The United States Constitution was created with the intention of establishing the fundamental rights of all United States citizens. It serves as an outline for laws, as well as to set boundaries for the United States government. Particularly,the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms and 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.” When James Madison had first proposed the Second Amendment in 1791, Americans were allowed the usage of guns and other arms to fight against the English. The Amendment was originally created to grant citizens the opportunity to fight back and prevent a tyrannical federal government from being established in America.
However, this meaning has been lost over time, and in modern American society, the original purpose of the amendment is no longer valid. Due to the terms agreed upon, citizens have been guaranteed the right to protect themselves and their families by using a firearm against threats which can endanger their lives. Over the past several decades, there have been debates over the use of firearms, and if it is within the standards of the written law. The controversies and debates concerning gun usage had begun in 1791 when the Bill of Rights had been created. Essentially, there are two sides that were created a result of this debate.
One side, the advocates argue for gun rights and the other side, the adversaries, argue for gun control. “Gun rights” refers to the right to keep and bear arms, whereas “gun control” refers to the policies and laws that are enacted to regulate the manufacture, sale, possession, and use of firearms. Many of the inhabitants of the United States believe that the government should impose additional restrictions on gun usage by implementing effective ways to combat gun use. However, the opposing side argues that by restricting gun use, the government will be infringing on their freedom. The divide about gun control in the United States is evident in today’s society. Gun control advocates argue that guns cause more violence and deaths in the United States, while the gun control adversaries argues that by having stricter policies on firearms, the government will be restricting their sense of personal freedom; these policies differ all over the world, yielding statistics that are different than the USA.The Second Amendment of the United States has become more relevant in today’s society after countless mass shootings prompted Americans to have a necessary conversation about gun law policies.
Though the United States accounts for about five percent of the world population, the percentage of guns is a shocking number. It is recorded that “Forty-eight percent of Americans said they grew up in a house with guns.” With a lack of the amount of laws that primarily restrict the use of these guns, it is understandable why many argue that the nation needs these laws. They are meant to serve as boundaries and guidelines and without them, there would be chaos and deterioration of society and the government. The Mass Shooting Tracker catalogs incidents that are concerning guns. According to the tracker, there were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870.
A mass shooting is a subjective term, but most generally is qualified when four or more people are injured. With the federal government taking no action to limit the amount of gun violence in the USA, there are more and more mass shootings every day. Many citizens question why America’s statistics are so high: “Why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings? Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad.” This is a topic that needs to be addressed, as it has become integrated into our daily lives so much so that Americans are not shocked when they read the next headline about mass shootings. However, the question is where do we as citizens draw the line as to what is allowed? A similar issue is related to DACA recipients. Some question if the government allows those illegal immigrants into the country, what about all the other illegal immigrants? How can one make an exception to one group of people but not the others? This is essentially the problem; the government cannot please and meet the needs of both groups.
There is much controversy on the topic. When the government regulates the activities of its citizens, the question becomes who should do the regulating: the states or the federal government? It is still debated whether the usage of guns is a federal or state level problem. States such as Idaho, Alaska, and Kansas, have passed various laws attempting to nullify federal gun legislation, but legal analysts say these are unconstitutional. Because states have varying laws when compared, obtaining a gun is not as difficult as people apprehend it to be. While there are states like Texas that allow people to walk around with guns with no license, there are people in California who wish to carry a small concealed handgun but are almost certainly denied the required California license, regardless of training. A court case in 2008 was centered around this issue.
During the Heller case, the U.S. Supreme Court answered a long-standing constitutional question about whether the right to “keep and bear arms” is an individual right unconnected to service in the militia or a collective right that applies only to state-regulated militias. The Supreme Court has identified the Second Amendment as a fundamental individual right in (District of Columbia v.
Heller, 2008), which only can be impeded upon with good rational reasoning. Another issue that arises from this rationale is what qualifies as “rational reasoning” The nation is torn in the sense of deciding to what extent background checks, concealed carry permits, purchasing licenses, and other forms of Second Amendment restrictions are deemed “good rational reasoning,” and on whose job it is to decide that? All the court cases relating to gun control and in general the amount of times it is mentioned in news headlines, emphasizes the importance of addressing and fixing the controversies. A perspective on guns currently is that the United States needs more laws that protect citizens. The main argument is that the right to bear arms should be only be given to organized groups, such as the National Guard. Giving guns to citizens have only resulted in negative consequences, they argue. By restricting use to militias, there where will most likely be less deaths, and therefore citizens will feel more secure in their country that has a duty to protect their citizens. They want to see a change in the laws surrounding guns, particularly involving who can own them, where they can be carried and what type of guns should be available for purchase. The opposing side argues that limiting the number of guns would not limit the amount of crime.
However, advocates for gun control often quote Japan’s low gun-homicide rates, which is one in 10 million – one of the lowest in the world.Because other countries have positive experiences with strict laws against guns, Americans want the same effect in the United States. The fact that there are more guns than people in the United States shows the severity of the matter. Many mistakes can be made, such as leaving a gun in the same room as a child, or even letting a gun go into the hands of the wrong person. These such mistakes can cost the lives of innocent people.
