The final form of argument we studied in A Nation’s Argument was dialectics. Dialectics is a way of reaching the most ideal synthesis possible by comparing a thesis with its opposing antithesis. The action project for this unit was to go through this process with someone who disagrees with me on a political issue. I exchanged emails with my friend Michael about the gun laws in Indiana: he is a hunter who has guns in his home, while I am an advocate of gun control. However, after each of us stated our opinions, we found we had a lot more in common than we expected, which we used to create our synthesis.


Although I believe responsible citizens should be allowed to own guns, I am in favor of much more restrictive laws. Specifically, I am in favor of great changes in the current legislation of the state of Indiana. In Indiana, firearms do not need to be registered, and their owners are not required any licenses. There are also no laws requiring background checks in sales or exchanges of guns between private parties. Every day at firearms stores, an average of 211 felons fail to purchase weapons, but lack of regulation among private sales provides an outlet for these same people, and others prohibited from owning firearms to purchase them.

Laws promoting gun control have a real effect on gun-related violence. When the ten states with least amount of gun-related deaths are compared to the ten states with the strictest gun laws, seven states appear on both lists. Indiana, with its very low number of restrictions, was ranked in 2008 as the state with the eighth highest number of guns used in crimes. Crimes in neighboring states are also frequently traced back to Indiana– in fact, twice as frequently as the national average.

In addition to requiring licenses for buying and selling firearms in all situations, and registration of the arms, I believe in a flat out ban on assault weapons. While many kinds of guns are used for hunting or personal defense, assault weapons are designed specifically for killing large numbers of people. There are no laws restricting the purchase or use of these weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines in the state of Indiana. In a study by Mother Jones, it was found that over fifty percent of all shooters responsible for the mass shootings in the United States since 1982 were in possession of one or both of these items.

The current process for acquiring weapons is so lax that additional structure would not greatly inconvenience the people who should be allowed weapons. Instead, requiring more registration and certification for guns and gun-owners, along with a ban on assault weapons, would be an important step to reducing violence in Indiana and across the country.

guns flow chart (1)

This flow chart represents possible situations in which a person could buy a gun in Indiana.
The parts in red are the issues I think are most important to change.



Here’s the thing–a good number of states that have really lax gun laws are actually very low in gun-related crimes, usually because those with guns that intend on committing crimes will understand, hey, these people probably have guns to protect them. I shouldn’t do this. But this is a theory, and I doubt it’s a very good one.
Airforce pilots are required to participate in regular psychiatric checkups, to ensure that they are “fit” to fly an aircraft. I think something similar should go with gun laws. For starters, every state should do a background check. Every state should be on the lookout for those who may use guns to harm another human being, in whatever way they can. And I honestly believe that a psyche-check, or something similar to it, could prove very useful in the regulation of responsible firearms. We can’t be selling guns to people who are emotionally/psychologically unstable to the point where they can hurt those around them.
 If you think about it, anything can be a weapon. Guns are just publicized more (though one can argue that guns, designed for the sole purpose of killing, further tempt people into using them as a weapon instead of, say, a toothbrush). However, I also agree that assault weapons should in no way be open to civilian ownership. Police forces and security guards–absolutely. Those that are trained with them and use them for protective purposes (for the general protection of others, I should say) should be allowed to own them, as it is a part of their job. But civilians have absolutely no purpose in owning an assault weapon. The reason we have that in the constitution is because America was still imperialphobic and wanted to make sure they could take down the government if things got too shaky.
I think it’s safe to say that really isn’t much of an issue anymore.
Keep the guns, for hunting and self-defense. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc. But regulate control. Do background checks. Do psychology checks. For God’s sake, this seems like common sense, doesn’t it?
This is a photo of Michael's dad out hunting; he is the one who taught Michael to hunt, and who purchased the guns kept in their home.

This is a photo of Michael’s dad out hunting; he is the one who taught Michael to hunt, and who purchased the guns kept in their home.

After exchanging emails, we realized that although we were coming from different places on the topic, we had very similar opinions. Both of us are in favor of a number of similar restrictions, although each of us thought of specific laws to implement that the other did not. From the details we had in common, we proposed two laws that summarized what we felt, together, would be best to implement in Indiana or across the country. See the chart below for our final outcome:
guns synthesis

Works Cited

“Indiana State Law Summary.” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.

“Introduction to Gun Violence Statistics.” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.

“Effectiveness of Gun Laws.” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.

Mark, Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan. “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America.” Mother Jones. Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress, Feb. 2013. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.

Klein, Ezra. “Twelve Facts about Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2012. Web.