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It’s My Right

“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.”

These words, written in the US constitution, hold just as true today as they did 228 years ago. Recently, the validity and safety of the second amendment has come under fire. Although these criticisms are valid and well-intentioned, infringing upon the second amendment is not only wrong but dangerous.

Murder and violent crime are undeniably terrible problems in America, but would banning certain kinds of guns solve this? When discussing the issue of gun rights, there are two main priorities: safety and liberty. Historically, these two principals have often come in contrast with each other. However, in relation to this particular issue they go hand in hand. Joseph Hansen, senior, says, “The right to defend ourselves is a natural born right, whether it’s from a government or a criminal breaking into your home or attacking you on the street.” The second amendment can be a tool to protect both the safety and liberty of the American people.

There are many reasons that fire arms being available to citizens is important. The first being its original intention, preserving the rights of the people. The second amendment was meant as a safeguard against a government that steps over its bounds and becomes tyrannical. Although the possibility of this may seem unreal to many people in this day and age it is always a possibility. World War II, only a couple generations ago, showed us that free and prosperous nations can become horribly tyrannical in short amounts of time.

The notion that having an armed populace is not a deterrent against government tyranny because government has more weapons is often used to refute this argument. Private citizens with weapons were able to fight off America, the world’s greatest power, in Vietnam. Additionally, it is unlikely that a government would be quite as ruthless when fighting a war against its own people. For example, they would presumably be very hesitant to go to extreme measures like nuclear and chemical weapons out of fear for backlash. Therefore, it is feasible that the armed citizens could overthrow the government.

The second amendment is also important because it allows people to protect themselves because criminals will always find a way to commit crime. Many students at TL support gun laws in order to keep people safe. “It is necessary and proper to tighten gun laws because what’s more important, keeping guns or protecting people’s lives,” says Shannon Mayo, a senior at TL. However, thinking that the issue of mass murders and other violent crimes is as simple as making guns illegal is, sadly, unrealistic. Having a gun can equalize the victim to an attacker. Firearms in the right hands can prevent crimes because we can’t always rely on the police to get there in time.

This is especially important to women. Women have to worry about being overpowered by a male assailant. If a large man attacks me, whether or not he has a gun, the unfortunate reality of the situation is I wouldn’t be able to defend myself, unless I had a weapon. Not allowing people to carry a firearm strips law abiding citizens of the ability to defend themselves and does not stop criminals.

Many students at TL support more gun control, almost every student I spoke with was in favor of stronger gun control to various degrees. One (anonymous) student stated, “The [fewer] guns on the streets the safer, but what is most important is making sure they are in the right hands with background checks.” Another agreed, “Strict gun control laws will make people safer.” These sentiments seem to be largely held by the TL student body. The idea that guns should be difficult to get an only the most basic ones should be allowed is a popular one amongst Terra Linda students.

Proponents of harsh gun control would argue that taking some of these freedoms away would be worth it if people’s lives would be saved. However I disagree with the premise that gun control would be an effective way of stopping these crimes. If criminals want guns they will get them, someone planning on commiting murder doesn’t care if it is illegal for them to own that gun. They will either find a way to get one illegally or find another way to kill people. An example of this is the recent attacks using vehicles such as in Nice, France when 85 people were killed in an attack with a truck.

Simply banning the weapon used is not a sufficient solution for a much more complex and deep rooted issue. If we as a country want to really make improvements in the issue of gun violence unfortunately it will not be that simple.

Americans should not be so willing to to give up their rights as it is a slippery slope. Criminals will unfortunately be able to get guns no matter what and strict gun laws will only take away from law abiding citizens who care about following laws. Strict gun control violates people’s right to defend themselves from criminals or a tyrannical government. The right to bear arms is a tool to protect our other rights and is not given to us by the government, it is a right we inherently have and the second amendment simply stops the government from violating this right.

Clearly, not everyone agrees with this perspective. Despite this, it is important to give all sides of any issue a voice. Once all voices have been heard, we can come together to find a satisfying middleground. Just as the second amendment gives us the right to bear arms the first gives us the right to express our views. We should all use this right to have productive respectful conversation on these difficult issues.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a very well written article. I really like it. I’m a bit confused as to why the fact that it is an opinion piece had to be stated, as it is clearly written as an opinion.

  2. This was a very interesting report on the gun control debate, and I admire your passion for this topic; it is noticeable and respected. Although I disagree with you on this topic, I appreciate your respect and maturity towards the pro-gun control side. I’m just going to state some facts that I have acquired over the past couple years, since Trump has been in office. Him being Republican made me curious about the conservative side and why they believe what they believe. Anyways, here are some facts:

    Out of all the guns in the whole world, the U.S. owns about half of them, around 300 million guns.

    The U.S. represents 5% of the population, and yet holds 31% of the mass shooters globally. We have had 90 mass shooting from 1966 to 2012, while the rest of the countries only had less than 20.

    The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25.2 times more likely than in the other high-income countries.

    The U.S. has 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized countries COMBINED.

    We have had 288 school shootings while Canada and France have had 2 since January 2009.
    (Facts found from CNN)

    Now, although CNN is seen as bias news, these facts are not bias. As someone who likes to compare the U.S. to other countries, these facts about gun control are undoubtedly worrisome.

    My approach to solving these issues is not to restrict gun control, but to educate the public about these issues. I think we, as the upcoming generation, need to lead our nation with facts and intelligence. We need to change our culture and society. Rape, immigration, racism, gun control, abortion, and all other issues intertwine together under the 3 main problems in the U.S.

    The three main problems are: Our country is completely polarized politically which is dangerous when we need to make law, enforce the law, and interpret the law; there is no separation between church and state; and money is the driving factor for all things. If we can fix these issue with a bipartisan agreement, all these sub-issues that intertwine together, including gun control, can be solved.

    All in all, you had a very strong piece that I enjoyed reading because I didn’t even consider some of the points that you had mentioned such as the balance between safety and liberty. Although I disagree with you, I will probably be referring to this piece in the near future. Great work!

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