(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)


Opinion: The 2nd Amendment requires gun regulation

Background checks and restrictions are necessary to reduce gun violence.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/emilyyao07/" target="_self">Emily Yao</a>

Emily Yao

January 2, 2023

Imagine, during the middle of a perfectly normal day, you see a breaking news notification on your phone that there has been a mass shooting in your city. Instead of doing your normal routines, you hurriedly call your loved ones to make sure they are okay, your eyes about to burst into tears, worrying, and praying that someone you know wasn’t one of the victims. 

Well, you don’t have to imagine, because it has happened to many Americans and may happen to you one day. 

Gun violence has been a huge topic and problem for many decades, yet there hasn’t been enough done.  For the past two decades, according to  Pew Research, the FBI has found an increase in gun violence. In the year of 2000, there were only 3 active shooter incidents, while in 2020 there have been 40 incidents.

A recent study shows that the United States of America has the leading number of gun violence deaths. According to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, the rate of firearm homicides per 100,000 population has climbed up to a shocking number of 4.12 people per 100,000 population in America whereas in all other countries, it is less than 2 people. 

As of this writing, reported in Gun Violence Archive, in just the year of 2022 alone, there has been a total number of 23,887 deaths caused by gun violence, including 31,407 injured during the 536 mass shootings or the 25 mass gun murders. We haven’t even finished the year of 2022, and the number of deaths has already reached extremely high numbers. Many peoples lives are in danger because of guns, and we need to stop harming civilians.

Many celebrities and influential people have spoken out about gun violence in the past years, yet it seems like no matter how many people speak out on the importance of how dangerous gun violence is, no one seems to understand. 

After the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 students and 2 teachers, head coach of NBA basketball team–Golden State Warriors  Steve Kerr, who had dealt with losing a loved one due to gun violence, stated, “I’m tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the, excuse, I am sorry, I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”

Does everyone have to deal and feel the true pain of these situations in order to want to make a change and act? 

Kids should certainly not have to worry about their safety in places such as a school, and parents should not have to worry about their kid’s safety at school either. People should be allowed to have fun on holidays in public spaces without worrying about being in danger. If people continue to live in a society with gun violence as a major obstacle, then no one can be safe or feel safe.   

How can we decrease gun violence?

According to the 2nd Amendment, since “[a] well regulated Militia [is]…necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Although people have the right to bear arms for their own protection as stated in the Constitution, the Second Amendment also clearly states that this is based on the need for a “well regulated Militia”, not based on random people being able to have guns.

This can be interpreted to mean that no one except for law enforcement should have more than a number of guns or ammunition, because the right to bear arms is for a “well regulated Militia”. People do not need 10 guns to protect themselves from danger, and they certainly won’t need a gun that can shoot 600 bullets per minute either, like the AK-47 as detailed in Britannica.

If we limit a certain amount of guns per person, making sure that gun owners are “well regulated”, then the chance of a mass shooting will be less likely as a gun owner could only own a specific amount of guns and also have “regulated” ways to use them. 

Also, to make sure that the right to bear arms continues to be well regulated as required by the Constitution, reducing the amount of guns sold is another solution to reduce gun violence. Despite the fact that it may seem cool to have a really big gun, most people will not need such a gigantic gun for the use of personal protection.

Small handguns would be enough for protection, and guns like Ak-47 should only be used for war by trained soldiers, not by civilians. During the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, as reported on KTNV, a variety of different huge guns were found in the apartment and hotel room of the shooter, Stephen Paddock. Some varieties included a Colt M4 Carbine AR-15, Noveske N4 AR-15, and Daniel Defense M4A1 AR-15.

In the end the total number of guns found in Paddock’s hotel room totaled up to 23 guns, and after further search, another 19 guns were found in his home. One of the reasons why mass shootings occur is because a gun owner can have a gun that can inflict so much massive damage so he or she can inflict a great amount of harm and casualties. If we restrict the type of guns sold, making sure to regulate the right to bear arms as the Second Amendment requires, less people will get hurt. 

Furthermore, requiring a background check before the purchase of a gun can save many lives since many criminals who have already faced charges would be more likely to commit another crime. A recent study from Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that there was a surprising total of about 287,400 prisoners that carried a weapon during a crime.

Having a background check when someone buys a gun, there can be a reduced chance of a gun going to the wrong hands. Not only should buyers  have background checks, but also gun dealers as well. According to Everytown, even though background checks are required for all licensed gun dealers, it’s not required for the sellers that are unlicensed.

Unlicensed gun dealers could sometimes lead to greater problems. Not only is it dangerous for an unlicensed gun dealer to sell multiple guns, this can lead to greater issues as more criminals would have an easier access to guns. 

If these harmful mass shootings continue, a catastrophe may happen at any time, at any moment, anywhere in America. Even though there have been a few new changes in gun laws, it still isn’t enough to ensure the safety of all American citizens.

By requiring necessary background checks, restricting the number and types of guns sold, we can ultimately help decrease the chance of people getting hurt or killed by gun violence in our nation. 

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