Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Second Amendment rights provide gun control solution

By Morgan Hanson
Opinions Editor

Illustration by Jacqueline Arredondo

The answer to America’s gun violence problem could not be more obvious. It’s spelled out explicitly in the text of the Second Amendment. To enact common-sense gun control in the U.S., state militias should be reinstated and strengthened.

To anyone who pays attention to the news in Freedomland, mass shootings are routine. The details change – maybe an angry young man shot up a church instead of a school, maybe it happened in Texas instead of Florida, maybe the perpetrator was arrested instead of killing himself.

However it goes down, it is the same story.

According to CNN, after the Las Vegas shooting Oct. 1, Bill O’Reilly, former Fox News broadcast anchor, said, “This is the price of freedom.”

The government should use state militias to enact gun laws. Every right comes with an inherent responsibility, and Second Amendment rights are no exception. In exchange for the trust of their fellow citizens, Americans who wish to own assault weapons should pledge allegiance to a state militia, usable for humanitarian efforts and as a peacekeeping force by the governor in times of extreme duress.

An organized group of like-minded patriots who regularly train together and serve their community is a far greater deterrent to tyrants than the same number of isolated, paranoid, well-armed wackos.

Many Americans are frightened by reports of gun violence and feel vulnerable in public places. Some people look wistfully to Australia, a country that disarmed nearly half its populace with a buyback program that took roughly 650,000 privately owned weapons off the streets after a mass shooting in 1996. The country hasn’t had a mass-shooting incident since, according to CNN.

But that would never work in the U.S.

Americans have a unique relationship with guns. There are an estimated 270 million guns owned by civilians in America, according to BBC. The Second Amendment gives the people the right to bear arms and organize into a well-regulated militia. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that this guarantees individuals the right to own firearms in District of Columbia v. Heller, according to the Library of Congress website.

Disregarding the legalities, the culture surrounding firearms in the U.S. is fetishistic. Americans simply have a different attitude toward guns than most of the world.

In the U.S., 74 percent of gun owners said owning a gun is essential to their freedom, according to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center. According to a CNN poll conducted after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, support for stricter gun laws is at its highest point in 25 years. However, most U.S. citizens in both major political parties are still unwilling to relinquish their Second Amendment gun rights. Ninety three percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats still oppose an outright ban on gun ownership.

When it comes to a ban on assault weapons, such as the AR-15, 80 percent of Democrats favor a ban compared to 34 percent of Republicans.

Some would say there’s no reason for a private citizen in a civilized society to own a military-style assault weapon.

Not everyone feels this way.

Handguns and hunting rifles aren’t significantly less dangerous than assault rifles when it comes to mass shootings. One of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history was the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, where Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before taking his own life. He used two handguns, according to The Washington Post.

On July 4, 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Britain. The U.S. was founded on a revolution, and there’s a sort of American mythology shrouding the historical nuance of the Revolution for many.

One of the common arguments for private gun ownership is as a means to resist the government were it to become tyrannical. According to the Declaration of Independence, governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed.

By stripping Americans of their instruments of potential rebellion, that consent is coerced. While this line of thinking could be considered silly, or even treasonous, some Americans view this as a legitimate concern.

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