Freedom and Firearms: A Hot Take on the 2nd Amendment



The second amendment is controversial and debatable.


The United States was established on the idea of individual rights and freedom; such concepts awaken the patriot within all American citizens. However, with these rights come controversies and arguments for opposing sides that polarize the nation so deeply these days that the term “civil war” comes to mind. One right is the second amendment in the Bill of Rights, which establishes an American’s right to bear arms. With the rise in gun violence, the split between the gun-control vouching Democrats and the pro-gun Republicans has widened significantly. 

When the 2nd amendment was written in 1791, firearms were significantly different compared to today, as the majority of the weapons required reloading after one shot. As the years progressed and society has become more technologically advanced, guns and gun use have evolved at an unprecedented rate. Repeating rifles have become more mainstream since the Revolutionary War and the founding of the Constitution. Rights are never unlimited because if they were, lawlessness would certainly break out on the streets; however, the lack of restraint on firearm type in the 2nd amendment has led many to presume the founding fathers would have wanted gun ownership to reach a point where civilians can own military-grade rifles. 

As guns evolve, so should the laws that control them; these laws should not be extremely restrictive but maintain a proper balance so that those wishing ill will upon others cannot acquire a firearm. A higher level of regulation, not an outright ban, on more lethal firearms through stringent criminal record checks could reduce gun deaths (both homicides and suicides) and overall reduce chances of a conflict becoming violent. Examples from both Switzerland and Finland can be taken, with the nations ranking 3rd and 4th in global gun ownership, respectively; these nations, despite their rates of gun ownership, have consistently low firearm-caused suicide and homicide rates. Perhaps the US could take some points from fellow nations.

That is not to say that gun ownership should be as limited as the far left suggests. Despite the fact that there are far more gun-related homicides that outnumber every self-defense shooting, in those cases where people had to defend themselves, firearms were essential for their safety and their loved ones. Performing martial arts on a person who may be armed is simply not practical, and one needs to fight fire with fire in these cases. Additionally, owning firearms in a system that is not extremely controlling may prevent a tyrannical government taking hold of a population that is prepared to fight for their rights; this was, in fact, the original intent that the founding fathers had when creating this specific right. Moreover, while some may argue that such liberal gun ownership may lead to higher rates of violence, what these gun control laws fail to address are the reasons that some may do such horrendous and despicable acts of violence. Guns are a type of tool—a more lethal one at that—,and it is rather an issue of who is yielding the gun and under what circumstances are they doing so. The same logic could be applied to a knife: harmless if used carefully, but extremely dangerous if the person who yields it does so maliciously. In cases where suicide is caused by gun violence, it is not an issue of guns, but the need for better and more accessible mental health services. As for people with malevolent intent, the higher level of regulation mentioned before would prevent firearms getting into their hands. Child-caused gun violence can easily be prevented with child-proof locks, and most importantly, gun education is needed in our curriculums and public discussions, both at schools and in the workplace, to keep both firearm-bearing and non-bearing citizens safe and responsible in a country where civilian guns actually outnumber the populace.

Gun control and gun rights are not as simple as saying either side is right; like many serious topics humanity is confronted with today, more discussion is needed surrounding this topic to find a common ground between both camps of thought. Furthermore, the 2nd amendment and its immense polarizability supports  that the nation’s two party state has opposite views, and thus simply cannot take action due to a lack of bipartisanship. The introduction of numerous, non-polarized parties into our government can aid in bridging the differences between the far left and far right, introducing compromise and balance as was done when our founding fathers first wrote the Constitution. Despite what the media says, a balance is necessary and is possible. Gun rights can be preserved while ensuring that no man, woman, or child is again murdered.