Protection and Freedom: Why We Need Our Right to Bear Arms
Protection and Freedom: Why We Need Our Right to Bear Arms
Fourteen-year-old Jessica Carpenter was left to babysit her younger siblings while her parents were running errands the morning of August 23, 2000. Armed with only a pitchfork, Jonathon David Bruce, who was high on drugs, entered the home and began chasing and stabbing the children. Jessica’s father had taught her how to use a firearm, but she could not access the gun because it was locked up in accordance with California state law. She was left unprotected and unable to defend herself and her family (Pratt). Situations like these are why it is necessary for our right to bear arms to not be infringed. Guns, when allowed to be carried by citizens, can cause a decrease in crime. “If a criminal thinks his potential victim may be armed, he may be deterred from committing the crime” (Freakonomics)
The right to bear arms is necessary because it is constitutionally protected under the second amendment, leads to safer communities, offers personal protection, and because gun control is essentially impossible and would only lead to a false sense of security. One of the main arguments used by proponents of gun control against the right to bear arms is that guns kill people. There are several circumstances in which guns are used to cause death: accidents, protection, and murder. As humans, we are prone to make mistakes. Sadly, mistakes with a gun can cost a life, and unfortunately, these mistakes cannot always be avoided no matter what safety precautions are taken. Murder, on the other hand, is not a gun’s decision.
Whether the act was premeditated or not, it was the actions of the person with the gun, not the weapon. Therefore, an appropriate slogan is “ Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People,” which is now the official slogan of the National Riffle Association (NRA). Lastly, guns are needed for protection. A gun is used to protect an individual from another individual, a group or the government. Often we see where a store clerk used a gun to shoot an armed person who was trying to rob him, or where a homeowner has shot a burglar.
In addition, there were no means for the Jews to protect themselves from the Nazis during the Holocaust. The German government was corrupt, and the Jews were not allowed to have guns, or any other form of protection, and, therefore, had no means to defend themselves. Because of the lack of any means of self-protection, millions of innocent people died. The Constitution of the United States is based-off of John Locke’s “Social Contract,” which in essence says that the citizenry has a right to revolt against their government if it is corrupt. It is the government’s duty to fulfill our right to self-preservation. The government’s role is to protect us, and we also have a right to protect ourselves; taking away the right to bear arms restricts the ability to protect oneself. Being able to protect oneself, being armed, decreases the likelihood that a crime will be committed against that person.
The Second Amendment was added to the Constitution on December 12, 1792. It stated, “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”(Constitution). “Gun control proponents have argued that the use of the word ‘people’ in this Amendment refers not to the civilian population of the United States, but to the State National Guard Units.” (Agresti). James Madison, who was responsible for proposing the Second Amendment, argued, “that a standing federal army could not be capable of conducting a coup to take over the nation.
He estimated that based on the country’s population at the time, a federal standing army could not field more than 25,000 – 30,000 men” (Agresti). This means that if the government were to be attacked, the citizenry would have to have protection from tyranny. The citizenry would have protection against the crime of tyranny because it would be armed. Therefore, revoking a citizen’s right to bear arms is not only a constitutional violation, but also threatens the freedoms of Americans. If we as citizens of the United States allow our Second Amendment right to be restricted, it only sets a precedent for other rights, such as the freedom of speech or freedom of the press, to be restricted as well.
The essential purpose of the Constitution of the United States was to set limitations on the powers of government rather than grant them powers. The founders believed that the true obligation was to the citizens, and thus the bill of rights was created in order to protect individual freedoms. By mandating the control of firearms, the government is removing the Second Amendment’s guaranteed right to self-protection, and consequently allowing its citizens to be predisposed to criminals. The right to bear arms helps maintain the safety of society. This security is established through a simple apprehension of not knowing who is armed and who is not. While there are other means of protection, carrying a gun is a basic, Constitutional right, and every person is entitled to receive the most amount of protection possible. It is also evident in other countries how gun control negatively affects society.
Countries that have strict gun control measures have a much higher crime rate than countries that allow its citizens to have guns. For instance, “In 1900, when England had no gun controls, the homicide rate was only 1.0 per 100,000. Moreover, using data through 1996, the U.S. Department of Justice study ‘Crime and Justice’ concluded that in England the robbery rate was 1.4 times higher, the assault rate was 2.3 times higher, and the burglary rate was 1.7 times higher than in the U.S.” (Halbrook). Laws were passed in England in 1953 and 1967 made it illegal for any person to carry a weapon (Waters). This shows that when citizens are legally allowed to posses and carry a gun crime rates are lower.