One of the biggest debates argued this summer has been gun control. We’ve watched horrifying instances of police officers shooting unarmed suspects and also numerous attacks and the killing of police. Fifty-one policeman were wrongfully killed in the line of duty in 2014, an increase of nearly 89 percent compared to 2013, according to data collected by the FBI. Our country is in a state of largely opposing sides and everyone has a stance. While Democrats tend to sway people toward stricter gun regulations, there is an immensely valid argument for a simple, straightforward interpretation of our Second Amendment right. Given increasing amounts of media coverage surrounding the violence in our nation, it is becoming necessary to own a gun and it needs to remain our legal right.
The Second Amendment states, "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." While many argue the legal meaning of different parts of the phrase, it clearly states we have the right as citizens to own guns. Under this right, legislative bodies cannot prohibit firearm possession — and with good reason. One of the reasons we have a right to own and use firearms is for our safety.
Taking away our guns will only take away protection from law-abiding citizens and make them easier targets. Since at least 1950, a little over one percent of mass public shootings in the United States have occurred where citizens have been able to defend themselves, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. This shines a light on gun-free zones, zones where the possession or use of a firearm is considered a crime. Gun-free zones signal to predators they will be able to act with no resistance and they can carry out their massacre with no armed citizen to stop them, thus resulting in the death of innocent individuals like we have seen heightened this past year.
The argument for gun regulation is an admirable one — it’s also a very bad idea for the future of our country. To get a drastic change in deaths by firearm, there would have to be a complete disposal of weaponry for citizens. But that would imply getting rid of every single one, which is impossible. Even if that were possible, it would only leave room for a loss of democracy in the states. Think big scale – if we take away all the guns in the “land of the free,” what does that imply for the future of our country? It creates the realistic possibility of our democracy becoming a socialist state: more government control, less power to the people and a more militarized country.
Interestingly, disarming a populous does not make them safer. In the United Kingdom, following the ban of guns in 1996, crimes immediately skyrocketed with around a 50 percent increase in homicide rates according to data published by the Crime Prevention Research Center.
I am no pro-gun extremist by any means. Even as a supporter to bear arms, there are regulations that need to be followed and responsibility that needs to be taken to be able to possess a weapon. To own a pistol in the U.S., a citizen needs to be 21 years of age and apply for a concealed carry permit, which requires a background check before being able to purchase a firearm. To mend those regulations there could be more extensive background checks, but that’s about as far as the control should go. In the countries mentioned above, the encroachment of government on the gun owning rights of its citizens was very gradual. What grounds do government officials have to say that someone can’t own a gun if that individual is a law-abiding citizen?
Most people who are anti-gun are terrified of guns, understandably. The first time I ever shot a gun was at a gun range with a .22 rifle — a sort of glorified BB gun mostly used for hunting. I was shaking and almost backed out when I first got to the range. Over time, I have shot more guns and am more comfortable with them. Getting over the fear of the weapon by using it in a safe environment has helped me realize that guns are a responsibility, but they are not necessarily something to be feared. It’s a big responsibility, and something that needs time and training and should not be taken for granted. But once you know how to safely operate a gun, it becomes less intimidating and opens the possibility for greater freedom from the dangers of today’s society.
—Amanda Carneglia is a junior from Marietta majoring in advertising