18 October 2017
“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 words of the Second Amendment in the Constitution of the United States written over two centuries ago have created so much debate in American history and caused so much impact on the American people. Every time a tragic mass shooting event occurs, the issues of gun rights and gun control have deeply divided Americans. Both sides of the gun control issue argue aggressively to either protect gun ownership or to put restrictions on guns in order to reduce deaths from gun violence.
Gun supporters often cite the Second Amendment in the Constitution as their right to own as many guns as they want. They use the Second Amendment to claim America was founded with the basis for citizens owning guns as the wish of the founding fathers. Although the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to own guns, gun supporters are taking the meaning of the law out of context. The law was written over two hundred years ago during a revolutionary time when America was fighting for Independence against the English king. The founding fathers added this Amendment into the Constitution as a protection for American colonies to be able to call up the colonist to use weapons and defend themselves against British invaders. Moreover, during the time the law was written, the only types of “arms” available were the muskets with single bullet shot. As gun technologies advance for guns to shoot multiple bullets in a few seconds, the law must be revised to follow our modern time. The founding fathers would be horrified to know their law is now used to allow killing machine guns in America. Nowadays, it becomes very important for our government to better protect its own citizens rather than protect against foreign invaders by adopting effective gun control restrictions.
To argue against gun control, gun supporters often bring the reason that if we restrict guns to law-abiding citizens, then only criminals will have weapons to kill people and good people will not be able to defend themselves. Studies and statistics done over several decades showed there have been a lot more accidental deaths and suicides caused by gun ownership than there have been deaths in crime related events. Criminal or terrorist activities in America where assaults weapons were used do not cause as many innocent civilian deaths as deaths from mass shootings caused by a crazy person with machine guns. Moreover, if guns were to be allowed with no restriction, then we can imagine a society where every student could carry a gun in their backpack or every car driver could carry a gun under his seat. We can imagine the deadly consequences that can happen every time a student has a heated dispute with his classmates or received a bad grade from his professor, or every time a driver has a road rage. Do we want to live in such society?
Opponents of gun control often argue that gun restrictions and laws do not do anything to prevent mass shootings from happening because no law can stop crazy people from getting guns to kill many people. They say we already have laws against murders. Their argument completely misses the purpose of gun control. Gun control is not about taking away all guns from the people protected under the Second Amendment, but to limit the damage that modern assault weapons can cause. Gun control is about banning destructive weapons from civilian society. Normal citizens can and should be allowed to own handguns to protect their family and their home. Laws against murders and crimes are meant to punish the criminals, not to prevent or reduce the number of innocent deaths that gun control is trying to accomplish. The recent tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas is a clear example where thousands of gun owners would have done nothing to prevent the massacre However, if we had stronger gun control and restrictions, the shooter would not have been able to purchase so many guns in a short time and would not have been able to purchase automated guns that are meant to kill people instead of for defense.