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Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do

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What is violence? The definition of violence is behavior involving mental or physical force intended to hurt, damage, or destroy someone or something. There are many beliefs as to why man is violent. One belief is that man is born violent and knows no other way. Another being that man is born with no violence known to them and it is learned in many different ways and aspects. The last belief being that man is born pure but violence is acquired over time with human drives, goals, desires, and age.

In the book, ‘The Outsiders’, S. E. Hinton uses the belief that man is born pure or in this case, “born gold”. She uses the poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost to illustrate that everything starts as pure and gold, but doesn’t always stay that way. The violence in ‘The Outsiders’ is the product of the environment around them. The Greasers were all raised around some type of violence; if not from their home life, then from the streets. Although violence is learned, it is up to the individual to decide how they will respond to certain situations. Johnny, for example, was raised in violent conditions, but he was not a violent person at all. Although it seems like the Greasers are the only ones who come from difficult backgrounds, the Socials had “perfect” lives but as Cherry Valance said, “things are rough all over”, implying that things aren’t always what they seem. Bob didn’t come from a rough background, yet he was still violent towards the Greasers. His violence came from his desires, for example; wanting his parents to give him rules to follow and break.

Gun violence is a major issue in our society today. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. It states that man has the right to bear arms. It is an Amendment for a reason, it was created to help all citizens protect themselves and to supply resources from hunting. Abolishing the Second Amendment would only cause crime to rise due to the lack of protection for the innocent.

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The slogan ‘guns don’t kill people, people do’ infers that guns aren’t the problem, but the people in control of them are. Guns are inanimate objects, they have no control or influence over people. Not all people with guns have the means to cause harm. Instead, they use them for protection and recreational purposes. The goal is not to take away gun rights but rather to prevent gun-related violence. There should be more restrictions put in place to ensure the safety of the people. The process of owning and obtaining a firearm should be more precise and in-depth than the current process we have today.

Although the debate on gun control has always been around, it wasn't until the later 2000s that people started to question or argue against the law pertaining to gun ownership. Some think that if guns were to be outlawed to citizens that gun violence would dimish. Most don’t realize the negative impact it would have on the citizens if that were to occur. If a war were to occur and no one could protect themselves from harm, would you really be able to rely on the government for your safety?

In the book, ‘The Outsiders’, Dally being gunned down by law enforcement was not an act of gun violence. The officers who shot Dally did what they were supposed to do; which is to protect and serve the people. Dally made it seem like his intentions were violent when he was in possession of the gun. The officers did not know that his gun was not loaded. So when they shot, they shot to kill, giving Dally what he wanted; to be put out of his misery.

In conclusion, regardless of your belief, guns don’t decide to kill people, the person with the gun is making the decision to kill. S. E. Hinton uses the theme that violence can come out of any environment in ‘The Outsiders’. There is no true way to stop violence, just ways to prevent or deter the number of violent acts that take place.

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Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
“Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Nov 29]. Available from:
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