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A public health issue

Guns cause premature deaths. They should be treated as a public health problem.

Context

Like drugs, guns cause an increase in mortality rates and violent crime. It is the government's job to protect its citizens. For this reason, it bans harmful drugs like heroin. Guns should be controlled in the same way, in the interests of protecting American citizens. [1]

The Argument

In 2016, gun-related deaths reached 38,000. This scale of premature deaths is enough to trigger a public health crisis.[2] There is a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. For each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%. [3] The government outlaws drugs, which kill comparable numbers each year. It should, therefore, treat guns in the same way. They should be a banned item, limited to state ownership, including police and the military, which would use them to preserve law and order and defend national interests.

Counter arguments

The government bans drugs as a matter of public health and look how that turned out. The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with overdose cases skyrocketing. This goes to show banning something does not work. Banning guns specifically doesn't work. Places with the strictest gun laws, like Washington D.C. and New York City, also have some of the highest rates of gun homicides and gun violence.[1] It could actually make the situation worse. Banning firearms would change the government's role from regulator to incarcerator. In doing so, it would remove any legal oversight of the industry, removing consumer protections, tracing and registration mechanisms, and quality control, leading to more unsafe weapons and increased risk among the American people.[4] Finally, from an economic standpoint, it doesn't make sense. Banning drugs takes the market underground, reducing tax revenues and putting profits in the hands of gangs and criminals. Banning guns would do the same thing, only serving to further empower gangs and put Americans at risk.

Premises

[P1] The government's role is to protect its citizens. [P2] Guns kill a vast number of citizens each year. [P3] The government should outlaw guns to protect its citizens.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] To protect Americans, the government must retain regulatory authority, not concede it.

References

  1. https://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/publications/se/6105/610502.html
  2. http://time.com/5011599/gun-deaths-rate-america-cdc-data/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828709/
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-schizophrenia/201805/the-simple-economics-gun-control

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This page was last edited on Friday, 1 Feb 2019 at 10:47 UTC