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Understanding Argument - Essay Example

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Her argument is based on the idea that the National Rifle Association of America and the pro-gun lobby, although a small…
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Understanding Argument
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Download file to see previous pages The author’s argument can be summarised in one sentence as follows; Guns should be banned for civilians in the United States because they are too dangerous and kill too many people to be safe for non-professionals to use. She goes about supporting this point firstly by arguing that the Second Amendment of the American constitution does not confer upon American civilians the right to own a gun. Ivins quotes from the Second amendment, which states that guns can be kept by ‘members of a well regulated militia’. (4) This, she argues, does not mean that the average man on the street automatically has the right to own a gun, but rather that this right is specifically limited by the Second Amendment to the police and security forces. In Ivins’ view, ‘fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well regulated militia. Wacky members of a religious cult are not members of a well regulated militia.’ (4) The licensing of guns to members of the public, therefore, goes against the Second Amendment. Thomas Jefferson, quips Ivins, surely wasn’t aiming to uphold the right of gangs to kill innocent members of the public in drive-by shootings.
Ivins then moves on to the argument that things other than guns kill people, but they are not made illegal. Her example is the car. A car, so the pro-gun lobby argument goes, is just as likely to kill you as a gun. There are many irresponsible drivers who kill people in traffic accidents, just like there are irresponsible gun owners who go out and shoot people, but the car hasn’t been outlawed. Ivins’ response to this line of attack is that we ‘licence them [i.e. cars] and their owners, restrict their use to presumably sane and sober adults and keep track of who sells them to whom’. (8) She argues that at the very least the same should be done for guns.
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