Writing Assignment #2
Due: July 5th (Note that this is later than the original date.)
Topic: For this assignment, you'll be applying your growing critical thinking skills to the issue of gun control in the United States.) First, read the following op-ed piece from the New York Times:
Then write a 4-5 page essay that responds to the issues raised in this reading. In writing this essay, assume that you are someone in power, such as a senator or member of the House of Representatives, who might offer a solution to the gun control debate. How would you respond to the problems Warren's article poses? What policies might you propose to balance safety and civil rights?
To answer these questions, you must first develop a clear understanding of Warren's writing and some of the main terms he discusses. To this end, your essay should first clearly answer the following questions:
Who is James Warren? What is his background/profession? Does he have any biases?
Whom does he interview in this article? What is this person's profession?
What is the N.R.A.? What position do they take on guns?
The N.R.A. sometimes claims that limiting one type of gun would lead to eliminating all guns. Is this a good argument or a fallacy? Explain.
What is the legal basis for gun rights in U.S.?
What legal restrictions on gun ownership exist in the United States? (You'll need to do additional research to answer this, as Warren merely lists some without discussing each in detail. Make sure to clarify what sources you are referencing, including any potential biases they may have. Remember: not everything you read is true, and there is a difference between qualified experts and inappropriate appeals to authority.)
What is the justification for placing restrictions on gun owners?
Are these restrictions consistent with the N.R.A.'s position? Explain.
Why does Warren talk about Al Qaeda? What connection does this group have to gun control?
Who is Quigley? What "loophole" does he discuss? What is the "mess" he mentions? Why does it exist?
What does Warren claim suspected terrorists can do lawfully, even though they should not, in his view, be allowed to do this?
Is the government's position on gun control consistent? For instance, does it make sense to restrict guns in some cases but not in cases involving terrorist suspects?
What do you think Warren's point or conclusion is?
Does Warren support his position with inductive or deductive arguments? Explain.
How does he relate the topic of guns to the T.S.A.'s "No-Fly" list? Is this list relevant to the gun control issue? Explain?
Do research on the T.S.A. "No-Fly" list. How does the government determine someone should be placed on this list? Is everyone on the list guilty of some crime? Is there always good evidence used to place people on this list?
Is this list a good basis for determining who should own a gun? Why or why not?
“If you come across somebody who’s nuts, you know," Mastrianni said. Is this a good basis for determining who should own a gun? Explain.
How would you respond to the problems posed in Warren's article? What, if anything, would you change anything about gun control laws? Explain.
Here are some on-line sources about guns: