The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

                                   Gun Control in the United States

 

The US Constitution, particularly The Bill of Rights, provides Americans with the right to keep and bear arms, according to the second amendment.

 

                       Amendment II

“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.”

 

This right was guaranteed by the founding fathers, but has recently become a topic of great controversy. Throughout America, this year alone [2013] there have been mass shooting sprees that have killed and or injured hundreds of innocent people, including young children.

 

This controversial topic brings many questions to the surface. Should gun control be enacted, thereby altering Americans constitutional rights? Should deeper background checks be performed on those who purchase guns? Or should gun control be obliterated altogether? Many associations, such as the NRA, oppose gun control and declare it to be unconstitutional. While other organizations, such as parents groups, claim that the second amendment was directly recognizing militia, rather than individuals.

 

As a matter of opinion, gun control cannot possibly resolve the incidents of mass killing. Simply by outlawing gun ownership will result in a similar issue as the biggest failure in US history- Alcohol Prohibition in the early 1920’s to 1930’s. Alcohol was banned to decrease the manufacturing of and consumption of alcohol. However, almost immediately, alcohol went underground and then became an even more dangerous product, increased crimes and removed a major source of tax revenue.

Likewise, gun control will result in ‘underground’ firearms sales, with no government control, resulting in a more dangerous industry and a larger source of tax revenue loss.

 

On the other hand, gun control can significantly reduce the amount of ‘true criminals’ access to firearms resulting in less fatal crimes and injuries. And then there is the question of exactly ‘who’ the second amendment was directed at; to Militia or American citizens? It can be alleged that if you remove being necessary to the security of a free state from the amendment, you are left with “A well-regulated militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  In this sense, one could assume that the second amendment was specifically addressing the militia. But this is illogical because it gives no protection for the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness granted to all Americans by Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence who said:

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

 

With this in mind; exactly how will Americans protect themselves or abolish a destructive government? The armed Militia, under the command of such a government, will be unlikely to overthrow such a destructive government and therefore it lies with the American people to take up arms to protect themselves, their families and their community in such a situation. Though President Jefferson wrote these words in 1776, but they still hold true in modern times. It is the responsibility, the duty of the American people to protect and defend their country against foreign and domestic enemies. In order to carry out this duty, American people must be armed and any violation of their second amendment rights would and could result in a destructive government.

 –Tami Gilford

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