The Safety of the People in the Hands of the People

The Safety of the People in the Hands of the People

A Essay About Gun Control

America is notoriously known for their struggle over gun control. With an amendment that states that citizens are able to “keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” citizens of America have gone over the line of using these weapons as a way to “protect themselves.” However, this need to carry a firearm has caused great harm as many seek to amend the Second Amendment or dismantle it entirely, and thus create a safer America for all.

Over the last decade, America has experienced a rising number of fatalities regarding firearms. John Paul Stevens, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, addresses the controversial ideology in “The Five Extra Words That Can Fix the Second Amendment,” of whether or not it’s worth the need for protection when risking the safety of innocents; “Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns”(Stevens). Stevens brings about the common argument of whether one's freedom is more important than the greater society’s public safety. Handguns are easily obtained by simply applying online and then waiting a period of 1-3 months, and with this accessibility, it allows more firearm-related incidents to occur. Often times these tragedies occur within the home as “89% of accidental shooting deaths among children occur in the home and that most of these deaths occur when children are playing with an unsecured loaded gun in their parents’ absence” (“Statistics on Guns in the Home & Safe Storage”). Had the parents of these children taken into consideration that their children’s safety was in jeopardy by simply having a gun in the house, these incidents would have a less probability of occurring.

Although guns are often associated with death, these weapons can still be beneficial to have handy. 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” (Atwan 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.

Even if Hupp had her handgun on her, the situation could have ended up the same or with additional casualties. Thus this brings about the question of whether or not the Second Amendment should be amended and to what extent. If the people were to demand for this Amendment to be changed, this would go through the course of the legislators. These legislators have seen the bloodshed that occurred in the presence of guns, yet these political leaders have not made enough of a significant change to the gun laws that have helped the states have less gun related incidents. Stevens has written that change can be made, however, it is up to the morals of those who hold power in the government, “It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used” (Stevens). Whereas The New York Times Editorial Board wrote, “America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing,”(Atwan 248). Although one can place all the blame on politicians, it is the American people who vote for them, and by voting, the government and the citizens create an bystander effect by watching on the sidelines as their fellow people are massacred because of the laxation and often misinterpretation of gun laws. Therefore these misinterpretations allow citizens to believe they are above the law, since it is considered their “right” to bear arms, thus fire at will and cause casualties. If legislators were to take the much needed time to reform this amendment there would be less excuses as to why one person were to harm another due to the clarification of the Second Amendment and gun laws.

Notwithstanding, 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,” 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. Fry questions as 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” (Atwan 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 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.

The need to carry arms, as granted by the Second Amendment, can cause not only harm to one’s self, but others as well. The mere suggestion that there should be a laxation upon gun laws should be abolished, as evidence shows the current “strict” gun laws have not caused great effect for the people of America. There needs to be change in this amendment to provide safety for all Americans.

Works Cited

Atwan, Robert, Valerie Duff-Strautmann, and Greg Atwan. America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017. Print.

“Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive. 2017. Web.

Hensley, Nicole, and Jason Silverstein. “Mass Shooting at Mandalay Bay Concert in Las Vegas Kills 50.” NY Daily News, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 2017. 2 Oct. 2017. Web.

"Statistics on Guns in the Home & Safe Storage." Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Web.

Stevens, John Paul. "The Five Extra Words That Can Fix the Second Amendment." The Washington Post. WP Company, 11 Apr. 2014. Web.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.


Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

Related Content

Facebook Comments