Issuu on Google+

Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience

Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience University of Kentucky


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience In today’s American society there have been several controversial issues. Of the issues that have been brought forth, gun control has once again revealed itself in today’s news headlines. There have been several debates on whether or not to add gun regulations in order to try and protect citizens. In the Washington Times an editorial entitled “Getting Rid of Gun Control” has been published in response to the affects of gun regulations and whether or not it is fulfilling its purpose. In the editorial, the author develops a solid argument that is difficult to refute; the author provides effectual use of rhetoric while standing on the foundation of our country’s rights in order to dissuade gun control activists. In analysis of the authors editorial, I am going to discuss the historical context of the Washington Times, the historical and present issue of gun control as explained and alluded to by the author, and identify rhetorical strategies of which the author uses to convey why this piece of work is effective in its argument. The Washington Times The Washington Times was founded in 1982 and has since established itself as “America’s Newspaper” (“About”, 2011). The Times, as most refer to it, was “founded…by the Unification Church founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, as a conservative alternative to the liberal Washington Post” (“Washington Times to Cut”, 2009, 8). “The Post is more comprehensive, with more local coverage, restaurant reviews, magazine and so forth” (“Washington Post vs. Washington Times”, 2009, 2) as stated by a citizen in response to the differences of the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Therefore, the Times is more reliable for nation and worldwide issues rather than local issues in the Washington area. On the Washington Times website there are several tabs of which you can choose from to become


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience informed on the latest and top news in the nation as well as worldwide. There is also a printed version to which readers may subscribe. Whether it be sports, editorials, opinions, or news, the Times has up to date information that citizens may seek on current issues. The Current Issue: Gun Control Recently, in response to the shootings in Tucson, Arizona, many gun control editorials and news regarding the issue have been present in the online Times. With today’s crime rate and recent shootings, people are looking for safer and more effective ways to incorporate gun control into everyday life. However, gun control is not an unfamiliar issue in American society. Gun control has been an issue ever since it was established in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights in 1791; “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” (“The Constitution of the United States”, 1791).   In 1837, less than 50 years after this amendment was established, Georgia passed a law to ban handguns but the law is “ruled unconstitutional and thrown out” (“Gun Control Timeline”, 1999, 5). As a person may decipher, gun control has been a controversial issue in American society. Therefore the question is asked, should gun control remain as is or should there be more stipulations implied to try and reduce the crime rate? One editorial which has been published in the Times expresses its views toward the current issue of gun control. This editorial, “Getting Rid of Gun Control,” centralizes around the protection of citizens and their freedoms. “Getting Rid of Gun Control”: The Underlying Issue In the editorial, the author presents the issue in a conservative fashion by stating the positives and negatives of gun regulations without presenting a bias. The author draws the


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience attention to the few states who are taking action to prevent crime in order to support the thesis. The states listed within the editorial are establishing regulations on the amount of guns a citizen is able to purchase within a month. “Besides Virginia, only Maryland, California and New Jersey still have these laws. South Carolina was the first state to adopt the restrictions in 1976 but repealed the limit in 2004” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 2). As the author reveals within this statement, states that initially adopted such regulations are beginning to repeal them. The causation for the repeal is due to the lack of evidence of a correlation of crime and gun regulations since the laws were put into effect. Supreme Court Justice, Stephen G. Breyer even stated in an editorial of the New York Times that “indeed, a comparison with 49 other major cities reveals that the district’s homicide rate is actually substantially higher relative to these other cities than it was before the handgun restriction went into place” (Liptak, 2008, 5). Thus, the author’s causation for the repeal is supported within the editorial.

In conclusion of the underlying issue, because the author revealed the repeal in gun regulations within a few states, the author is able to support the refute of gun regulations; “the laws have merely inconvenienced honest Americans who want to buy guns” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 1). Therefore, the author begins a solid argument. “Getting Rid of Gun Control”: The Argument “Gun limitations are actually harmful” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 3). Such a bold statement is exemplified through a series of simple supporting points in the body of the editorial. First, the author indirectly points to the economical situation by stating how gun regulations would prove to “significantly reduce the number of gun shows…[and] can raise the cost of law-abiding citizens buying guns relative to criminals” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 3). Therefore, the author suggests that because guns will be strictly regulated, those


