What would be a good way to begin an essay on the topic of gun violence?

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I would start by stating clearly your stand on how the United States should deal with gun violence. You might begin by saying that national gun control legislation is the best way to stem gun violence, or you might, on the other hand, start by stating that resources spent on mental health initiatives would be more effective than gun control laws. Wherever you stand, state it clearly. This helps anchor the reader.

After your opening paragraph, you would normally have an "admittedly" paragraph, in which you state the strong points of the opponents' side of the argument. For example, if you were supporting stricter gun control laws, you would begin this paragraph by acknowledging that mental health issues do contribute to gun violence and that many people believe that relying on tackling mental illness is the best approach.

Then, you would spend the rest of the essay showing why gun control is, in fact, a more effective way to stop gun violence. You would examine the flaws in using mental health training as the chief deterrent to gun violence, and you would outline several reasons why gun control legislation would be effective.

Once you have your opening structure, the rest of your paper should fall into place.

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Writing an essay on guns and violence will almost always involve addressing the issues of gun violence in the United States, differing interpretations of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and a discussion of the history of gun control, not just in the United States, but in other countries as well.  Each of these components of the broader topic provides considerable opportunities for an approach to an essay on the topic of guns and violence.  

An introduction to an essay on guns and violence could include reference to particularly notable instances of gun violence in the United States, particularly the school shootings that have generated the most debate around the country on gun control, for example, the April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, the April 16, 2007, shooting rampage at Virginia Technical Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, and the most recent incidence, and the December 2012 massacre of school children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, the list of such incidences over the past one hundred years is very long, but these are three recent and particularly shocking cases.

In addition to referencing the history of school shootings in the United States, an introductory section of an essay on guns and violence could include statistics on gun violence in America, with statistics available from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice.  Finally, the introduction could include reference to the contentious political debates that regularly occur in Congress and across the country following high-visibility shootings like those mentioned above.  The 2nd Amendment to 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."  This provision is subject to interpretation, and mention of it early in an essay on gun violence is probably appropriate.

These, then, constitute the core of an introduction on the subject of guns and violence, and could provide the basis for much of the essay's body.  The essays the links to which are provided below should assist in formulating an approach to a student paper on the subject of guns and violence.

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