Second Amendment Rights Cannot Overshadow Our Unalienable Rights
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Politics and Activism

Second Amendment Rights Cannot Overshadow Our Unalienable Rights

Rethinking the discussion on gun violence and weapons ownership in the United States.

Second Amendment Rights Cannot Overshadow Our Unalienable Rights
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This is a response to Gun Violence is Real, and People Don’t Come Back.

**First of all, I would like to preface this article with the following sentiment. I am not an expert on weapons. I am not an expert on the epidemic in this country that is gun violence and mass shootings. I am not an expert in law and implementation of the rule of law.

But I am someone who has grown up in an era where mass shootings are the terrible norm.

I grew up always looking over my shoulder at large events and in public places, I grew up with surprise “lockdown” drills in school that scared the s**t out of me, and I strongly believe it is well past time to rethink our priorities.**

One of the most recognizable lines in the United States Declaration of Independence is as follows;

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] 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.”

This understanding of rights that all people residing in the United States be afforded is something I would like to bring into conversation with the topic of gun violence in the US.

Typically those in defense of gun rights overwhelmingly evoke the Second Amendment of the Constitution in their arguments;

“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.”

Note that while the Second Amendment states the people have a right “to keep and bear Arms,” it makes no mention of the type of “Arm” which it is referring to. Defenders of gun ownership have come to equate the Second Amendment understanding of an Arm with firearms.

Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 (and the Second Amendment’s ratification in 1791), it’s fair to say that the weaponry of the world has advanced and what exists now (that is considered an Arm) is far from what the writer’s of the Constitution could ever have thought possible.

That being said, many law professionals are under the consensus that the original intent of the Second Amendment was to prevent the need for the US to have a standing professional army and didn’t imply private citizens would keep weapons for self-defense during times of peace.

Regardless of the original intent, responsible Arms-owners (for argument’s sake encompasses firearms, knives, etc.) should be able to claim some protection under the Second Amendment and I think that’s a fair stance for people to take.

However, I am also of the firm belief that responsible Arms-owners should have no problem with undergoing thorough background checks in order to obtain said Arms. Secondly, they should remain in good standing with the law to keep custody of those Arms. And lastly, it is paramount that they take precautions to ensure their weapons do not fall into the hands of vulnerable populations (e.g. minors in their household).

Just because someone may have a constitutional right to own a firearm or a knife, doesn’t mean they can use it whenever and on whoever they please.

That is simply absurd and not conducive to a functioning, respectful, safe, and healthy society.

And the most important aspect I hope you take away from this very brief opinion on Arms control in the United States is this;

Someone’s right to keep a weapon does not give them the right to take a life.

Afterall, the very people who broke away from England to start the country many of us call home today made a pronounced effort to document that people in this country are entitled to the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Clinging to our weapons is not patriotic. They are material things. They can be replaced.

We should cling to each other and respect the lives of our fellow neighbors. That is patriotic.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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