On March 25th, 2013, Sarah Merkle, a fifteen year old girl from Baltimore, Maryland, delivered a pro-gun speech to the Maryland State Legislature. The video of her speech went viral on YouTube, receiving nearly 2.5 million views in a little over one week. Merkle states many reasons why she is against gun control legislation; one being that gun legislation is not effective in controlling gun crime. Merkle cites statistics that reveal how one is twice as likely to get killed in the city of Chicago, a city with one of the toughest gun laws in the country, than the Afghanistan war. She is not alone in her beliefs. The Washington Times published an article showing “no discernible correlation” between a state’s crime rate and their gun laws; examining statistics from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, and studies from Gary Kleck and John Lott, the results from this analysis revealed how the gun crime will fluctuate based on any form of gun legislation (Sherfinski). This applies to loose and strict legislation regarding the availability of firearms in the certain state (Sherfinski). Additionally, a study done by Harvard University concluded that stricter laws do not necessarily mean less crime. The Boston Magazine presents the findings as such: “‘International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. Unfortunately, such discussions [have] all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative,’ the researchers wrote in their introduction of their findings” (Annear).
Merkle further argues that she has been shooting since she was seven years old, and any legislation that prevents her from owning rifles like the AR-15, the shooting rifle of her choice, would destroy her chances at a shooting scholarship at a university. Lastly, Merkle explains that restricting gun availability would eliminate our ability to protect our lives, liberty and pursuits of happiness, in violation of the second amendment. Merkle presents an argument that is centered around the logic supporting pro-gun rights advocates, but she makes her personal stake in the issue very clear: banning guns would negatively impact her life in the long run. Compared to the following two viewpoints presented in this forum, Mike Lewis and Vincent DeMarco, Merkle argues for a reason that is much more emotionally and personally invested than the others.