The right to keep and bear arms in the United States is a protection afforded to the citizens by the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Researching this topic is a divisive issue and an issue that may never be resolved. Or can it?
“Human beings have probably always killed each other, which can be dated back to cave paintings in Spain as early as 10,000 B.C. that depicted battles with bows and arrows” (Lambert).
Prehistoric, Ancient and weapons in the middle ages were created by man for hunting, killing, and protecting. Man has an inherent nature to dominate when threatened, and the overwhelming desire to rule. Weapons, shields, fortresses and other implements developed over time as man learned techniques and methods to strike at the enemy using every resource available at any given time in history. The Chinese discovered black powder in the 9th Century and over time, black powder was developed into a modern weapon. In the 1300s where the first use of a firearm was recorded, a weapon was fired using “a burning wick to a touch hole in the barrel igniting the powder inside” (History Detectives – Gun Timeline) and over time, the techniques used in firearms development lead to the first recorded use if pistols in the 1700s.
Eventually, in the late 1800s the advent of the automatic handgun was upon us and as we all know today, handguns and rifles still use the same basic principal for today’s modern weapons by igniting the black powder which creates an explosion sending the projectile out through the barrel towards the target. C. In 1789, Congress created a “Bill of Rights” that includes the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which is know as the right to bear arms. “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” (The Bill of Rights, 2018). The “Bill of Rights” was created to protect the citizens from excessive government power, enabling the citizens to be protected, to have means to protect themselves and insuring the government was protected against itself (Securing Liberty – The Purpose and the Bill of Rights, 2018).
It’s arguably one the most heated and debated topics of modern times – gun control. On any given day of the week, a shooting occurs that tears at the heartstrings of Americans due to a senseless act by a coward, an extremist, or someone who lacks the mental faculties to understand what he has done. Usually when an event involving a gun occurs, we never hear about it except for the incidents that stand out – mass injuries or deaths at the behest of a person with a gun or many guns.
More than half of Americans advocate for stricter gun laws and those who believe this fell stricter guns regulations will save lives, reduce violent crime, reduce the number of gun related accidents and they even believe they will feel safer if there were strict laws and enforcement of those laws. Some states have passed strict laws that make it more difficult to buy or even own a gun. Some states make it mandatory to attend a weeklong gun safety class tailored to the gun a person wants to buy for a cause. Handguns and hunting rifles or shotguns to be more specific and there is even a suggestion to limit the number of guns one person can own.
Contrary to the belief that stricter gun laws will be better for citizens of the US, are the pro-gun believers. Pro-gun enthusiast believe that having fewer or no guns will make you vulnerable to a criminal thus reducing your safety in your own home, and there is even a belief that the government could over throw citizens if guns were removed from society. There are many points and counter-points on either side of this debate, but where is the resolution to this end fighting on the 2nd Amendment right given to us by the founding fathers? 2nd Amendment – Pro’s and Con’s.
“The United States has 88.8 guns per 100 people, or about 270,000,000 guns, which is the highest total and per capita number in the world. 22% of Americans own one or more guns (35% of men and 12% of women)”. (Should more Gun Control Laws be Enacted?, 2018)
People who believe that stricter gun control laws would reduce gun violence say that the 2nd Amendment was intended for militias. The same gun control advocates believe enhancement or more strict laws would reduce firearm violence and most people in the US are in favor of more gun restrictions. Gun advocates believe the 2nd Amendment protects a citizen’s right to own firearms and are needed to protect them from crime. Advocates are also firm in the belief that owning guns are a clear deterrent to crime.
The most recent annual spending budgets for gun control groups range upwards of $14M, which is comprised from a variety of sources to include the NRA, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and others (Guidestar, 2015). When a mass shooting occurs, the debate heats up in the United States. “There were 126 mass shootings between Jan 2000 and July 2015. Proponents of more gun control often want more laws to try to prevent the mass shootings and call for smart gun laws, background checks, and more protections against the mentally ill buying guns”. (The Real Story of Mass Shootings in America, 2015). Pro-rights, pro-gun believers say gun control proponents use these tragedy’s to push forward their agenda to pressure local, state and federal leaders to further a lost cause indicating more laws for gun control would not have stopped the shootings. The split across the country is about even; half believe gun control will further prevent shootings and the other half believe that everyone’s right to own a gun to protect themselves is the answer to preventing mass shootings.
Gun control versions vary around the globe and “according to the Library of Congress, which has studied different legal approaches to gun ownership, there are a few versions that actually work” (Lyons, 2017). One country that doesn’t prohibit ownership is Spain, but ownership is very restrictive that can be granted if certain criteria are met and ownership is considered a privilege and not a right. Spain’s government prohibits automatic firearms by civilians among other implements and ammunition if they are designed for a military action (Rodriguez-Ferrand, 2013). “Perhaps the strictest gun laws in the World are in Singapore, which hardly allows guns at all” (Lyons, 2017). If you are caught with more than two guns you are labeled as a trafficker or if you fire a gun in the commission of another crime, even if you don’t hit anyone, you can be put to death or jailed for life. There are a few limited restrictions to the laws in Singapore allowing the possession of certain guns.
Members of a Military Force who are granted permission to be there, the local police forces or persons specifically authorized during a ceremonial time in the performance of duties granted. Other countries like the U.K., Canada, and Australia also have strict laws but still have gun violence, but still nowhere near what we see in the U.S. 2. Switzerland seems to be the one country brought into the conversation when referring to pro-gun topic. All male citizens are required to get Military training and are required to keep two guns in their home and are even taught how to hide them in case of a tyrannical government take-over. Albeit, the government issues each man of 18 years a weapon and training but citizens can purchase certain weapons if desired. In comparison, Switzerland has a very low gun crime rate compared to similar European Countries with similar, liberal gun laws.
The “armed or not to be armed” debate will be a divisive long, long road to any end. Arguably, both sides have compelling data that will likely keep the pro’s and con’s debate at odd’s for many years, or even decades unless a strong move to either wipe away guns or make mandatory a militarized government issued program similar to Switzerland. Can we, as one of the largest populous in the world achieve a society free of gun violence? Probably not, however to reduce gun violence a serious change in culture, law, and attitude is key. Enforcement of existing laws should be enforced, should be built upon providing for harsh penalties for illegal traffickers of weapons and ammunition. Our laws are lax at best and need to be tweaked and guided through training, education, and enforcement of those laws. Keep in mind that even countries with some of the most strictest of laws, see the highest rate of gun violence in the world, because of the lack of education and enforcement. Maybe requiring our 18-year-old sons to receive mandatory military training and the issuance of a weapon is key, or maybe we just take them all away. But one thing is for sure, whether we have guns or we don’t, history tells us that human nature to survive, hunt, kill, and protect can not be legislated away.
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