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience citizens whom may need or desire protection may not be able to seek that protection if they are unable to purchase and/or use their gun. Second, the author addresses a previously stated point; “there is no academic research by criminologists or economists that shows that one-gun-a-month regulations reduce crime in either the states that pass them or their neighbors. (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 1). The author has established the foundation of the editorial by addressing this point as well as the previous mentioned to validate the editorial’s rationality. The development of the argument focuses on the punishment of the law-abiding citizen in relation to the criminal who abuses gun control. Even Chris W. Cox, the National Rifle Association (NRA) chief lobbyist states a point similar to the authors after South Carolina repealed its gun regulation in 2004. He stated that the law was an “unnecessary restriction to the Second Amendment…[and] gun rationing laws represent gun control in its worst form” (“Governor Sanford Repeals”, 2004, 2-3). The author is able to relate the editorial to previous positions on gun control, thus creating a solid argument. “Getting Rid of Gun Control” The Conclusion Essentially, the argument of the author is presented in a conservative way that addresses the issues that many citizens may overlook. Citizens may be quick to find solutions for the current gun control issues but they forget that by regulating gun control for criminals, the regulations apply to them as well. Therefore, the author concludes his editorial with a possible wide solution to the underlying issue by stating that something should be done to keep guns out of criminal hands without punishing law-abiding citizens. He ends the piece by leaving the reader with something of which to ponder; “in the case of the right to keep and bear arms, safety and freedom go together” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 5). But, while the author


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience develops a solid argument throughout the course of the editorial, can it be easily refuted? Or, will citizens be persuaded by their right to freedom and safety? The Art of Persuasion in “Getting Rid of Gun Control” The art of persuasion revolves around developing a centralized point in order to create a rational argument. Developing a rational argument involves establishing several aspects of rhetoric throughout a piece of work to convey a point. Therefore, deciphering the art of persuasion revolves mainly about the rhetoric of a piece of work. In “Getting Rid of Gun Control” the author is able to develop his main idea through several aspects of rhetoric in order to persuade the audience. The main goal of the author is to persuade the audience to develop an understanding of why regulations on gun control are not effective and are inconvenient. Within the development of this argument, the author establishes a theme of “gun control is good, gun limitations are actually harmful” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 3). In conjunction to the main goal, the theme reveals the requested action. The author states at the end of the editorial, “In the case of the right to keep and bear arms, safety and freedom go together” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010, 5). The requested action the author addresses revolves around the safety of the citizen and therefore establishes the idea that the law-abiding citizen should be able to protect his or her self with a gun if needed without limitations. “Getting Rid of Gun Control” The Strategic Approach In development of the author’s argument, a rational argument is presented. The author takes advantage of a few outside sources in order to convey the point. The author points to several accredited references which help to establish the foundation of the argument. The address to the criminologist’s and economist’s research within the article justifies the lack of


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience effectiveness that gun regulation has. Also, the author is able to point to several other examples within the argument to discuss why gun regulations are not effective in the development of the rational argument. The author discusses that the book “More Guns, Less Crime” contains “research on one-gun-a-month restrictions…[and] shows the laws either have no effect or a detrimental effect on violent crime” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010,3). However, while the author draws conclusions as to why gun regulations are not the answer to prevent crime, others articles may refute the argument. The development of the rational argument is effective but does not present an effectual counterargument to the author’s point. This may be accredited towards the source of the editorial; the Washington Times is noted to be more “conservative” (“Washington Times to Cut”, 2009, 8) as previously stated. Therefore, some of the points established by the author may seem bias in its context. Regardless of the counterargument that the author could have presented, the facts presented by the author hold their foundation in the rational argument. When I tried to refute the authors point in why laws are being repealed by states who have adopted gun regulations, I was unable to do so. An argument that I found in an editorial stated that “one gun-a-month laws work” (Sudbay, 1999, 7). This argument would present a bulwark in the development of the author’s argument. If arguments that gun regulation works are presented, how would the author overcome this rhetorical barrier? “A 1995 study showed that in the first year alone, Virginia’s law has greatly reduced the number of crime guns recovered in other states that were purchased in Virginia” (Sudbay,1999, 7). However, this editorial was published in 1999 and since then, the author of “Getting Rid of Gun Control” has refuted the statement. In the author’s argument, the first line states that “Virginia finally is poised to repeal its unusual law that prohibits law-abiding citizens from buying more than one gun per month” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010,1).