How is it possible that it is legal for a teenager to obtain a gun, but they cannot purchase lottery tickets, alcohol or cigarettes? The government is showing no signs of changing the laws, even though the guns are causing a lot of harm to citizens. In the New York Times, Firmin DeBrabander argues that individual liberty is completely undermined by allowing citizens to wield guns: “Guns pose a monumental challenge to freedom, and particular, the liberty that is the hallmark of any democracy worthy of the name — that is, freedom of speech. Guns do communicate, after all, but in a way that is contrary to free speech aspirations: for, guns chasten speech.” With the presence of guns, people no longer feel safe going outside. They may even limit themselves in terms of where they go and what they say in order to protect themselves. The presence of guns actually prevent people from living their lives, therefore being counterintuitive.
Americans also notice that the Federal government is placing their attention on the wrong matters. The US spends more than a trillion dollars a year defending itself against terrorist acts, when in reality, gun violence kills more people compared to terrorists. The lack of action from the government discourages a lot of Americans.
Donald Trump, for example, blames mental illness as the main cause of gun-related deaths. However, a law known as the The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits persons under eighteen years of age, convicted criminals, the mentally disabled, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others from purchasing firearms. Clearly, these laws are not properly being enforced because the people mentioned above are the ones who are responsible for the mass shootings. The president of the United States himself cannot properly justify the acts of violence. Since there is no action being taken, the cycle will keep repeating. Teenagers in high school are prompted to think about their safety in terms of their community, schools, and homes. They have lived through ? of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S.
history. Shootings are very real possibilities in our society. It is understandable that parents and teenagers alike are concerned about their safety and how the future of the country will look like. Not until measures are taken to prevent these kinds of accidents will many Americans feel safe just living their lives. People that oppose the idea that gun use should be restricted mainly argue that it is their right as a U.S. citizen to use guns. The wording of the Second Amendment is what they use to justify the usage of firearms in the United States.
They state that restricting gun use will be infringing on their sense of personal freedom, an infraction of the first amendment. While many gun owners say they have more than one reason for owning a firearm, 67% cite protection as a significant reason. About four-in-ten gun owners (38%) say hunting is a major reason, and 30% cite sport shooting. Smaller shares cite a gun collection or their job as principal reasons.
With the number of guns available in the country, restricting the sale of guns would severely impact the source of income for many citizens. To add on, many people believe that not being able to defend themselves with guns will only give the government more power, and could eventually cause the government to exercise absolute power over the people. Lawrence Hunter, Chairman of Revolution PAC, stated, “The Founders understood that the right to own and bear laws is as fundamental and as essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion and the other protections against government encroachments on liberty delineated in the Bill of Rights. By solving one problem, we are creating another one. Restricting the use of guns would cause a restriction on people’s liberty. It is also argued that implementing more laws will not lessen the rate of crime.
If people wanted to kill others with the use of guns, they are already performing an illegal action, so they will not hesitate to break more. A law would not prohibit a murderer from killing. Even so, there are laws that monitor the gun sales in the states. The U.S. requires a federal background check for all those buying guns from licensed dealers.
However, this rule is diminished in private transactions such as at gun shows. All in all, the main argument is that laws will restrict their sense of personal freedom. All around the world, there are different policies on gun control. Other countries such as China, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom have stricter gun laws. Gun ownership in China is strictly regulated. Civilians are not authorized to have guns and can even face life imprisonment if caught trafficking firearms. Institutions such as sporting organizations, legal hunting reserves and wildlife protection, and research entities can own guns. Individual ownership can be obtained for hunting.
After a strict process, a license can be obtained for those without felony convictions. Fully automatics and explosives are prohibited in China. China has a low homicide rate, at 0.7 per 100,000 residents in 2014. To be a gun owner in Australia however, one must obtain a Firearms License from State Governments which must be renewed every year or after every five years. A potential gun owner must cite a genuine reason such as target shooting or hunting. Stricter gun control laws in Australia have translated to declining gun-homicide rates. Other countries with strict laws include: “Norway, Finland, Germany, France and Denmark, all countries with heavy gun ownership, posted low murder rates in the early 2000s compared to “gun-light” developed nations.
In 2002, for example, Germany’s murder rate was one-ninth that of Luxembourg, where the law prohibits civilian ownership of handguns and gun ownership is rare” These laws vary from the United States. Although, through their statistics, is is evident that gun control had a positive effect. These countries had some issues at first, but used their mistakes as a learning tool. Based on the tragedies, they implemented laws to prevent the same incident from happening again.
America is different in the sense that we keep letting the cycle repeat, despite the number of times these disturbances have occurred, and we are not implementing many changes. All in all, the issues surrounding gun usage is a relevant topic in today’s society. There are so many layers to this topic that there is a divide between what is wrong or right. The Constitution is the common factor between the opposing sides as one can spin the wording to be in favor of their side. The wording itself is up for interpretation, which is why it is hard for the government to make decisions without facing a backlash from one side. However, it is clear that there has to be some changes or compromises in order for everyone to be truly pleased and safe.
It is not a topic we can easily ignored, as it is continuously becoming a topic of discussion. In order for society to be a safer place for us when we grow up, changes need to be implemented today. The statistics for United States homicides could be reduced if proper laws and background checks were implemented. We can take other countries as an example as how to make the nation a safer place.