This essay by Talita Shirky won Second Place in the Hare & Bell 2018 Writing Contest.


When it comes to hot button topics, there are few more inflammatory than the debate over whether to reenact the lapsed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban into US law. Putting aside the loaded rhetoric, it is challenging to make sense of the statistics being brandished by both sides of the dispute. Representing the argument in opposition of the ban is an article by Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist magazine, titled “The Assault Weapons Ban Is A Stupid Idea Pushed by Stupid People.” While this article presents a logical argument supported by verifiable facts, the source’s overall reliability is damaged by the obvious bias of both the website and the article.