Gun control is one of those topics which everybody likes to discuss these days. The recent and not-so-recent tragic gun-related events don't let the public eye away from the issue. And the demand for this discussion leads to everyone expressing their opinion on the matter - sometimes well-reasoned, sometimes not so much so. Like global warming, sexual harassment, and other pressing issues, it is one of the favorite topics for teachers to assign, and students often have to write gun control essay.
Gun control remains one of the most debatable issues out there, and one can view it from multiple angles. First, there are pro gun control people who are convinced that the existing gun control regulations are insufficient. Then, there are anti gun control people who say that the gun control regulations need to be loosened. And then there's a variety of different standpoints in between.
To truly understand the issue, we need to look back at its roots. The root of the ongoing gun control discussion takes us back to the dawn of our nation when our founding fathers put together the Bill of Rights which included the Second Amendment to the Constitution, granting individuals the right to possess firearms. As many of our fundamental laws, the Second Amendment is pretty vague in its formulation and leaves a lot to be clarified on both federal and state levels. While it has been clarified throughout the last 200 years, the discussion is far from over. And a gun control essay is just as good for continuing this discussion as anything else. Besides, so much has been said and written about the issue, that you will hardly lack research materials if you choose to write an essay, a research paper, or even a master's thesis or Ph. D. dissertation about gun control.
If you go looking for information on gun control, you will find it in abundance, but - like all sensitive topics - it encourages bias. So, you need to be able to separate factual data from speculations and opinions. Surely, you have an opinion of your own on the matter, but an opinion without evidence can only be good for a casual conversation or, at best, for a social media post, but not for a serious academic paper. So, regardless of what essay you have to write and on which position you stand, you need solid evidence to make your opinion well-grounded. To achieve this, a thorough research is necessary, involving both the background of the issue as a whole and the two (or more) sides of the gun control debate.
As we have mentioned before, the very question about the necessity of gun control takes us back to the year 1791 when the Second Amendment to the Constitution has granted individuals the right to carry firearms - so, it makes sense to start your research with getting familiar with this document.
Throughout the years since then, the formulation of the Amendment has been clarified by precedent court rulings. The most significant ones include the following:
These are the cases that have shaped our present-day understanding of the spirit of the Second Amendment, so if you want to pose yourself as an expert on the issue, you should be familiar with these court cases.
However, being well-aware about the background of the issue is only good enough if you are going to stay neutral in your writing. When we talk about something as sensitive as gun control, staying neutral is not easy, and - honestly - not necessary. On the contrary, you will most likely be expected to express your point of view on the issue. To do that in a more clear and exciting manner, you need to be aware of the most notable arguments from both pro and anti gun control camps. The most obvious places to find this information are the gun control articles and documentaries from respected media with a reputation to maintain - such as Bloomberg Businesweek, LA Times, New Yorker, CNN, etc.
Pro gun control articles are talking about the necessity of stricter regulations of individual gun possessions or call to ban it altogether. Here are some of the most recent and insightful articles:
Anti gun control articles are put out by experts who claim that gun control regulations should not be made stricter, but rather weakened or dropped altogether. Here are some recent and insightful examples:
When you are already well-informed on the topic of gun control and know where to get more information, should you need it, you can consider yourself ready to write a gun control essay. But regardless of how well-informed you may be on any given issue, you still need to know what kind of essay you are writing, because on that depends what will be expected of you. You can be assigned to write the following types of gun control essays:
You can see that with such a topic as gun control, it is both easiest and most interesting to write a persuasive or an argumentative essay. So, these are the kinds of essays that you will most likely have to write about gun control.
When faced with a concrete task to write a persuasive essay, the first thing you will need is a controversial topic with at least two possible opposing opinions. There is hardly a topic more controversial topic than gun control so you won't have to worry about that. Secondly, you need a strong argument that you will persuade your reader of. Both pro and anti gun control standpoints can produce such an argument.
When you have a topic and an argument, you can begin your research. First and foremost, this involves the historical background of the issue, but you should not limit yourself to that. You should also be informed about what various reputable experts have to say on the topic. Importantly, you need to be well-informed about both sides of the debate, so you could effectively rebuke all the arguments that your hypothetical opponent may have.
Once you conclude your research, you should outline your essay and start writing. Typically, all essays, including persuasive ones, are divided into three sections:
As we have mentioned, a persuasive essay is aimed at convincing your supposedly opponent reader that your standpoint on a particular issue is right and their standpoint is wrong. To achieve this, you can employ all three known methods of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. Using ethos, you appeal to your reader's sense of ethics by employing your authority or that of the authors to whom you refer. Using pathos, you appeal to your reader's emotions with irrational or seemingly irrational arguments. Using logos, you appeal to your reader's common sense by employing dry facts and logic. A gun control persuasive essay centers around its goal - to persuade the reader, so all any persuasion method is good, as long as it is effective. In the best case scenario, you will use all three.
An argumentative essay on gun control will be a more challenging piece of writing than a persuasive one because you are strictly limited to logos, i.e., you have to employ only logic to convince your opponent of your rightness. It is hard to investigate gun control-related issues without the emotionally-loaded context of the tragic events causing these discussions, as hard as it is to stay neutral and steer clear of emotions, as a gun control argumentative essay demands, when you talk about it.
However, this is the most significant difference between a persuasive and an argumentative essay that you should keep in mind. As for the research, the outline, and the writing process itself, a gun control argumentative essay will not be all that different from a persuasive one, and you follow the same steps that you would with a persuasive essay.
Once you start digging into the gun control issue, you will see that this topic is so broad and multi-angled that it can be investigated on and on in much larger works than an essay. You can easily have enough material for a gun control research paper, a term paper, or even a degree paper and build an entire academic career on this topic.
Still, if we talk about a research paper, it will be too small to talk about gun control in general and on the whole. You will have to make your topic more narrow and specific. This will be your first step in writing a research paper on gun control. Note that your initial research paper topic does not need to be finite. In the course of your pre-writing process, you will be able to modify your topic on the go to make it more original and exciting.
Another important detail of a research paper is that you have to use (or, at least, cite) an extended number of sources. Two or three sources will usually suffice for an essay, but a research paper needs no less than five. Interestingly, your sources do not have to be all about the works of other authors. You are also allowed - or, sometimes, even encouraged to refer to your own empirical research data. For example, you can conduct a survey of your own and refer to it in your research paper.