The right to own firearms is one of the fundamental human rights entrenched in the American Constitution. Gun laws in America have been constrained by the court interpretation of the American Constitution (Dowlut, 2013). In 1789, the US government passed the Second Amendment. “The historical evidence surrounding the acceptance of the Second Amendment indicates that it protects the right to self-defense, enables the establishment of a broad-based militia, and serves as a deterrent against government oppression” (Dowlut, 2013).
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Congress passed the Fourth Amendment in 1868. These two laws authorize Americans to own firearms. In the past few decades, opponents of the right to own firearms have made serious attempts to repeal it (Nolan, 2012). At present, the right to possess firearms has sparked off contentious debates among politicians, lawyers, scholars, and citizens. This essay contends that the right to own firearms is fundamental because it protects Americans against insecurity.
First, insecurity is one of the contemporary challenges in America due to the increase in violence and terrorism (Bogus, 2002). According to Nolan, “law-abiding Americans use guns to defend themselves against criminals more than two million times every year” (Nolan, 2012). Nolan’s assertion justifies the need to uphold the right to own firearms. In most cases, citizens shoot with the intention to scare off criminals rather than to kill them.
Additionally, the right to own firearms facilitates the implementation of the right to life. (Nolan, 2012). Therefore, citizens should be allowed to possess firearms to defend themselves. Second, firearms enable many women to protect themselves against sexual violence (Nolan, 2012). Thus, if the right to possess firearms is repealed, many women will be vulnerable to sexual violence.
Third, the right to own firearms enables Americans to reinforce national security in many ways (Bogus, 2002). Armed citizens can defend themselves and others against criminals and terrorists. For example, “crime statistics point out that citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do annually” (Nolan, 2012).
Thus, armed citizens mitigate criminal activities. Moreover, the US government cannot manage to provide enough security in all parts of America (Dowlut, 2013). Therefore, Americans can only remain safe if they are armed.
Although many Americans support the right to own arms, some human rights activists and politicians have seriously campaigned against it because of the following reasons. First, it has been alleged that the Second Amendment encourages the formation of armed gangs in America because it permits people to own guns (Bogus, 2002). Second, some armed citizens misuse firearms and cause irreparable losses. For instance, firearms were used to kill pupils at Sandy Hook School in 2012.
Investigations revealed that the suspect used a licensed gun to commit the crime. Consequently, the right to own firearms has been criticized for increasing violent crimes in America (Bogus, 2002). Nonetheless, “there is no evidence that restrictions on gun ownership reduce the rate of violent crimes” (Bogus, 2002).
This essay has pointed out the advantages and shortcomings of the right to own firearms. It is evident that many citizens support this right. However, citizens do not support the misuse of firearms. Consequently, the government should take serious actions against citizens who misuse firearms. Moreover, the government should enact laws that deter people from engaging in gun violence. Additionally, all citizens should observe ethical standards when using their firearms.
Bogus, C. (2002). The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms. New York: New Press.
Dowlut, R. (2013). Armed Conflict: Do America’s cities have the right to ban handguns? Web.
Nolan, S. (2012). 25 Reasons Why We Need to Preserve Our 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Web.