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience Therefore, crime rates may decrease within the first year or two, but no long term effect has been present. And even within the first few years of the correlation between gun rates and crime, causation can’t necessarily be defined. Thus, the author, while not having a notable extrinsic credibility, can establish an intrinsic credibility within his work by using irrefutable factual statements. The author is also able to develop a rhetorical strategy that revolves around aesthetics. The citizens need to protect themselves is used to the author’s advantage to indirectly appeal to the emotions of the reader. An appeal to fear is present within the editorial; the author utilizes the fact that people are looking for ways to protect themselves in the event of danger. The author argues that people want and need to protect themselves but if there were gun regulations, people’s freedoms and safety are stripped from existence. Therefore, the author strategically depicts that the safety of citizens is being challenged, causing the reader to want to seek protection with a weapon. The author is able to do this through repetition; the author constantly emphasizes that gun regulations would “disarm good people relative to criminals” (“Getting Rid of Gun Control”, 2010,3) several times in the editorial. Thus, the author is able to win the favor of the reader as he appeals to their fear and desire to be protected. While the reader may be for gun regulations, the reader will be dissuaded to obtain a gun for protection because of the use of aesthetics established by the repetition that emphasizes the importance of protection. The author is able to define the gun as a symbol of protection and not a symbol of fear. The appeal to the symbolism of the gun, as alluded to by the author, can be reemphasized by examining the statement presented in another editorial in response to the emotions Americans feel towards guns.


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience But a weapon represents self-reliance and independence. A healthy relationship with weapons should be one of the first responsibilities of every man to himself, and then to his children. A gun should be thought of as a profound, yes, sacred responsibility. Guns need to be returned to their place above the family hearth. (Yeagley, 2002, 17) Guns have become the symbol of protection for many Americans in today’s violent society. While guns were once symbolic of fear of the American people, they can now be associated with a more positive connotation, as being part of today’s family for protection. Throughout the author’s argument in “Getting Rid of Gun Control,” the definition of a gun is challenged through the appeals of emotional strategies by relating guns to being a symbol and weapon for protection. Because of the outside sources I have discovered, the author’s ability to not be refuted is heightened. Therefore, author’s rational argument is solidified through effective rhetorical strategies and supported by a previous editorial. “Getting Rid of Gun Control” The Final Verdict When a controversial issue arises, people search desperately for solutions especially when a tragedy or other event is present revolving around the issue. Gun control will continue to be a controversial issue as legislation tries to seek solutions. However, there is a no win situation present at this current time regarding gun control. No matter how hard legislation tries, somebody will always end up complaining about the solution. As the author points out, in attempts to establish more gun control, efforts have been repealed by the states. The author, although seemingly bias in the conclusion of the editorial, addresses a main value of today’s


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience American society: freedom. What separate the United States apart from other countries in the world are our freedoms. While legislation tries to place regulations on our freedoms, people, such as the author in the Washington Times editorial, are speaking out. The author is able to convey a point that people tend to look over when searching for a solution. While the argument is seemingly bias because of the source in which the editorial is published, the Washington Times, the author is able to effectively establish an argument to dissuade gun activists. In its context, the author establishes a very credible editorial through the development of a rational argument and aesthetics. The American citizen can easily identify with this editorial because of the fight Americans have undergone in order to establish those freedoms. Therefore, in the controversy of gun control, the most credible argument, as addressed by the author of “Getting Rid of Gun Control�, is found within the freedoms and safety of the American citizens.


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience References The Constitution of the United States. (1791, December 15). Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am2 Senior Member. (2009, February 2). Washington Post vs. Washington Times [web log comment]. Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://www.city-data.com/forum/washington-dc/564254-washington-vs-washingtontimes.html Getting Rid of Gun Control. (2010, February 19). Washington Times, Retrieved February 20, 2011 from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/19/getting-rid-of-gun-control/ Washington times to cut work force by 40 percent. (2009, December 4). Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/usa/news/article_1517074.p hp/Washington-Times-to-cut-work-force-by-40-per-cent About Washington Times. (2011). Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://www.washingtontimes.com/about/ Neverdem. (2004, May 25). Governor Sanford repeals one-gun-a-month law [web log comment] Retrieved February 24, 2011 from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1142178/posts Liptak, A. (2008, June 29). Gun laws and crime: a complex relationship. Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/weekinreview/29liptak.html?_r =3&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1299611628vosJtyns1f6pJzboJKG1Lg Gun control timeline. (1999, September 26). Retrieved February 23, 2011 from http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa092699.htm Sudbay, J. (1999, January 4). Year-end crime statistics show gun control work says Sarah Brandy. Retrieved February 24, 2011 from http://www.commondreams.org/pressreleases/jan99/010499a.htm


Washington Times: Gun Regulation Inconvenience Yeagley, D. (2002, May 20). Guns and emotions. Retrieved March 2, 2011 from http://www.badeagle.com/html/guns_emotion.html

 


Gun Regulation Inconvenience