Where Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke stand in the debate over gun control

The debate over gun control has been a widely-discussed issue in recent years. The reasons are obvious – the dramatic number of gun violence episodes and the general number of gun-caused death in the USA.  Not surprisingly, almost anyone is included in this discussion, not only political figures. Students write gun control essays and start social movements to endorse legislative changes on this matter. The public opinion is divided into different groups. There are people that believe the Second Amendment to be the constitutional right and freedom of each American citizen. Others believe that stricter gun laws should be implemented to reduce the violence and shooting incidents.

Ted Cruz is a Republican, serving as junior United States Senator for Texas that is known to be one of the most armored states. He also ran his candidature for Presidential election in 2016. Cruz is an important political figure, known, among other things, for his death penalty and gun-rights support. In 2015 he even stated in his interview that “the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.” The idea is Democrats tend to be softer on crimes, which means that people supporting them are more likely to be those, who commit a crime. He also stated that each gun-related crime becomes a focal point for media attention.

His opponent, Beto O’Rourke, who seeks Democratic nomination for Presidential elections of 2020, has a different view on the issue. He is known to support stricter universal background checks for people willing to purchase a gun. He also stands for a complete ban for assault rifles. He is also representative from Texas, which makes the debate between these two politicians even more intense.

In September of 2018, they held a debate for a Senate seat. The election process was very intense with surveys showing little difference between the ratings. However, Ted Cruz was re-elected as Senator. This debate over gun control showed the difference in their positions regarding the gun control issue. When discussing the Santa Fe High School shooting, Senator Cruz claimed that he had visited student survivors of this tragedy. In his words, they wanted more armed officers in school, not more restrictions against gun purchase. This position is quite close to the one that President Trump has later presented.  This position states that armed officers are likely to prevent such tragedies, meaning more guns equal less violence.

Mr. O’Rourke answered, “Thoughts and prayers, Senator Cruz, are just not going to cut it anymore. The people of Texas, the children of Texas, deserve action.” That’s a popular liberal argument that is built completely on emotional response. However, his opponent was quick to claim that more armed officers aren’t thoughts and prayers, but actual actions that are taken to reduce the crimes. O’Rourke also claimed that teachers do not think that more armed officers will bring safety to schools.

Both of the statements that claim that students or teachers stated something have no survey or evidence to support them. They are also not quite relevant when it comes to the national legislation, as a small group cannot be representative of the whole country. Two politicians share one idea – that there is something to be done with gun violence in the United States. The increasing number of tragic episodes suggests that the actions should be taken fast.

However, the argument about having more armed officers in schools is quite questionable. First of all, there is no survey or study to prove that more armed personnel equals a safer school environment. And even if this will be proven, the schools are not only places where people can be attacked. The Las Vegas mass shooting incident shows that it is almost impossible to predict or stop some attacks. Having security or armed personnel doesn’t guarantee safety.

At the same time, there is clear evidence that stricter gun laws mean less gun-related crimes. For instance, the recently published Giffords Law Center statistics on the United States shows that the States where the gun regulation laws are stronger experience fewer gun incidents. The most prominent example of such reduction is California that has taken several stronger laws regarding a gun purchase in recent years. In the last 20 years, several laws have been approved and put in power, which led to decreasing gun-related death rate in half. The rate now for California is 50% lower than 20 years ago. This is a quite powerful argument in the debate as it shows how easily changes can be done in a short period of time. According to statistics, each day, 86 people die in the United States from firearm incidents. The case is not only in the dramatic mass shootings that attract a lot of media attention. Guns are the most popular suicide weapon; about 63% percent of suicides are committed with the use of firearms. They are also used and put in action in lots of crimes.

This issue is quite sensitive for the majority of citizens; that’s why the discussion will continue. The only thing everyone agrees on is that something must be done as soon as possible. Applying the experience of states like California might be a good option. However, any legislative change should be made according to the citizens’ believes and interests.

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