Gun control is one of the most pressing issues today. In view of all the mass shootings that have taken place in our recent history, it is no wonder that this issue is becoming ever more widely discussed. It seems like everyone has a say here: the politicians, the social scholars, the media - both specialized and non-specialized ones, even the tabloid celebrities with a very superficial insight. To no surprise, high school teachers and college professors also ask the students to write gun control essay, among other pressing topics.
This is one of those issues that polarize the society, as there is an overwhelming amount of ways to approach the issue. There is the extreme anti gun control standpoint suggesting against any control over firearm turnover, there is the extreme pro gun control standpoint insisting on state monopoly on all gun possession, and all the wide variety of in-betweens.
If we try and look at the root of the issue, we see that it all comes down to the Second Amendment. It was passed back in 1791 as a part of the Bill of Rights. Given all the time passed since, it has naturally been clarified by numerous court cases and rulings since then. However, we still cannot see the end to this discussion, which means that the clarifications made are not nearly sufficient to conclude the issue once and for all. This, in turn, provides for a very fertile ground for discussion to you as a student who has to write a gun control essay. Regardless of which standpoint you take - pro or anti gun control, you will still have enough material not only for an essay but even for a Ph.D. dissertation if you choose so. So, at least, you will not have to worry about the lack of research material.
As you can see, there is a lot to be said in a gun control essay. The possible approaches to the issue may vary a great deal, but the topic itself is extremely broad - it has been under discussion on all levels for over 200 years and the discussion is still far from over! For you, as a student, it means that you can be assigned to write any kind of academic paper on this topic - from small gun control essays for high school and up to a master's thesis or even a Ph. D. dissertation. Let us take a closer look at some of these essay types:
Given the nature of our topic, it is most interesting to write argumentative and persuasive essays on gun control. Hence, these are the essays that students are most often asked to write on gun control.
The first thing you need for an excellent argumentative essay is an exciting topic with at least two conflicting standpoints. With gun control, it should not pose any problem. The next thing you need is a powerful argument. Obviously, for that, you need to adopt either a pro or an anti gun control standpoint. Notably, this choice will not always be up to you. Your teacher may ask you to write a pro gun control argumentative essay, even if do not share this opinion. In this case, you will still have to gather solid evidence to support your argument. You should think of it as valuable training. Besides, to write an excellent argumentative essay, you need a solid understanding of both "your" argument and the opposing one. So, on the bright side, you already have that.
Once you have that, you move on to research. As you may guess, you should not focus on your side of the argument exclusively. On the contrary, a strong gun control argumentative essay has to present two conflicting views on the issue. So, you have to conduct some research in both directions.
After conducting your research, you should outline your essay and move on to writing. Like any other essay, your argumentative essay on gun control will consist of three parts: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. The introduction is where you present your topic, some background information, and your opinion which you set out to prove in your essay. The main body is where you present both sides of the argument and your opinion on the issue along with an explanation of why you stand in favor of this particular opinion. Finally, you conclude your gun control argumentative essay with re-stating your opinion and pointing out why it makes sense.
On a first glance, a persuasive essay may seem not that much different from an argumentative one. However, there is a drastic difference between them. An argumentative essay focuses on proving your point logically, whereas a persuasive essay is aimed at convincing your reader that you are right. This may seem vague, so let us take a closer look.
There are three commonly accepted ways of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos appeals to the reader's sense of ethics and employs the author's authority on the issue. Pathos appeals to the reader's emotions and employs the irrational. Logos appeals to the reader's common sense and employs logic. In an argumentative essay, you are essentially limited to logos, whereas in a persuasive essay you can use all three methods of persuasion in any combination.
The tragic events that lead to the actuality of the gun control discussion are heavily loaded with both emotion and authoritative opinions. So, writing a gun control persuasive essay and using whichever methods of persuasion you like should be easier than writing an argumentative essay and using only logic and rationality. For example, in a persuasive essay, you can use somewhat emotional language which you are to avoid by all means in an argumentative essay.
As for the pre-writing and writing process, a persuasive essay will indeed be very similar to an argumentative one: you pick a polarizing topic and pick a side in the discussion, you conduct an extensive research of both viewpoints to gain the understanding of the opposing side to which you are to appeal, and then you proceed with the same steps that we have described earlier. The only distinguishing feature is that in your concluding paragraphs you not only explain why your standpoint is right but also dwell upon why the opposing standpoint is wrong.
As we have mentioned, gun control is a very broad topic, and if you choose (or have to) write about it, you can go as deep and as broad as you want. So, it can be a simple five-paragraph essay or a profound gun control research paper. However, a research paper is still too small a paper to cover all there is about gun control, so you will have to narrow down your topic. Hence, picking the right topic should be your first step. Your topic should not only be exciting to you, but the format of the research paper also demands that it was original - so that you had something new (or, at least, relatively new) to say about it.
