Critical Reasoning- Survey on Guns in America

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Critical Reasoning- Survey on Guns in America

In Dec 2014, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey, asking 1507 people spread among all 50 states and the District of Columbia , “What do you think is more important – to protect the right of Americans to own guns or to control gun ownership?” For the first time in more than two decades, a higher percentage (52%) said it was more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns than to control gun ownership (46%). The researchers used 1993 as a reference point because it's seen as the height of gun violence in America; they also noted that gun-related violence fell sharply in the 1990s and more gradually in later years. But Pew also noted that many Americans didn't seem to agree with the numbers. A survey found that only 12 percent of respondents thought the gun crime rate was lower than it was in 1993 — and 56 percent thought it was higher.

It can be concluded from this survey result that:

  1. Though gun crime is thought to be rising, a majority of people are against stricter background checks on gun purchases.
  2. Most people are not in favor of proposals to restrict gun sales as gun-related violence is falling.
  3. More Americans believe the right to own a gun should be protected, despite perceived increase in gun crime.
  4. With falling gun crime, fewer Americans support controls on gun ownership.
  5.  

    • Correct Answer
      Choice C

    Detailed Solution

    This question presents respondents with two alternatives: When the issue of guns is raised, do you find yourself more on the side of protecting gun rights or controlling gun ownership? From the survey results we can conclude that

    • More Americans today think their right to own a gun should be protected, as compared to those who vote for control in gun ownership

    • Though the numbers show that gun crime is falling as compared to 1993, people believe otherwise.

    Consider option A. The part of the sentence that says “Though gun crime is thought to be rising” is true.

    But from the survey question, it cannot be said whether the majority of people are against stricter background checks on gun purchases. This is a specific issue of gun policy not addressed by the survey.

    Option B is ruled out on 2 counts. Firstly it talks of proposals to restrict gun sales. We have no idea what these proposals may be and the reaction of the public to them is beyond the scope of this survey. Secondly, people not being in favor of something because gun related violence is falling does not make sense given the fact that people actually believe gun related violence is increasing.

    Based on the second argument above, we can rule out option D as well. Fewer Americans today support control in gun ownership, but that cannot be linked to fall in gun crime.

    Considering option C, we can see from the survey that a majority of Americans believe the right to own a gun should be protected. From the other information we have we know that as far as gun crime is concerned there is a perceived increase. So C is the correct answer.

    Correct Answer: Choice (c)



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