No! On Gun Control Essay, Research Paper
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, first Chief Justice John Jay-names synonymous with the spirit of our country; founding fathers of the United States of America. Over 200 years ago, they shook off the chains of oppression from Great Britain, by divine call. They instituted the first democratic form of government in nearly a thousand years, with liberty and justice for all. Recognizing the need to safeguard the fundamental rights of the individual against usurpation by the federal government and prohibiting interference with existing freedoms, they wrote the Bill of Rights. Now, 200 years later, the worth of the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, has come into question. Indeed, the Second Amendment is on the edge of a great abyss. Opposition to Second Amendment claim that too many crimes are perpetrated by people with guns, that too many deaths have been incurred during shootings. They cite schoolyard shootings as evidence of the need to repeal the Second Amendment. They say that the Second Amendment is archaic and no longer applies to society today. They’re wrong. The right to keep and bear arms is an integral thread in the tapestry of American liberties-if we pull on that thread, the tapestry that is freedom will come undone.
According to the Department of Justice, more than 35,000 people are killed each year as a result of being shot. One person is shot and killed every 2 hours in the United States a blood-chilling statistic. However, contrary to the opinion expressed by anti-gun proponents, legislation restricting the fundamental right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is not the answer. In fact, it is unconstitutional and therefore, illegal. But how to respond to that anti-gun sentiment that banning guns would save lives, and if even one life is saved, then the Second Amendment needs to go the way of the dinosaur…The National Rifle Association of America has responded. Their studies suggest that, in fact, more guns would make our society even safer. According to the DOJ, each year 80,000 people’s lives are saved because they had a gun at that critical moment, the one that decides one’s fate life or death. Indeed, if we were to take away the right of the people to keep and bear arms, people like Sebron Mitchell, a 91-year-old man from Augusta, Georgia, could very well be dead right now. He was in his home on a Saturday afternoon, when a man kicked down his front door, put a knife to his throat, and demanded his money. When the burglar began rifling through the drawers, Sebron grabbed a revolver and shot the intruder, forcing him to flee. Sebron escaped with his life that day because he had a gun. This is just one example, one in 80,000 people who can say, “My gun saved my life.”
In 1919, William Burroughs posed the question, “After a shooting spree, why do they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it?” The answer, anti-gun proponents claim, is to see that it never happens again. It is very curious, though, that the anti-gun proponents do not recognize the fact that every Federal law, every Federal regulation, every safeguard against these schoolyard shootings was completely disregarded. This is the proof that anti-gun legislation doesn’t work. Over 180,000 students carry guns to school each day undetected. Yet, these Federal laws are supposed to prevent juveniles from obtaining firearms? Obviously not. So, what can be done about this problem? The answer can be found across the Canadian border. A group based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is working to educate people, in particular teens, as to the true nature of guns-not that a gun is evil, but that a gun is a tool, used to defend one’s self-it has the potential to kill, and must be treated with the greatest respect at all times. That is what must be done here. We can’t win the fight against people who abuse guns if you’re afraid of them. People must know the truth about guns.
William Burroughs went on to say, “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people who could carry guns were the police and the military.” None of us would. That is why the framers of the Constitution, people like James Madison and John Hamilton saw the need to protect the sovereignty of the states and the freedoms of the people therein against the power of the Federal government. That is why they included within the Bill of Rights an amendment, which states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of any free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” They felt the need to see that these free and independent states, as Thomas Jefferson called them in the Declaration of Independence, could defend themselves against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Why else has democratic government succeeded here while it has failed in places like Central and South America, Africa, Southwestern Asia, and Eastern Europe? The framers of the Constitution saw fit to guarantee true equality, equality between civilians and military. It is the nature of who we are. There can be no justice as long as there is inequality. There will be none. Society may be advancing technologically, but the danger of oppression by a government that is too powerful is as real as it was 200 years ago.
Moreover, more people are saved each year because someone had a gun, than there are killed by someone who had one. Studies show that more guns would make our society even safer than it is no. In fact, 1998 was the safest year this decade, and 1999 is projected to be even safer. Fewer crimes are being committed and fewer people are being killed by people with guns. It is only the media that continues to project this sense of fear and death onto the population of this great land. Schoolyard shootings are evidence of child abuse, parent neglect, and fear of people who are different, not an out-of-control gun problem. Remarkably, only thirty-five students were killed on school grounds last year, a number unparalleled since the early 70s. The media would have us believe that hundreds of students went off to school each year, never to come home. Well, it’s not true! We’re safer now than we’ve been in nearly 30 years. We must not allow the government to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The effects would be insurmountable. Indeed, it would be, most assuredly, the greatest mistake of all time. For with the first link, the chain is forged, the fist thought forbidden, the first speech censured, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. The first time any man’s rights are trodden on, we’re all damaged. So let us not allow Jean Jaques Rousseau’s statement, “Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains,” become a fact of life in our great nation. Instead of sweeping the dust under the carpet, our legislators should be disposing of it. Instead of trying to pass legislation restricting the ownership of guns even further, they should be pushing for laws to educate people about the true nature of guns. We need to face this problem head on because inaction is our greatest enemy. All it takes for oppression to take root is for good men to do nothing.