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One of the most valued liberties by the American people is their right to bear arms; a right enshrined in the Second Amendment. This right, which was included in the bill of rights in 1791, has continued to be upheld by successive governments up to today.
However, this right has come under heavy criticism in recent years because of the numerous incidents of gun related violence’s in the country. The destruction caused by firearms in school shootings and the public at large has enraged many and led to calls for tighter gun control measures.
The government has responded to this by imposing gun regulation, a move that has greatly angered gun control opponents. This paper will argue that the US government does not have any right to control guns and as such, it should respect the second amendment and stop taking up measures to impose gun control on its citizens.
Why Gun Control Should Be Abolished
Gun control is an infringement upon the basic rights of the Americans to possess firearms. This right is explicitly protected by the Second Amendment, which states, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” (Barnett 265). By trying to impose gun control measures in the country, the government is going against the constitution. Considering that the government is required to uphold the constitution at all times, gun control measures are essentially unlawful.
Advocates of gun control argue that the Second Amendment cannot be used to justify an individual’s right to own firearms since this right was conditioned on “service in an organized militia”. This advocates state that the individual’s right to bear arms was tied to a military context and citizens were only empowered to have guns in readiness to serve when called to duty. Legal scholars refute this claim by stating that the Second Amendment protected the right of the individual to possess firearms.
Barnett states that even at the time of the making of the Second Amendment, the term “bear arms” did not have an exclusively military connotation; the term was also used to connote purely private use of arms (244). Therefore, the right of individuals to have fire guns in the present era is still protected by the US constitution.
The control of bullets or even the ban of assault rifles will not prevent murderous people from engaging in killing. Domenech observes that most of the calls for stricter gun control measures come following tragic incidents like the mass killing of students in school by gun wielding individuals (25). Gun control proponents use tragedies of mass murders such as the Sandy Hook incident to make a case for further restrictions on the gun-owning rights of American citizens.
This is in spite of the fact that there is no research data supporting the theory that gun possession increases the likelihood of mass murders taking place. Stricter gun control legislation will not prevent sad incidents like the Sandy Hook case which robbed 20 children and six adults of their lives since, as Domenech explains, no laws can make the murderously insane sane or remove their ability to destroy innocent lives (25).
The government should try to identify the reasons for such incidents and take measures to avoid them from occurring in future. Blaming gun possession for action of deranged murderous is neglectful and it will only leave the public vulnerable to such attacks in the future.
The ability of an individual to protect himself by having guns is reduced by having gun controls measures. Opponents of gun ownership hope to make it impossible for citizens to buy and have guns for self-protection. Most people invest in firearms so as to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Domenech reveals that most handgun sales in the US are made to individuals who are interested in defending their homes (27).
Strict gun control legislations will prevent many people from being able to acquire guns for this defensive purpose. It can be expected that the crime rates in the country will increase if individuals are barred from having guns. This is because guns have a deterrence effect on criminals who are discouraged from attacking homes where the owner has a gun. If criminals are not worried about being confronted by lethal legal weaponry by the person they intend to rob, crime rates will rise.
Proponents of gun control argue that individuals with firearms still are attacked and even murdered by criminals. While this is true, it should not be used as the basis for denying people a right to protect themselves and increase their chances of fighting off criminals. The government should therefore stop all gun control since these measures have a negative impact on the safety of the citizens.
Gun control will amount to an intrusion into the private lives of individuals by the government. As it is, the US has a gun culture that stretches back to centuries. This culture is connected to ideals such as individuality and liberty due to the deep relationships that guns have with the war for independence, which took place from 1775 to 1782 (Wolpert and Gimpel 244). Gun restrictions ignore the fact that guns have many legitimate users such as sporting and hunting.
By imposing these laws, individuals are denied the right to enjoy their freedom to bear arms. Wolpert and Gimpel declare that by implementing gun control measures, the government is using coercive power to directly shape individual conduct (241). In a country that prides itself for having liberties for all its citizens, this government action should not be tolerated. The government should respect the privacy of its citizens and allow them to have firearms if they want to.
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This paper set out to argue that gun control is an infringement upon the most basic of rights or American citizens and the government should not be empowered to control guns.
The paper began by nothing that gun control measures are a violation of the constitutional rights of the American citizens. While these measures are mostly demanded to try to reduce incidents of gun related violence, research indicates that possession of guns by citizens does not reduce violence since people who intend to commit murder will still find a way to engage in these acts.
Gun control also prevents people from engaging in legitimate personal activity such as hunting and protecting themselves form assailants. By stopping its attempts at gun control, the government will not only be upholding the constitutional rights of its citizens but it will also ensure that the citizens are able to enjoy the benefits that firearms bring to the individual and the society at large.
Barnett, Randy. “Was the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Conditioned on Service in an Organized Militia?”. Texas Law Review 83.1 (2004): 237-277. Web.
Domenech, Benjamin. “The Truth about Mass Shootings and Gun Control”. Commentary 135.2 (2013): 25-29. Web.
Wolpert, Robin, and Gimpel James. “Self-interest, symbolic politics, and public attitudes towards gun control”. Political Behavior 20.3 (1998): 241-262. Web.