Gun rights and gun control are always hot items during any political discussion, whether it is between peers or politicians. One of the many great advantages to being an American is the ability to choose for one’s own self what to believe in, another advantage, in my opinion, is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It is my intention over the next several pages to make you aware of my point of view on the issue of gun rights. I will bring up arguments for gun rights and against gun control, citing all sources used.
Some topics to be discussed are the Second Amendment, media influence on weapons violence, and the effects of crime rates in areas that allow open or concealed carry. I would like to preface with some safety notes, clearly nobody should be using a weapon they do not feel safe operating or have no knowledge of how it operates. But this is not always the case, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 606 Americans lost their lives through unintentional firearm injuries in 2010 (1). These unnecessary deaths could have been prevented with safety training and weapons familiarization.
Another important aspect of safety is that role models reduce accidents, meaning if you practice safety and are knowledgeable about the local laws, those who look up to you will behave responsibly as well. The most prevalent argument for gun rights is the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The second amendment is broken into two clauses; the justification clause and the rights clause. The justification clause is, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” And the rights clause is, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This idea is important to a country founded upon revolution and is in the Constitution just for the chance that we will have to revolt again so, as democratic Americans, we can not allow the large government strip us of our rights. Our founding fathers knew that an armed population would be necessary to the security of the free state to prevent our great nation from falling back into a state of tyranny, the concept of a citizen soldier is one of the most central pieces of our nation’s creation.
The opponents of gun ownership would argue that the Army National Guard is our militia, therefore we would not need armed citizens. The National Guard is not the militia our founders had envisioned as it is an extension of the federal government, it can be ordered to fight uprising in any state and overseas. The Dick Act of 1903 defined the National Guard as the “organized militia” and all other citizens were the “unorganized militia”(2), therefore the National Guard is only part of the militia, and the entire militia is made up of the whole population.
The militia men of colonial times owned their militia weapons, fought with them, and returned home with them. Therefore, it only makes sense for modern militia men to keep and bear the arms of the militia: the semi automatic rifle with medium to high capacity magazines. Just keep in mind that it is the right and responsibility of every American citizen to defend our country from enemies foreign and domestic. Advocates of gun rights might make the argument that media, not guns themselves, could be to blame for excessive gun violence by glamorizing or making a celebrity of gun related criminals.
To paraphrase a book by Loren Coleman, The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines(3), sometimes the attention given to a teenage suicide leads to more teenage suicides and often, the media attention given to a mass killer leads to more mass killings. This proves true today as well, consider the Aurora movie theater shooting, next was Sandy Hook Elementary School and the community college in Texas. Had these stories not been overly reported and the killers faces plastered on every newspaper, maybe there would be less copycats.
Denver University law professor Dave Kopel states in a 2012 USA Today column, “How the media covers one event affects whether there will be similar events. That is why TV broadcasts of baseball games turn the cameras away from the nitwits who run on the field, seeking attention. ” He goes on to say “After the Columbine High School murders in 1999, the media were particularly irresponsible, as when Time and Newsweek magazines put pictures of the killers on the front cover. In 2007, the Virginia Tech murderer sent NBC News a videotape of himself.
Rather than showing that video on national television, NBC should have made a copy for law enforcement and refused to broadcast the killer’s self-promotional video on television. (4)” So it can be inferred that if partisan media outlets were to consider their actions instead of rallying for the best ratings or trying to promote their own political agendas, many lives could be saved in the long run. The ability to carry a concealed weapon is an excellent crime deterrent and means of self defense, in fact 2. 5 million Americans use guns to defend themselves annually.
Of these 2. 5 million, 83. 5 percent report their attacker threatened or used force first and 92 percent merely had to brandish or fire a warning shot to scare off the attacker (5). Currently, 39 states allow concealed carry and statistics show that the crime rates in these areas have either fallen or not risen. Florida made it legal for citizens to conceal carry in 1988, since then gun owners have been involved in a meager . 02 percent of crime and the homicide rate has plummeted from a national high 36 percent to 4 percent (6).
In 1995, North Carolina introduced concealed carry permits and overall crime has since dropped 25 percent, violent crimes fell 42 percent (7). In 1982, Kennesaw , GA passed municipal code section II article 34-21 which states,“In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore (8). In 1981, the year before the gun ordinance, with a population of 5,242, Kennesaw had 54 burglaries. But in 1982, with a population of 19,000, there were only 36 burglaries reported. Their rate of violent crime is now four times lower than the state and national averages (9). So there is a clear relation between right-to-carry laws and declining crime trends. Obviously, criminals do not want to put themselves into harms way, so they are less likely to take their unsavory behaviors into areas that allow guns. More to the point, evidence exists that crime is significantly higher in states without right-to-carry laws.
John Lott and David Mustard wrote in a 1997 legal study, “If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly (10). ” Obviously, without the ability to defend themselves, these unfortunate citizens were killed and/or violated unnecessarily. To conclude, the most important reason for gun ownership is because it is our right as Americans as expressed in the Bill of Rights, and a right not exercised is a right lost.
I do not want to lose any more of my rights and as soon as we stop paying attention and start letting the government rule us, instead of the other way around, we will fall directly back into a state of tyranny or worse, communism or capitalism. Also consider the clear and direct effect concealed or open carry laws have on crime rates all around the U. S. Along with lower crime, concealed carry laws will accustom people to seeing guns and help them realize they are not threatening when in the hands of a trained professional.