Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: The Spoiled Amendment

Being an absolute gun lover is one of the best ways to stereotype an American. There’s videos of young kids crying tears of joy when they receive their first guns who will probably grow up to be the same people who proudly own a mass collection. But how could a country who loves firearms hate them just as much?

Recently there have been student walkouts to bring attention to gun control and many people who think guns should be banned from the public. All this controversy dates all the way back to our Second Amendment: the right to bear arms.

The times we are living in now are much more different than how our Founding Fathers lived. Back in 1789, when the Constitution was written, people didn’t have the same type of security that we do. Attacks from wild animals was an everyday struggle, and houses were a lot easier to break into. The firearms that the writers of the Constitution were thinking about, the only ones they had at their disposal, were muskets and handguns that were nowhere near as lethal as what we have today. The Founding Fathers were not imagining machine guns to be possible and therefore did not intend to allow them for public use.

Surely many gun lovers are responsible with their weaponry but there needs to be regulations on the types of weapons that are available. Choosing to ignore the problems that modern guns have presented or thinking that gun crime can be reduced with more guns is absurd and childish.

There are numerous graphs and charts that represent the almost direct correlation between guns and crimes: the more people that own guns, the more people that die. Why be so outspoken about allowing people to possess military grade weapons and upgrades when it’s those types of weapons so commonly used in mass shootings? These guns have no place in a person’s household and, if owned, should be kept elsewhere, say a firing range. Nobody needs to keep a machine gun or a shotgun inside their house, as stand-up comic Bill Burr puts it, “I can defend myself with a BB gun”.

Guns should be restricted to keep massive tragedies from happening. Nobody needs a weapon capable of unloading 30 bullets in less than ten seconds under their bed. Of course people should be able to possess a firearm for their safety but it shouldn’t exceed anything larger than a handgun. Military weapons shouldn’t be civilian weapons and anyone who would rather have a gun in exchange for a person’s life is blind.

1 Comment

  • Reply unclesmrgol June 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    You believe that a robust right of self defense — greater than that which a criminal might bring to bear, is not supported by our Constitution. You would agree with the findings of Cruikshank, here described by the current Justices of the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago:

    “Three years after the decision in the Slaughter-House Cases, the Court decided Cruikshank, the first of the three 19th-century cases on which the Seventh Circuit relied. 92 U. S. 542. In that case, the Court reviewed convictions stemming from the infamous Colfax Massacre in Louisiana on Easter Sunday 1873. Dozens of blacks, many unarmed, were slaughtered by a rival band of armed white men. Cruikshank himself allegedly marched unarmed African-American prisoners through the streets and then had them summarily executed. Ninety-seven men were indicted for participating in the massacre, but only nine went to trial. Six of the nine were acquitted of all charges; the remaining three were acquitted of murder but convicted under the Enforcement Act of 1870, 16 Stat. 140, for banding and conspiring together to deprive their victims of various constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms.

    The Court reversed all of the convictions, including those relating to the deprivation of the victims’ right to bear arms. Cruikshank, 92 U. S., at 553, 559. The Court wrote that the right of bearing arms for a lawful purpose “is not a right granted by the Constitution” and is not “in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.” Id., at 553. “The second amendment,” the Court continued, “declares that it shall not be infringed; but this … means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress.” Ibid. “Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 265 (1886), and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.” Heller, 554 U. S., at ___, n. 23 (slip op., at 48, n. 23).”

    So far, so good? You would therefore deny black Americans of a right which McDonald v Chicago affirmed:

    “The most explicit evidence of Congress’ aim appears in §14 of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act of 1866, which provided that “the right … to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal, including the constitutional right to bear arms, shall be secured to and enjoyed by all the citizens … without respect to race or color, or previous condition of slavery.” 14 Stat. 176–177 (emphasis added).[Footnote 22] Section 14 thus explicitly guaranteed that “all the citizens,” black and white, would have “the constitutional right to bear arms.”

    The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 14 Stat. 27, which was considered at the same time as the Freedmen’s Bureau Act, similarly sought to protect the right of all citizens to keep and bear arms.[Footnote 23] Section 1 of the Civil Rights Act guaranteed the “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens.” Ibid. This language was virtually identical to language in §14 of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act, 14 Stat. 176–177 (“the right … to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal”). And as noted, the latter provision went on to explain that one of the “laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal” was “the constitutional right to bear arms.” Ibid. Representative Bingham believed that the Civil Rights Act protected the same rights as enumerated in the Freedmen’s Bureau bill, which of course explicitly mentioned the right to keep and bear arms. 39th Cong. Globe 1292. The unavoidable conclusion is that the Civil Rights Act, like the Freedmen’s Bureau Act, aimed to protect “the constitutional right to bear arms” and not simply to prohibit discrimination. See also Amar, Bill of Rights 264–265 (noting that one of the “core purposes of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and of the Fourteenth Amendment was to redress the grievances” of freedmen who had been stripped of their arms and to “affirm the full and equal right of every citizen to self-defense”).”

    Perhaps you don’t mean what you think you mean. Do you really want to disallow a personal right of self defense by one person against a band of men? I notice you don’t mention shotguns, but your proposal to allow only a small handgun for defense obviously strips any shotgun for the hands of its owner — such as this woman:

    Liked by 1 person

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