All things TOEFL iBT

In the wake of the Aurora shooting, the perennial discussion on the individual right or non-right to guns in the U.S. once again comes to the fore. Read the following text on the topic:

I have a dream to counter the nightmare of Aurora. I see three or four ex-presidents standing together, speaking truth to the American people. Here is what they would say:

“Our fellow Americans, we have come together not as Democrats or Republicans, but as men who have been privileged to lead this great country. We all treasure the constitution and the Second Amendment. We believe that Americans have the right to own guns. But that amendment does not entitle citizens to own combat weapons like the assault weapon that the Aurora shooter used to kill 12 and wound 58 more in a Colorado theater. The AR-15 assault rifle is a military-style weapon designed to feature high-capacity ammunition magazines capable of firing up to 30 rounds of ammunition without reloading. You don’t need an assault weapon to protect your family or shoot a deer. No one should own an assault rifle except our folks in the military and the law enforcement officers who protect us. For 10 years, assault weapons like these were banned in all 50 states until Congress let the Federal Assault Weapons Ban “sunset.”

“Our fellow Americans, it’s time to reinstate this law. We call upon the men who lead, or want to lead this country, and the Congress, to do the right thing: protect American citizens by restricting the sale of such weapons to those who have been authorized to use them.”

Is such a group presidential statement a pipedream?

Former President Jimmy Carter has long called for reinstating the assault weapons ban. So, too, did President Clinton. In 1994 Clinton signed two bills that became the hallmark of such efforts. The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act required a five-day waiting period and background check for the sale of handguns and created a National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The Assault Weapons bill he signed banned the production and importing of 19 types of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and other guns with similar features, as well as ammunition magazines containing more than 10 rounds.

President George H.W. Bush signed an executive order making it illegal to import Uzis and AK-47s. Even his son, President George W. Bush, whose opposition to gun control may have helped him eke out victory over Al Gore, indicated in 2004 that he would have signed an assault weapons ban reauthorization had Congress approved it.

If not now, when? How many more massacres must Americans endure –the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Columbine, Amish girls, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Gabby Giffords? Can’t we do more than pray for families of victims and carry flowers to their graves? 

For the full article, go here.

Now watch the following video in which the speaker seeks to answer a very simple question: Do American Citizens have the right to own a gun?

The task: State how the reading passage contrasts with the views presented in the video. Give examples and reasons presented in each. Write at least 200 words.  


Comments on: "Integrated Writing – For or Against Gun Control in America" (1)


    The article states that according to the American Constitution and the Second Amendment, citizens do not have the right to own assault guns and provides two reasons of support. However, the man in the video explains that law allows citizens to own whatever gun and refutes the author’s reasons.
    First, the reading claims that Second Amendment provides Americans the right to own weapons but not assault ones. As said, combat weapons as that the Aurora shooter used to kill many people in a Colorado theater are not necessary to protect your family or shoot a deer, thus they are impermissible. The man refutes this point by saying that American Constitution entitles citizens to use assault guns and shows an example of support. He says that a Harvard professor claims that Second Amendment absolutely allows Americans to own a weapon.
    Second, the article points that only militaries and the law enforcement officers, whom protect society, should own an assault gun. However the professor states that citizens have the right to own at least a handgun to protect themselves from dangerous situations. For instance, a woman walking at night in a violent city may defend herself by a gun. According to him, local police, like SWAT, stays near people houses in order to secure them by having armed vehicles, teasers and so on, but it does not dispense citizens from own weapons.
    Later, the reading says that through United States history ex-presidents made efforts for reinstating the assault weapons ban, by signing bills and creating acts, banning the production and importing of military-style weapons and other guns with similar features. The Listening opposes this point by explaining that throughout history, people had guns in their homes, hunted with them, they defended themselves, they went to war, consequently guns were needed and allowed by American law.

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