With regard to the vast amount of gun-related crimes and mass shootings occurring in the USA in the recent years, the issue of gun control has become extremely topical in the society and causes heated debates between the two groups with opposing views of the problem. Thus, articles “Two States, a Nation Apart on Guns” by Sarah Ferris and Jessica Boehm and “What to Do About Guns” by Danny Franklin focus on the issue of gun control from slightly different perspectives. Moreover, they place special emphasis on the attitude of Americans to this topic and the measures they advocate for regarding all gun-related crimes. The articles are objective to some extent and offer authors’ viewpoint on the matter based on the all-American study and recent measures taken in various states. The current paper strives to summarize key points represented in the two articles and analyze the authors’ position evident from their pragmatics and theses.
In terms of objectivity, the article by Sarah Ferris and Jessica Boehm seems to be more objective than the one by Danny Franklin as the authors present viewpoints of both sides of the argument. Moreover, they offer a deep insight into the issue explaining inherent beliefs of gun-control supporters and the Second Amendment supporters. The authors found their narrative on the examples of Connecticut and Arizona as the two most recent and exemplary states with drastically different attitudes towards guns following similar events. Hence, in both states, mentally ill people perpetrated mass shootings; however, legislators and the public reacted differently afterwards. In Connecticut, legislators passed a law that prohibited the possession and use of “115 types of semiautomatic firearms” (Ferris & Boehm, 2014). In turn, in Arizona, pro-gun organizations lobbied for adoption of laxer laws and for allowing more people possess concealed weapons in public places where they had been previously banned. Moreover, the public was for cancellation or postponement of profound background checks of the majority of the population except for mentally disturbed persons who were deemed to pose danger to public safety. Apparently, such position is explained by an idea that once people are allowed to possess firearms in public places, potential mass shooters would become weary of going on a murdering spree because of a high chance of being killed at once. As one of the pro-gun lobbyists claims,
If I go lock up my gun in the lockbox, the next thing you know the Tucson murdered or Connecticut murdered or Colorado murdered comes along here and looks at that sign and says, ‘Oh, fresh meat’. Because he just watched an honest guy lock up his self-defense. (Ferris & Boehm, 2014)
Thus, the so-called Newton moment is opposed by fear of repeated murders. The difference in attitudes towards gun control may be explained by inherent differences and prevalent political ideologies dominating in various states. Taking into consideration that Arizona is a predominantly conservative republican state and Connecticut is a blue state, it becomes evident that the two states occupy the opposite ideas about the issue, which is representative of the USA in general. Different states and their respective laws pertaining to harsh or lax gun control measures are impacted either by pro-gun control groups or by the National Rifle Association and the like organizations that blame most gun-related crimes on mentally ill persons and the lack of firearms in households. It seems quite paradoxical to claim the more guns will be freely available to US citizens, the lower the crime rate will be. However, this position is upheld and lobbied in many states, which hampers the introduction of some comprehensive federal gun control measures. The population is divided over the issue of firearms and validity of the Second Amendment in the contemporary world. However, at the same time it seems that no one is ready to fully abandon the right to possess guns instead, offering merely to limit this right. Apparently, one of such suggested limitations concerns enhanced background checks of medical records to detect individuals with mental problems who are supposed to be more likely to use guns for attacks rather than for self-defense.
Danny Franklin focuses on the above-mentioned dispute over the issue of gun control in the society as well, but he pays attention more on the attitude of Americans to the problem and the way this attitude can be changed in order to implement efficient gun control measures. He claims that the major reason why various anti-firearm bills fail consists in the political approach to gun violence. Thus, it should not be handled as “a political problem to be answered by changing laws. Instead, we need to start looking at guns as a public health problem to be answered by changing minds and habits” (Franklin, 2014). Contrary to the first article that objectively enlists facts and arguments of both sides of the argument, the author of the second article takes a certain position and suggests a strategic plan that he calls “a public health approach” (Franklin, 2014). In fact, this schematic guide is aimed at changing attitude towards the issue of gun control in the USA, which would subsequently lead to a decline in the amount of firearms sold, bought, and used in the country. The main idea of the author is that the framing of the issue has to be amended by pro-gun control activists with a view to efficiently opposing lobbying of lax measures by the NRA and other similar groups. Most offered gun control measures fail because of the strong propaganda by such organizations and their influence on lawmakers. Therefore, the author emphasizes the necessity of adopting some countermeasures to this propaganda and advocates for developing ways to cause a shift in the Americans’ perception of guns and safety.
Although the two analyzed articles concern the same topical issue, they are different in terms of the information presentation mode and objectivity. While the first article simply contains some key arguments for both sides of the debate, the second article takes an evidently pro-gun control position and advocates for the implementation of the public health approach aimed at changing the attitude of Americans towards firearms. Despite some differences, both articles are similar in terms of emphasizing topicality of the issue of gun control and attempting to draw readers’ attention to the problem with a view to developing an effective solution that would decrease the rate of gun-related crimes and prevent mass shooting tragedies in the future.