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.