The Second Amendment is Out of Date

By 2015 an estimated 13,286 people were killed by a firearm, this number excludes self inflicted deaths. The problem is that as gun technology and availability has increased United States gun laws and regulations haven’t kept up. A common argument within the opposing side of gun control is that limiting the ownership of guns goes against the 2nd Amendment, but times have changed since the 2nd Amendment was written in 1791 and the reasons behind it no longer apply to the present times.

The 2nd Amendment should be repealed because of the developments in firearm technology, we need a solution that takes away gun rights from all United States citizens, amendments can and have been repealed, firearms threaten the liberty of United States citizens, and the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the United States Military.

Before we can understand why the Second Amendment should be repealed we need to understand why there is such a need for gun control in the United States.

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Currently in the United States there are 393 million registered guns, that's a ratio of 120.5 guns to every 100 people which is why the rate of deaths due to firearms is so high. There are many scenarios with guns that lead to deaths and injuries, some common ones include mass shootings, suicides, and children finding a gun in their home. In 2015 alone there were 2,824 child’s deaths and 13,723 injuries from children finding a loaded gun in their household. Though these deaths and injuries are often unintentional, there are many intentional killings at the hands of a gunman.

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Mass shootings have been racing across headlines in the news and devastating many families due to the loss of loved ones. Current assault-style rifles, like the all so popular AR-15, are available to all US Citizens through the 2nd Amendment and can fire hundreds of rounds in a minute. These types of firearms have allowed mass shooters to create a devastating amount of casualties. According to the magazine Mother Jones “The current analysis included a total of 102 mass shooters in the United States between 1982 and 2018 described in media reports.” (Yelderman, Joseph, West, and Butler) Meaning in the 36 years between 1982 and 2018 there were over 100 firearm attacks that resulted in at least 4 deaths. United States citizens right to bear arms has resulted in terrible tragedies and therefore there is a huge need for gun control in the United States so that these deaths of innocent people do not occur at such a high rate, and repealing the Second Amendment is a solution that will prevent these events from happening.

Repealing the 2nd Amendment will take away gun rights from all U.S citizens, many Americans assume that all mass shooters have a diagnosed mental illness and therefore we should only take away gun rights from the mentally ill. This is because many Americans cannot cope with the fact that somebody would be capable of inflicting such pain without being mentally insane. In that sense, many believe we just need to make our background checks for buying firearms stronger so those who are mentaly ill don’t have access to them. The book Gun Violence and Mental Illness by, psychiatrists Liza Gold and Robert Simon explores the connection between mass shooters and mental illness. The website The Behavioral Scientist explains their key points and ideas by stating “In their 2016 edited book Gun Violence and Mental Illness, psychiatrists Liza Gold and Robert Simon summarize the evidence debunking the myth that mental illness is a leading cause of gun violence. As they report, less than 5% of shootings are committed by people with a diagnosable mental illness.” (Rai) Meaning 95% of mass shooters do not have a diagnosed mental illness, contrary to popular belief, they also explain that a mentally ill person is more likely to kill somebody they know or themselves than a stranger. This means that if we were to only take away the right to bear arms from the mentally ill, we would not solve our gun issue because the majority of mass shooters would still have gun rights. If we are unable to generalize about mass shootings and find a specific group to target with gun control, the only viable solution would be to enforce some sort of solution on everybody. A drastic problem like this needs a drastic solution and repealing the Second Amendment would take away all U.S citizens gun rights, and is the solution the United States needs.

