, Research Paper
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 2ND AMENDMENT
With these words, the Bill of Rights has endowed us with an unbelievable freedom: the right to bear arms. This right, however, also bears a tremendous responsibility. The right to bear arms is undoubtedly one of the most abused rights in America. Due to this abuse, the 2nd amendment is one of the most controversial and interesting amendments in the bill of rights. Because of the circumstances under which it was made, its purpose, its controversial effects, and its modern-day impact, it is one of the most interesting American amendments.
America is a country forged in war, so guns have always been an integral part of the US society. America was once nothing more than a group of colonies, constantly oppressed by the British soldiers. It was only our militia that allowed us to conquer the British and form our own nation. Because of this, our founding fathers knew that citizens of a truly “free” nation should always be able to form a militia to protect their rights. With this idea in mind, the 2nd amendment was proposed to by congress in 1789, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. After undergoing much revision, the Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15th, 1791. From that day forth, the citizens of America would always know that they had certain unalienable rights.
The 2nd amendment was included in the Bill of Rights for one purpose; it was included so that the people of USA would always be able to raise a militia and defend themselves. A militia is perhaps the people’s strongest source of power. With the right to maintain a militia, the citizens can raise a call to arms to defend their rights. Americans can feel secure in knowing that, should their rights be infringed upon, they can actively defend their liberty. However, this amendment was not created to allow citizens unrestricted gun ownership, nor is it meant to give the normal civilian complete control of a large weapon of destruction. It wasn’t even intended to allow civilians to protect themselves from criminals and other disreputable bodies. It is meant to give civilians the right to bear arms for a common defense. Because of the relative ambiguity of the amendment’s wording, it is often hard for Americans to discern exactly what rights are given to them.
The 2nd amendment’s lack of clarity makes it very easy to abuse the amendment, which in turn gives it many negative facets. The idea of a militia that our founding fathers once saw seems obsolete today, so there seems to be relatively few positive points about this law. In theory, it protects Americans from outside invasion and oppression from the government. However, our highly trained army maintains a very effective defense, thereby eliminating a need for a civilian militia. The only true benefit of the 2nd amendment is that it acts as a safeguard against our government. It promises that power will always remain in the hands of the citizen, as they can always take up a call to arms to defend their rights. The abuse of this amendment, however, does more damage to the country than our founding fathers could have ever foreseen. Because this amendment was written in a time of muskets, the writers of the constitution could not have possibly understood its ramifications. The slow loading musket never posed a threat to the general tranquility of America, but its modern variations, such as the 9mm, certainly stand to threaten the peace of the USA. The 2nd amendment now serves as a guarantee that a deadly firearm can be purchased at the local sporting goods store. The amendment promises that every American, competent or otherwise, has ready access to a lethal tool. Shootings have become abundant in modern day America; even the elementary schools are no longer safe from the horrible visage of murder. The easy access to weaponry is something created out of the abuse of the 2nd amendment. Because of this abuse, the 2nd amendment seems to be a truly malign.
The right to bear arms has a very large impact on me. It makes firearms very easy to come by, and, as such, makes shootings very commonplace. Because of the 2nd amendment, schools all around the country are becoming more and more dangerous. Reports of schoolyard shootings are no longer out of the ordinary. The misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment has made America a dangerous place. However, responsible use of the 2nd amendment might also benefit me when I become a voting citizen, should I choose to arm myself. At my age this amendment has little positive effect, because it is illegal for a minor to posses a firearm in most circumstances. One day, should my liberties ever be infringed upon, I am sure that I will be thankful for the available self-defense that the 2nd amendment bestows upon me.
Due to these reasons, the 2nd amendment is truly an intriguing amendment. As a country born in the heat of war, America has found this amendment to be a necessity. Americans everywhere are able to protect their liberties due to the rights the 2nd amendment bestows upon them. One can only hope that this amendment will not bring about the destruction of the very society that it was created to protect.