By Amal Abdi
One of the main arguments pro-gun Americans use in debates about implementing gun control laws is the second amendment. The second amendment clearly says the federal government shall not infringe on a citizen’s right to bears arms’. That’s pretty explicit; according to the constitution, every American can own a gun without the government getting involved right? Not exactly. The language of the second amendment is not as transparent that. It actually says 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’.
The problem with using the second amendment to back the pro-gun argument is that its language is too ambiguous. We cannot know what the founding fathers actually meant when they wrote it. Many Americans see the constitution as the fundamentals of American society, and it’s this issue that has kept gun control laws in gridlock for such a long time.
One cause for the lack of change in gun laws is the National Rifle Association. The NRA has over four million members who are very determined to stop gun control from being implemented. The NRA pride themselves on believing guns are part of American tradition, and therefore, important to personal freedom.
In fact, it was the NRA who refused to have identification checks after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 27 children and school staff were killed. Even after the Charleston church and Orlando nightclub shootings, the NRA still maintain that the statement of personal freedom around guns is more important than the hundreds of innocent lives being lost every year.
There is no denying that guns have had a detrimental effect on American society. If you combine the populations of Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Australian and the UK you get a number roughly the size of the population of the United States. However, all of these countries combined had 193 gun homicides in 2012, compared to the US’s 16,688. Do Americans have a special gene that makes them more homicidal by nature or is it that other countries have gun control?
With the number of gun-related tragedies in America ever growing, seems clear that the government should enforce some sort of gun control. At the very least, this would deter terrorists from buying guns. Yetclings to their past and that all-important second amendment. Perhaps more importantly, gun control opponents should be asking what the importance of the constitution truly is. Why should a document written before there was a police force or a national army play such a prominent role in today’s modern society?
Now Trump’s America, gun laws will probably be changing for the worse. After all of the massacres, there’s little evidence that a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. I disagree that guns are a tradition or about personal freedom and public safety. The USA’s insistence on lingering on the distant past has only harmed it in recent years, and it seems little will change in the near future.
Featured image courtesy of The Nation/Reuters