When the founding fathers sat down to discuss and draft the US Constitution they could not predict the military grade weapons we have today. A Rolling Stone article effectively explains why the Second Amendment does not reflect modern day weapons by stating, “When the Second Amendment was written, the Founders didn’t have to weigh the risks of one man killing 49 and injuring 53 all by himself.” (Cohen) In other words the writings of the Second Amendment did not account for our current times so they shouldn't apply to them either. In 1791 when the 2nd Amendment was ratified the commonly used firearms were muskets and flintlock pistols. Muskets could fire at its fastest once every 15 seconds, modern day weapons like the AR-15 can fire 10 rounds per second. Because the US Constitution and the Second Amendment were written such a long time ago when conditions, technology, and language were different the government is allowed to interpret what was written in order to apply it to our society. When the Second Amendment was written it’s intent was more to give men in militias rights to guns, because the United States had just won independence from Britain and thought it was important to give U.S citizens the security of being able to overthrow an unfair government by giving them the right to own weapons capable of rebellion. The Second Amendment was interpreted by the United States Government to giving all U.S citizens the right to bear arms. Times have changed and military grade weapons are now in the hands of normal everyday citizens and the 2nd Amendment that is giving people rights to own these guns is outdated and does not account for this kind of weaponry and therefore needs to be repealed to account for the destruction of modern day weapons.

Not only does the U.S Government have the right to interpret the amendments but they also can repeal them, and repealing an amendment is actually something that has occured in the past and therefore it is perfectly legal and possible. The 18th amendment was ratified on January 19th 1919, and banned manufacturing and distribution of alcohol. The 18th amendment was formed because of the Temperance Movement where many US Citizens pledges absolutism from alcohol because they believed it was behind every sin, and because of the ideals of the Progressive Movement in the 20th century. This resulted in terrible economic problems due to the loss of the liquor industry and profit from importation and exportation of these products. The 18th amendment was repealed with the ratification of the 21st amendment. According to The Interactive Constitution in addition to stating that the production, distribution, and possession of alcohol is prohibited, the 21st Amendment also states, “The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.” (American Constitution Society) Therefore the United States Government is perfectly capable of repealing the Second Amendment and would only need to ratify a new amendment that states the repeal of the Second Amendment and explains the new terms of gun control and firearm rights of U.S citizens. If economic troubles were enough to make the U.S Government ratify the 21st amendment to repeal the previous one shouldn’t the staggering amount of deaths due to gun violence have the same effect. Not to mention that deaths due to a lack of gun control are having a negative economic impact on the United States. In a Journal of Risk and Insurance Jean Lemaire states, “The aggregate cost of gun violence in the United States at about $100 billion annually, or about $360 for every American.” (Lemaire) Meaning not only has an amendment been repealed in the past but, in addition to high death rates, the gun control issue is having a negative economic impact which happens to be one of the main reasons that the 18th Amendment was repealed.

Ever since the United States fought its way to independence from Britain it’s prided itself on how every United States citizen is free and has liberty. At the time when the U.S Constitution and the Second Amendment were written one of its main goals was to protect this liberty by giving them the right to bear arms so they can rebel against a possible tyranny. Not only is there no longer a huge threat of tyranny today but the current firearm conditions are putting United States’ liberty at stake. One key part of liberty is that a person’s actions and way of life is not oppressed, and because of the immense amount of people carrying guns and mass shootings people are forced to always be careful and aware of the possibility of someone with a firearm attacking them. Firearms have forced a fear where many people cannot go to places like a grocery store without constant worry, and this is not what liberty is defined as. According to the American Psychological Association “Nearly one in three adults (32%) feel they cannot go anywhere without worrying about being a victim of a mass shooting, while just about the same number (33%) say fear prevents them from going to certain places or events.” (Bethune and Lewan) This means that many U.S adults struggle with anxiety and worry about getting attacked by a shooter and this fear oppresses and affects their decisions including going places and how to get there. Liberty is supposed to be a state where a person can do whatever they want and a fear of firearms is not liberty, so in order to protect the liberty of the United States we need to take away the very thing that is threatening that and to do that the Second Amendment must be repealed.

