Up in arms: Debating gun control.

One of the biggest debates argued this summer has been gun control. We’ve watched horrifying instances of police shooting unarmed suspects and also the attacks and killing of police, which has doubled in the last year. Our country is in a state of largely opposing sides and everyone has a stance. While the Democrats are swaying people toward stricter gun regulations, there is an immensely valid argument for a simple, straightforward interpretation of our Second Amendment right. In today’s day and age, with the level of crime in our culture, it is becoming necessary to own a gun, and it needs to remain our legal right.

The Second Amendment 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.” While many argue the legal meaning of different parts of the phrase, it clearly states we have the right as citizens to own guns. Under this theory, legislative bodies cannot prohibit firearm possession – and with good reason. One of the reasons we have a right to own and use firearms is for our safety.

To put it in the simplest terms, taking away our guns will only take away protection from law-abiding citizens and make them easier targets. Of the last eleven mass shootings in our country, ten were in gun free zones, according to Breitbart News Network. These zones are such where the possession or use of a firearm is considered a crime. Gun-free zones signal to predators that they will be able to act with no resistance and that they can carry out their massacre with no armed citizen to stop them.

The argument for gun regulation is an admirable one – it’s also a very bad idea for the future of our country. To get a drastic change in deaths by firearm, there would have to be a complete disposal of weaponry for citizens. But that would imply getting rid of every single one, which is impossible. Even if that were possible, it would only leave room for a loss of democracy in the states. Think big scale – if we take away all the guns in the “land of the free”, what does that imply for the future of our country? It creates the realistic possibility of our democracy becoming a socialist state: more government control, less power to the people and a more militarized country.

Interestingly, disarming a populous does not make them safer. In the UK, following the ban of guns in 1996, crimes immediately skyrocketed with around a 50 percent increase in homicide rates according to data published by the Crime Prevention Research Center. On a larger scale, look at the history of the 19th Century. According to numbers by the Tea Party Tribune, in 1911 Turkey disarmed its citizens and between 1915 and 1917 they murdered 1.5 million Armenians. In 1929 Russia disarmed its citizens and between 1929 and 1953 they murdered 20 million Russians. In 1935 China disarmed its citizens and between 1948 and 1952 they murdered 20 million Chinese.

I am no pro-gun extremist by any means. By letting citizen’s buy firearms by any means necessary would ensue absolute chaos. Even as a supporter to bear arms, there are regulations that need to be followed and responsibility that needs to be taken to be able to possess a weapon. To own a pistol in the U.S., a citizen needs to be 21 years of age and apply for a concealed carry permit, which requires a background check before being able to purchase a firearm. To mend those regulations, there could be more extensive background checks, but that’s about as far as the control should go. In the countries mentioned above, the encroachment of government on the gun owning rights of its citizens was very gradual. What other grounds do government officials have to say that someone can’t own a gun if that individual is a law-abiding citizen?

Most people who are anti-gun are terrified of guns, understandably. The first time I ever shot a gun was at a gun range with a 22 rifle – a sort of glorified BB gun mostly used for hunting. I was shaking and almost backed out when I first got to the range. Over time, I have shot more guns and am more comfortable with them. Getting over the fear of the weapon by using it in a safe environment has helped me realize that guns are a responsibility, but they are not necessarily something to be feared. It’s like learning to drive a car – it’s a big responsibility, and something that needs time and training and needs to not be taken for granted. But once you know how to safely drive, it becomes less scary and opens the possibility for greater freedom from the dangers of today’s society.

Sources:

“Comparing Murder Rates and Gun Ownership across Countries – Crime Prevention Research Center.” Crime Prevention Research Center. March 31, 2014. Accessed July 23, 2016. http://crimeresearch.org/2014/03/comparing-murder-rates-across-countries/.

Gura, David. “Background Check: What It Really Takes to Buy a Gun.” Background Check: What It Really Takes to Buy a Gun. February 7, 2013. Accessed July 23, 2016. http://www.marketplace.org/2013/02/07/business/guns-and-dollars/background-check-what-it-really-takes-buy-gun.
Hawkins, AWR. “CNN Lists 10 Mass Shootings in Gun-Free Zones on Obama’s Watch – Breitbart.” Breitbart News. July 12, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2016. http://www.breitbart.com/2nd-amendment/2016/07/12/cnn-10-mass-shootings-gun-free-zones-obama/.
“Second Amendment.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Accessed July 23, 2016. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment.
Steyn, Mark. “In the Absence of Guns | The American Spectator.” In the Absence of Guns | The American Spectator. January 11, 2013. Accessed July 23, 2016. http://spectator.org/34133_absence-guns/.
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