When taking a look at the magazine capacity of the AR-15, it can hold a standard of 5,10, 20 or 30 rounds and be increased with the help of larger capacity magazines. It is common for the military to bump it up to 100 rounds per magazine, and many people outside the military are buying them. This is what a majority of the pro-gun law activists fear the most.

Having more ammo means more opportunities for the shooter to kill innocent people. Without the gun jamming, the shooter is potentially able to end as many lives as they have ammo. For this reason, many people argue that a person should not be allowed to own magazines that store more than 10 bullets in a magazine because when limiting magazine capacity, it has a noticeable effect on the number of occurrences of shootings.

For example, a study done by Louis Klarevas, Andrew Conner, and David Hemenway, argues, “… in nonban states, 81% (34/42) of high-fatality mass shooting perpetrators used LCMs; in LCM-ban states, only 55% (10/18) used LCMs” (1757). In the study, they covered all the mass shootings that resulted in 6 or more deaths from around 1994 until 2017 and created a table noting each event. Coupled with the fact that their definition of a large capacity magazine, or LCM, was a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, the study had significant data that indicated the wide use of LCM’s. Thus claiming that the ban would cause less deaths per mass shooting.

In response to the article, I would take a step back and look at this from a lawful approach. The second half of the Second Amendment in the Constitution says that we have the right to bear arms and it shall not be infringed. However, the magazine is one of the major components to a firearm. If someone wants to put 30 rounds into their guns, then they should be allowed to do so because it is their gun and they have rights. I believe that restrictions placed on magazine capacity would be breaking the laws of the Second Amendment.

In addition, if all of the God given rights are to be equally valuable, then it would make sense if we compared the right to bear arms to the freedom of speech. People have the right to use whatever gun, ammunition, and magazine size they want just like how it is a right for people to express themselves in their own ways out in public. Based on this logic, if magazine restrictions are put into action, it would be as unconstitutional as if you were restricted to just 10 minutes a day for open self expression.

To summarize my belief, I believe that every U.S. citizen has the right to legally own, possess, and use a firearm. Firearms help protect innocent lives from potential threats such as home invasions, abuse, rape, as well as other gun owners. As mass shootings are brought to the attention of many people by unreliable news sources, many people are led astray from the full story. The common problems in the gun laws debate lie within the misconceptions that pro-gun law activists have on factual evidence. The percentage of mass shootings from total deaths by a gun is miniscule compared to the percentage of gun assisted suicide and gang related violence.

Based on an analysis in Great Britain, if more restrictions on guns are passed in the U.S., to the point where guns are banned, there will be a higher amount of homicides and people left defenceless in America. Also, some believe that the AR-15 should be banned because of its common use in school shootings and magazine size.

However, the majority of school shootings occur using handguns of equal or lower caliber. I believe that the magazine size should not be limited because the magazine is a major part of the gun. Any limitations on firearms would be an attack on the freedom of the country and a violation to the Constitution. This is because the Second Amendment, along with the rest of the Constitution, grants every legal citizen birth rights and the right to bear arms. Lastly, a call to have the minimum age set to 21 across the United States would restrict the number of young individuals from owning a firearm and committing acts of violence, leading to a safer environment for schools and lower suicide rates.


Cite this paper

Gun Control: Full Auto. (2020, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gun-control-full-auto/



Can any gun be full auto?
No, not every gun can be full auto. Only certain firearms that are designed and modified to fire continuously with a single pull of the trigger can be classified as full auto.
Is it legal to buy a fully automatic weapon in Texas?
Yes, it is legal to buy a fully automatic weapon in Texas. There are some restrictions, such as a ban on purchasing automatic weapons that were manufactured after 1986, but overall it is a legal process.
When were fully automatic weapons banned in the US?
The National Firearms Act of 1934 placed strict regulations on the sale and ownership of fully automatic weapons in the United States. The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned the manufacture of new fully automatic weapons for civilian use.
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