Something many people do not understand is that the Second Amendment does not account for the firearm rights of the military so if it were to be repealed it would not take away the military’s right to own firearms, which is a common concern of people with the idea of repealing the Second Amendment or gun control in general. A writer for the website Bearing Arms, Bob Owens, answered questions proposed by Massachusetts Representative Paul Heroux, and during his response explained why the Military’s right to bear arms is unaffected by the repeal of the Second Amendment. Owens stated, “Again, the right to keep and bear arms of military utility is not dependent on any part of the Constitution or its Amendments.” (Owens) Bob Owens’ point is that there is no legal document that can take away the military’s right to use guns and that their firearm rights are unspoken but valid. A common doubt when such a severe solution is proposed, like repealing the Second Amendment, is that it would take away the right to bear arms from the military but this is untrue as the Second Amendment does not account for the military. Meaning the Military, who actually has a valid reasoning behind their gun rights, which is defending the country, will be able to keep their rights to bear arms even with the repeal of the Second Amendment.

Another common argument against repealing the Second Amendment and gun control in general is that firearms are needed for self defense, this argument is very common within the pro-gun party. Even the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, has spoken out about guns being vital to defend people's lives. LaPierre claimed that 'The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.' (The Week Staff) In other words LaPierre believes that firearms are a necessity when it comes to defense against a bad guy. Not only does the pro-gun party support the belief of guns being needed for self defense but even the Vice President of the largest gun rights group with a huge influence in the political world openly expresses this idea. The problem with LaPierre's conclusion is that it came from his research of 6,000 over the phone surveys which were given to firearm rights supporters, meaning it is very likely that the survey takers would be biased and could have lied about their experiences with the use of guns for self defense in an attempt to protect their gun rights. Not only is his evidence inaccurate due to its biased survey takers but there is also lots of other more critical research that proves that firearms do not help with self defense. The Violence Policy Center released federal data about firearm use in 2014 and the American new source HuffPost summarized some of the main points of the data. According to the Huffpost “Only 1.1 percent of victims or intended victims of a violent crime used a firearm in self-defense.” (Sugarmann) Meaning that out of all of the incidents that required self defense in 2014 only 1.1 percent actually used a firearm to help protect them, if guns are so vital and helpful in self defense situations then that rate should be way higher. The same study also concluded that for every person who kills another due to self defense there are 34 people who die for no reason such as a death from a mass shooting. Not only are firearms statistically unneeded for self defense, contrary to the belief of some, but the number of innocent lives lost trumps the deaths due to a defense incident. Guns are also used more in criminal acts then in defense, “Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of over 1,900 adults conducted in 1996, these researchers found that criminal gun use is far more common than self-defense gun use.” (Hemenway and Azrael) In other words a firearm is more likely to be used against you in an attack then to be used as a self defense method which means instead of helping fight against criminal attacks, firearms are increasing the threat of them. Luckily though since self defense is important firearms aren't the only weapon for self defense, and there are other methods that can be just as effective plus these alternative weapons can be taken into areas where guns may be prohibited. According to the website Marine Approved the top weapon for self defense is Salt Supply Long Range Pepper Spray meaning firearms aren't even the top option for keeping yourself safe. Not only are guns statistically not needed or used for self defense in the past they are also not even the most effective weapon as they are illegal in many areas. Though many would like to believe and argue that fire-arms are essential to protecting yourself years of research show that this is not true, meaning that the right to bear arms is not needed by U.S citizens in that sense.

The people of the United States are living in terrible firearm conditions where they experience anxiety about going to places nearby out of fear of getting attacked by somebody with a gun, and the number of innocent people dying because of a firearm is increasing and has left families devastated. Though many may like to argue against gun control by saying it is vital to protecting people from home invasions or other life threatening events, the research shows that not only are guns statistically not not used as self defense but there also are many alternative weapons that have been proven more effective. Overall the United States is in desperate need for gun control that takes away the right to bear arms from all U.S Citizens. Repealing the Second Amendment is the solution the United States needs, and is justified because the Second Amendment no longer reflects gun conditions in the United States. Times have changed and our legal system needs to reflect that change.

Updated: Feb 19, 2021
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The Second Amendment is Out of Date. (2020, Nov 17). Retrieved from

The Second Amendment is Out of Date essay
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