Rhetorical Appeals in Repeal the Second Amendment
American citizens are familiar with the words The Second Amendment, and speak about it with strong feelings. Gun control and gun rights has become more of a controversial issue since the recent increase in mass shootings, deaths, and injuries. In 'Repeal the Second Amendment', Ron Elving argues that although many American citizens want more gun control, changing or removing the Second Amendment would be impossible because of the difficult amending process. Elving's initial goal is to inform his audience, which are the American people in favor of repealing the Second Amendment and the people who want to keep it, what it would take to repeal the amendment and persuade them to agree. He makes his appeal by using ethos, logos, and pathos and gains the readers trust by using emotion, including credible sources, and citing facts from scholars, President Trump, and members of Congress.
Elving begins by explaining the strong and sometimes bitter feelings Americans have towards the Second Amendment. He goes on to talk about recent shootings that have caused people to fight about gun rights and gun control. He argues that many people are in favor of repealing the Second Amendment, but Elving gives reasons on why it's not possible. His solution to this problem would be to add restrictions to the Second Amendment, but this is also an issue that would not be so easy to make happen. Towards the end he also gives many examples of what America would have to overcome if there was no more Second Amendment. They would face challenges and it would physically be impossible to take away individual gun ownership in a country where so many citizens own guns- and care passionately about their right to do so? (Elving). Although he does a great job making his argument, he starts to lose his momentum when he talks about the Zombie amendments (Elving). By bringing these up, he strays away from his main argument and loses his influence and emotional response from the audience. He then picks it back up and drives his argument home. Elving does a good job making emotional appeals by bringing up past shootings and using words that would appeal to someone's emotions. He does a good job making logical appeals by using statistics and credible sources, and does a good job making an ethical appeal by using basic vocabulary that anyone with basic knowledge could understand.
Elving's use of pathos in this article successfully appeals to the reader's emotions. For example, he opens up by talking about the feelings Americans get when they hear the words The Second Amendment. He uses words such as forceful, vehement, bitterness, and blame (Elving). He uses these words to appeal to the audience's emotions and to point out the two sides there are when it comes to the Second Amendment. There's a side that feels supportive of the Second Amendment and a side that feels bitter towards it. He also then brings up the Parkland FL. shooting that caused a stir in the discussion of gun control and gun rights. By mentioning the 17 people that were killed and the movement that started in response to the shooting, it brings about an emotional response from the reader and makes the reader feel sympathetic for the people involved in the massacre.
Along with the strong pathos appeals, Elving uses logos appeals by citing statistics and giving logical reasons on why repealing the Second Amendment would be impossible. Logos is Elving's major appeal. Throughout this article he uses historical information about the Second Amendment. He goes into detail about how Congress has tried many times to put restrictions on this amendment, but the attempts at strengthening them have failed (Elving). This proves that he has done his research and also strengthens his argument. Another example of logos seen in this article is when he says, If 70 percent of Americans want more gun control and the Second Amendment stands in their way, why shouldn't they be able to do something about it? (Elving). He includes the statistic about 70% of Americans wanting more gun control, which strengthens his credibility. In this quote he is also appealing to the people's emotions who want to repeal the Second Amendment. He is letting them know that he agrees that if most Americans want to do something about Second Amendment, then something should be done about it.
Elving's use of ethos supports his argument and strengthens his credibility. His use of basic vocabulary appeals to almost any person and his language and way of writing is easy for almost any audience to understand. Elving also strengthens his credibility by explaining how the meaning of the second amendment has been argued over since the 1700s (Elving). This shows the audience that he has a great understanding of the history of the Second Amendment. He's also giving us a look into what sides have been taken and why people choose to take that side. He also uses quotes from President Trump and Obama and scholars, which helps to convince his audience that he is credible and makes them more interested in reading (Elving). Elving also proves his credibility by bringing up the Parkland FL. school shooting and mentioning how 17 people were killed (Elving). This makes an ethical appeal, and shows that he did his research on this topic.
Elving beings this article by effectively using ethos, logos, and pathos to strengthen his argument on repealing the Second Amendment and trying to persuade the audience to agree with him. Although he loses his power and momentum by shifting his focus to the Zombie amendments in the middle, he does a good job bringing his momentum back and finishing out strong. He effectively makes his argument that although most Americans are in favor of repealing the Second Amendment, it would take historically difficult and it would change the United States to be a much more different place than we know today. Readers can see by the reasons given by Elving that repealing the second amendment would fail.
Elving, Ron. Repeal The Second Amendment? That's Not So Simple. Here's What It Would Take. NPR, NPR, 1 Mar. 2018,