In 1791, the United States ratified the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment 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.” In simpler terms, the Second Amendment states that Americans have the right to bear arms. This amendment was passed 315 years ago, but yet it is still highly debated today. With recent mass shootings across the country, gun control and the right to bear arms have become a topic of controversy across the country. Many people believe that gun control needs to be stricter and more regulated, but I believe that there should not be stricter gun control in America.
A gun is defined as, “a weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise.” No where in that definition does it say that a gun is something that kills people, because a gun doesn’t kill, the person behind the gun kills. Any weapon, such as a knife, missile or even a fork, could be used to kill someone, but that is not the sole purpose of the weapon. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to kill someone with my fork when I’m eating my dinner, that just sounds ridiculous. Yes, actually, that is ridiculous, but that is my point, the fork alone doesn’t kill, the person who is behind the fork kills, just like the person behind the gun kills.
Sure, not everyone should be entitled to the use of a gun, but that doesn’t mean that we need to limit the use and regulations of gun. It is a Constitutional right to possess a gun, and as stated, it shouldn’t be infringed upon. Most people in possession of a gun have it for protection, hunting and recreation, or because their job entitles them to have a firearm. These people aren’t carrying guns with the purpose of shooting up a school, killing random people on the street or shooting police officers.
If you were a woman who was assaulted on her way home from work one night, you may be feel the need to protect yourself by carrying a gun. Does that mean that you want to kill every man in sight? It certainly doesn’t, it means that you are first and foremost exercising your right to carry that gun, and it means you are protecting yourself. Carrying that gun may just save your life the next time you were to get attacked, but not carrying that gun because of an infringement on your Second Amendment right, well, that may have just cost you your life.
Likewise, we would never think to take a gun away from a police officer. Police officers come face to face with weapons, and violence quite frequently so of course we would never strip them off a weapon that can potentially save their life. We also would never strip our military of their guns, because they are fighting for our country and keeping the enemy away. If we wouldn’t strip these individuals of their access to a gun, why should we restrict any individuals right to gun access? To answer that question simply, we shouldn’t.
Whether someone be a wanted felon or an older lady on the street, they should be at least given the right to possess a gun under their Constitutional right. A criminal is going to break a law or commit a crime whether he or she has access to a gun or not. Just because a criminal doesn’t have a gun, doesn’t mean they won’t find a knife, or a bomb or some other kind of weapon. There are more deadly weapons than just a gun for a criminal, or anyone to get access to. As a matter of fact, everyone has access to a deadly weapon, just by having a knife in the kitchen. Now no one is going to think to limit access and set strict regulations on having kitchen knives in a house, and it should be no different with a gun. A homicide can occur from a steak knife stabbing; a homicide can occur with basically any object that is sharp or can exhibit force. So, even without a gun in access a deadly crime can still occur. A criminal is still going to be a criminal with or without a gun, and there shouldn’t be limitations on gun access because of that reason alone!
However, I know that that isn’t going to get my point across enough, so let me start with addressing mass shootings that have come into light in today’s society. Many of these shootings have had shooters that have psychological or mental illnesses. The gun itself wasn’t the reason there was a shooting — there was a shooting because the person behind the gun wasn’t given the help they needed. What the government needs to be focusing on is getting people with mental illness the help they need. If the government stopped focusing on restricting the right to bear arms, they would be able to focus on getting those in need the help they need. When a person is given the help they need, a deadly gun crime would never be in the question, because they wouldn’t have the idea or the motive to shoot and kill. The war on guns should be a war on what the underlying factor of mass shootings is…mental illness.
Everyone can remember the mass shooting that occurred at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The cause of this shooting was the mental illness that the shooter had. Innocent lives were lost in this shooting, but they weren’t lost because of a gun — the gun didn’t pull its own trigger — they were lost because the shooter had an untreated mental illness. If the government focused on more efficient mental health counselors and provided more funding for mental health programs, then a significant amount of mass shootings may not have occurred because these shooters would be getting help, and not planning how to kill. More restrictive gun laws would not stop mass shootings, and they will not cure the people with mental illnesses either.
Taking a look at other countries who have limited gun rights are also proof that reducing gun rights do not reduce the rate of violence, crime or shootings. Russia, for example has extremely strict regulations on owning a firearm and had a period of time when they were even banned, but yet they have a higher rate of homicide than the United States. In Russia there were about 21,000 homicides, and in the United States there were about 13,000 in a given year. Russia’s rate is almost twice that of the United States, and they have far less guns and gun access. The homicide rate, as well as the crime rate in the United States, is actually decreased from the past 10 years, and guns haven’t been restricted. With that being said, if crime rates are reducing and guns aren’t restricted, why restrict them now?
So, now that I have you thinking let me also point out the fact that right now under the Second Amendment guns are legal. Each state is allowed to regulate their limits to the Second Amendment, such as age and their policy on concealed carry, etc., but guns are legal. Now what happens when we make gun control stricter, and we start restricting people’s rights to own arms?
We can set all the restrictions we want but that isn’t going to solve the problem, guns are still going to be brought in illegally, and they are still going to be used. When a policy is changed after hundreds of years, people don’t take it lightly, and end up finding loopholes anyway. Look back at Prohibition — the government tried to place restrictions on alcohol for various reasons, but yet people still consumed alcohol, they just found the loopholes in the law. It would end up being the same thing with guns. Why waste all the time, resources and energy over a policy that would be corrupt in the eyes of millions of citizens? There are more important policies that need change and regulation than gun control.
There are already enough regulations set on guns in the United States. There are background checks and logs that have to be obtained when obtaining a gun. In New York, you are required to take a safety course and have a permit for the different types of guns that are sold in New York State. The gun regulations in the country are restricted enough, and more restriction is not needed. Not to mention, restrictions on hunting and game place restrictions on guns themselves.
In most states, you have to obtain a hunting license, and that license entitles you to be able to shoot, but aren’t you technically allowed to shoot with the Second Amendment right to bear arms? Going back hundreds of years ago, hunting was a prime source for food and survival. If we limit and restrict guns even more than they already are, we are also restricting hunting. Hunting is seen as a recreational activity, and even a sport in some regions. Hunting provided our ancestors with food and survival, and ultimately built many countries, why should we have to lose hunting because of a restriction on gun control?
At the end of the day, everyone is going to have their opinion on gun control, but my view stands strong, and I am against gun control. Guns keep millions of Americans safe every day. Our police force and military keep us safe daily, and their lives are protected and ensured by the right to access guns. We wouldn’t take away their access to guns, and we shouldn’t take away the rights to gun access to others either, especially not when they are being carried for protection more than anything. The right to bear arms is a Second Amendment right, and it should be upheld. Guns are not what kill, people are what kill. A gun is nothing more than an object.
Guns are controlled and regulated enough in America, and there is no need for them to be restricted even more. Even with restrictions, people are going to find loopholes in the policy and guns will be present in the country still. A criminal is a criminal with or without a gun, and a homicide can occur with any weapon, or any object for that matter, not just a gun. The government should be more concerned with the underlying factors of shootings, such as mental illness, and less concerned with restricting guns. The right to bear arms is a Constitutional right in this country, and I stand behind it!