Something to Think About: Please, Try Not to Stick to Your Guns
October 5, 2015
Guns. Americans love them.
And, apparently, we have that constitutional right.
But when does the right of people to not get shot become more important than the rights of gun owners?
Questions regarding the constitutionality of gun control as well as the relevance of the right to bear arms have been a part of our political dialogue since we traded in our muskets for AR-15s.
However, in the past few months, the conversation has taken on a more urgent tone. In light of recent shootings, such as the ones in Oregon and Charleston, the Obama Administration has called for stricter gun regulations.
If this sounds strangely familiar, don’t worry, it should.
After Newtown, the president said the same thing. And after the Tucson shooting. And after Aurora.
And yet, there has been little to no change in our country’s gun control policies.
How is that possible?
There are two main reasons: misconceptions and the NRA.
A lot of people do not even understand the history of the 2nd Amendment or what it meant when it was originally written.
Here is the 2nd Amendment in its entirety:
“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.”
When this was written in the late 18th century, the Founding Fathers, with the memory of Britain’s rule fresh in their minds, held protecting the people from tyranny as a top priority. The 2nd Amendment was designed to allow local militias the ability to defend themselves in the case that the federal government became such a tyranny.
But this isn’t a reality in today’s America. Tyranny is not our biggest threat and even if it was, a bunch of Texans with rifles would not exactly fare well against the United States Military.
Another misconception is that gun control doesn’t work.
But around the world, we have seen other developed nations utilize gun control policies to keep their citizens safe.
Meanwhile, in 2013, the United States experienced over 33,000 gun-related deaths.
It does not have to be this way. And as shooting after shooting occurs, it is clear that Americans do not want it to be this way either.
Even gun owners recognize the need to enact some kind of reform. Universal background checks, longer waiting periods and magazine restrictions are all examples of sensible gun control laws.
Unfortunately, on this issue, public opinion may not matter as much as political influence.
The National Rifle Association actively lobbies politicians in order to keep any regulation from passing Congress. And as long as politicians are more concerned about getting re-elected than solving real issues, the movement for gun control will remain stagnant.
But at the end of the day, politicians do not answer to the gun lobby. They answer to the voters. And when the next election comes around, the American people will have the opportunity to make the call.