On July 20, 2012, 12 people were killed and 58 injured in Aurora Colorado. Nearly six months later, December 14, 2012, 27 people were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Both tragedies have raised issues of gun control throughout the nation. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama created the Gun Violence Task Force under Vice President Joe Biden’s lead to investigate and assess gun violence in the nation. At nearly the same time, the NRA (National Rifle Association) called upon Congress to levy funds to the police so as to place at least one armed officer within every school in the nation for the protection of students. It is safe to assume that nobody wants another needless tragedy to occur anywhere in the nation again, but tensions are rising in the debates upon how to deal with gun violence. These debates lay on two basic fronts, further gun control, or less restrictions and higher training with weapons.
When considering this debate, the second amendment must be considered, which is the right to bear arms. The questions dealing with the amendment fall under the basic categories of: “Has the amendment outlived its need?” and “What rights does the amendment specifically appropriate to individuals?” When the right was added to the Bill of Rights, it was within a context of defense against war parties, dangerous animals (bears, mountain lions, wolves, etc.), protection from oppression, and so forth. Guns were a pivotal element of frontier life, so much so that it is only preceded by freedom of speech, religion, and assembly in the first amendment.
A question that is often raised is whether or not guns are a pivotal element of life anymore, or have they lost their need, and consequently their reason to exist in the constitution? This however, is the wrong question to ask. The constitution does not guarantee freedoms and rights only so long as they serve a national purpose. We would not remove freedom of assembly, even if all meetings were conducted over Skype. These are rights, and as such, they cannot be taken away so long as we subscribe to the constitution. The question that needs to be asked is if they can be more responsibly handled.
While it is a right of citizens to own firearms, what weapons should citizens be allowed to own and carry? This is something that is not laid out in the amendment, and needs to be considered. We must first note that because the constitution does not lay out any specific directions in this regard, it is left to the government to interpret it. With that understanding, it is acceptable for the government to decide that it is necessary to ban all weapons that fire more than 30 rounds in a minute, or whatever they decide upon. The government is allowed to lay out specific directives on gun control as it sees necessary, based on weapon development and misuse. It is not tyrannical of the government to place restrictions on weapons, and asinine to assume such. Ultimately, the power lies in the hands of the people to contact their representatives and leaders to provide their insights so that the leaders can make informed and accurate decisions for their constituents.
It needs to be understood that no quantifiable evidence exists to suggest that placing indiscriminate restrictions on weapons will remove gun related violence. It has the potential to suppress gun violence, but it will not make it disappear. There is also no quantifiable evidence to suggest that removal of all gun restrictions will incite peace either. Granted, times are different, but the Wild West had a lot of guns, and a lot of blood spilt. Free weapon laws did not remove violence, and did not encourage people to necessarily be less violent; it only ensured that gun violence was more widespread, and more people were involved.
The best solution would be those that are being presented by the NRA, which includes stringent background checks for all gun owners, consistent weapon proficiency and understanding tests, and increased police protection in public. The NRA does not support vigilante justice and self protection unless it is absolutely necessary, and those sorts of preventative measures seem to be the most sensible.
All things considered, these are opinions each reader needs to arrive at on their own, and everyone has the right to support their opinion and contact their representatives to explain their point of view.