The Right to Protect Our Loved Ones
Protecting one's family from harm is the main priority for most people and this need to protect and secure the safety of others often comes in place with the power of a firearm. Having the right to bear arms is essential in the United States, especially with the rising violence and at home terrorism. Due to this rise, it has spurred fear in the hearts of the people as they seek a way to protect themselves and their family from harm. In a CNN article, “Do Guns Make Us Safer?” by David Frum, “Government figures from the National Survey of Criminal Victimization suggest 100,000 uses a year of guns in self-defense against crime, the vast majority of these uses being the display of weapons to deter or dissuade” (Frum) according to a 1995 study by Gary Kleck. With the presence of a firearm, it brings about a sense of security and protection for one’s self as they have the knowledge that they are able to protect their family from the dangers of the world.
Although to some, having the ability to carry arms in the open is a scary idea, but real and true. Campus shootings in recent years have made students and faculty nervous as they push for the ability to carry their own weapons to protect themselves. However, John A. Fry, the president of Philadelphia’s Drexel University opposed such a policy. Fry explained in “Allowing Guns Won’t Make Campus Safer,” in the book, America Now, that allowing guns on campus wouldn’t keep the students safe, but would more than likely jeopardize their safety as there would be more concealed weapons unbeknown to the population (255). Fry questions to why, only in America, people would respond to gun violence by using more guns, “Arming college campuses will do little to reduce mass attacks, and will likely lead to more shooting deaths. There are already 300 million civilian firearms in the United States. That’s more than one for every adult” (Fry 225). Is it right to risk the safety of others for the paranoia of oneself? Although, guns may seem as the safer option it can still cause mass casualties, such as the recent Las Vegas massacre, Mandalay Bay Shooting. The shooter Steven Paddock was a resident of Nevada, which allows concealed carry (Hensley and Silverstein). If the state had restrictions against guns, the fifty people dead and hundreds injured would not have been injured. If someone attending the music festival had taken action by shooting in the air to stop Paddock, who was shooting from above, they could have caused more harm than good as they would not know where Paddock was located at the time.
Although guns are often associated with death, these weapons can still be beneficial to have handy. In the short reading “My Gun Was 100 Yards Away, Completely Useless,” in the novel, America Now, Suzanna Hupp’s experience as a victim of a mass shooting helps curb thoughts of banning citizens from the security of their guns. Gun-rights advocate Hupp:
...tells the story about a horrendous mass shooting in Killeen, Texas, that she witnessed in 1991 in which twenty-three people were murdered, including her parents. Even though it was illegal at the time to carry a gun, she often did… except on this day. “Having a gun is never a guarantee,” she says. “But it changes the odds” (Hupp 244).
If Hupp had a gun that day it is not particularly certain whether that day would have had the same outcome as it did. The incentive that even if one of the twenty-three may have been alive today helps support the fact that guns should not be banned outright because, by doing so, it conflicts with the law-abiding citizen’s rights for security that is written in the amendments by the forefathers.
In Cindy Huang’s PBS NewsHour article, “Why I Carry A Gun,” she interviewed ten Americans who spoke of having a gun as a daily part of life for the sake of avoiding vulnerability. Owning a gun can give a sense of security in people’s lives, especially when living alone. This is seen with Susan Williams, a sixty-seven year old Californian, who lives on a fairly remote avocado farm, in which she must fend off not only thieves, but coyotes as well. She arms herself with her father's .38 caliber pistol to protect herself and pets, “She uses her gun as a last resort to scare away the animals, she said.‘We have coyotes, rattlesnakes and packs of dogs that roam around … The coyotes I’ll shoot near if they try to come at my dogs or me, because they don’t seem to respond to yelling and throwing rocks at them’”(Huang). Without this firearm, she puts herself at risk of being mutilated by the coyotes and having her livelihood stolen from her. Since she lives far away from the authorities, there is the issue of whether or not they would be able to reach her in time to prevent an incident. By having a gun, she is able to secure herself and her property and still have the authorities by her side.
Although many will query of whether or not more guns make Americans safer, it has been proven by the National Crime Victimizations Survey that owning a firearm can be beneficial in the “Journal of Quantitative Criminology: Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey”, “The most recent published estimates from NCVS data suggest 108,000 defensive gun uses (DGUs) annually (Cook et al., 1997)” (Cook and Ludwig). Despite the fact that this data is from 1997, the constant need for protection and vigilance has not lessened over the years but risen especially with recent events. DGUs are essential for Americans especially with laws that now allow open carry. The impact of these laws can be seen in Texas, where people are concerned that with these open carry laws it may bring a danger to their families. In Tom Dart’s article, “Open carry of handguns in Texas: fear for some but 'everybody else is packing” gives air to the fear that some has towards open carry laws “It’s about whether when I’m taking my children to a restaurant, if I’m having to assess whether a gentleman who walks into a restaurant with a gun on his hip is using it for his own personal safety, whether he intends to hold up the restaurant, or whether he might lose his temper later on.”(Dart). Citizens are taking a risk by simply leaving their homes because of these laws, and by having a firearm themselves they then have the reassurance for oneself that they will be able to protect themselves.
In the DailyMail article, “Why Americans SHOULD Be Allowed Guns”, examines the benefit of owning a gun. During March 2013, Erin Martin a homeowner in Utah living with his fiancee and her son were placed in potential danger when an intruder entered their home. With his family in danger, Martin had the security of a firearm that would protect himself and his family, “When Mr. Martin pulled back on the gun's slide to load a bullet into the chamber, the man in the doorway bolted and the homeowner gave chase. Seconds later they were outside, but as the robber tried to escape, he tripped and fell … threatening to shoot when the man moved, and the pair remained in that position until police arrived”(DailyMail). With the ownership of a firearm, Martin saved his family and their property from prospective dangers. Having the ability to protect himself allowed him to restrain the thief as they waited for the police to arrive. Without a gun, the situation could have taken a much more drastic turn, luckily, Martin possessed a gun and was able to stop the intruder before any real harm could have been caused.
To conclude, having a gun is a great way to protect oneself from harm. By learning how to shoot and owning a gun it allows owners the assurance that they are able to protect not only themselves but their loved ones as well against danger. With recent gun laws allowing open carry, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry when taking your families lives into consideration.
Atwan, Robert, Valerie Duff-Strautmann, and Greg Atwan. “America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals.” Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017. Print.
Cook, Philip J. , and Jens Ludwig. “Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology , 1998.
Dart, Tom. “Open carry of handguns in Texas: fear for some but 'everybody else is packing'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 Jan. 2016.
Frum, David. “Do guns make us safer?” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 July 2012.
Huang, Cindy. “Why I Carry A Gun.” PBS NewsHour, Public Broadcasting Service, 10 Sept. 2013. Print.
Reporter, Daily Mail. “'I Needed to Protect My Family': Why Americans SHOULD Be Allowed Guns, Says Man Who Caught Home Intruder and Held Him until Police Arrived.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 15 Apr. 2013