Most likely, you can remain flexible about your topic up until the moment when you begin the actual writing. This means that in the course of your research you may come across some new data which will suggest a more exciting topic, so you should be ready for it and not be afraid to change the subject on the go.
The format of a research paper also suggests that you use more sources in your research than in a simple five-paragraph essay. Most often, you will have to cite at least five sources. Moreover, in a research paper, it is recommended to rely not only on printed materials but also on your empirical research.
To conclude, a research paper - as the name suggests - centers around what researchers have to say on the topic. This means that you should focus on the research data that already exists in a given field rather than on opinions, including your own.
Obviously, gun control is the kind of topic that inspires bias. This suggests a lot of opinions on the issue - some more reasoned than others. Regardless of what essay you are writing, it is a piece of academic writing and cannot be a "naked" presentation of an opinion. All suggestions that you make in your essay have to be substantiated with solid evidence. Therefore, an extensive research is necessary for any kind of paper on gun control. This involves both the background of the issue and the pro and anti gun control arguments.
As we have already mentioned, any talk about gun control goes down to the Second Amendment to the Constitution - so, this is where your research should begin. The amendment was passed over 200 years ago, and it has been clarified by quite a few precedent court cases over the years, on both state and federal levels - so, it is only beneficial for you to be informed about those. The most notable cases include United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the United States v. Miller (1939), District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), McDonald v. Chicago (2010), and others. Once you are familiar with these, you can say that you are familiar with the historical background of the issue. Gun control is a polarizing topic, so you probably already had your own opinion about it. Now that you have more insight into the background of the issue, your opinion will be more reasoned.
Nevertheless, no piece of academic writing should be exclusively opinion-based. So, you should also be well-informed about what experts have to say on the issue from both sides of the argument. The most obvious way to find those is to look through the gun control articles, analytics and documentaries on the topic from respectable media like Business Week, CNN, LA Times, New Yorker, etc.
Anti gun control articles argue that the turnover and possession should either not be controlled any more than it is, or not be controlled at all. Here are some of the recent examples of such articles from reputable media:
DePhilippis and Hughes are the co-founders of Armed With Reason, a gun violence prevention site. In their article, they argue that more strict gun control regulations will not lead to the decrease in gun violence, because if a criminal chooses to break the law by practicing gun violence, s/he will surely not mind any possible gun control regulations.
Wilson teaches at Pepperdine University and has written a number of books on the nature of crime. In his article, he claims that gun control tendencies are purely populist and should they succeed, they do not specify with the already existing massive amount of guns possessed by individuals.
Hardy is a practicing attorney in Arizona. In his article, he blames the gun control lobbyists for being fanatics who do not seek to have a constructive dialogue with the other side of the argument, no better than witch hunters.
This is a deeply opinionated and emotion-driven piece by the widow of the late Chris Kyle whose story has inspired the movie American Sniper. If you want a deeper insight into her story, you might as well check out her book American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal.
In this article, Davidson clarifies what gun control actually is and puts to question various popularly suggested gun control methods. The piece also includes an interview with James Jacobs, the director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law.
Hunter serves as an aide to Rand Paul, the conservative senator. In this piece, he counters the gun control lobbyists' position that gun possession provokes gun violence with a number of cases where gun possession has actually prevented crime.
Pro gun control articles speak in favor of more strict regulations to the possession of guns by individuals up to banning individual gun possession altogether. This position is popular among researchers and other experts, so such articles can be found in abundance. Here are some of the most interesting examples:
This article tackles the most obvious source of confusion around gun control issue - the vagueness of language of the Second Amendment. The author calls to rewrite these regulations in a more clear manner to limit individual gun possession to the militia.
Bovy blames the gun control lobbyists for not being decisive enough. She calls for the total ban on guns instead of merely sorting out the loopholes existing in present-day gun-regulating laws.
This is a profound work that reads more as an academic writing piece than a magazine article. It talks about the spirit of the Second Amendment and its meaning in the time when it was passed and investigates how the situation has evolved since then, including the firearms themselves.
In this piece, Hamblin uses his own professional experience as a journalist to illustrate how painfully politicized it may be to even start a discussion about gun control. He argues that the very attempt to start such a talk is inevitably taken as an assault on an individual's rights before we even begin to talk facts.
This editorial piece begins with describing the present-day gun regulations of California, stating that they are one of the most strict and effective in the country. However, the journalists are able to find a number of loopholes in the existing regulations, and they conclude that the regulations need to be even more strict.
The Rolling Stone magazine is probably the last place where one would go looking for some insightful information on gun control. Yet, being such a talk of the town, this topic influences our culture on multiple levels, so not even Rolling Stone could avoid talking about it. Here, we have a relatively short piece where the author provides an "outsider" view on the most common pro-gun arguments and explains why they don't reach their target audience.