Why I Can’t Understand The Second Amendment

Since my last post on the Las Vegas shooting, I have been spending more time considering my stance on guns. I make it no secret that I am, in essence, a pacifist (although I realise that war is unavoidable in our current political state). Obviously, that means I’m not an advocate for civilians’ use and ownership of guns, so the gun laws in America are pretty ridiculous in my opinion.

The laws change from state to state in regards to restrictions, but almost every person in the United States can own a gun. This is the Second Amendment: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

The fact that it is written in the constitution is often deemed a strong enough argument for some in the ongoing debate about gun control. It’s written down in a historical document that defines the country’s politics, therefore it must be set in stone, right? Bear in mind that it was created in 1789 and a lot has happened since the 18th century. Also, they conveniently forget that the US Constitution hasn’t remained unchanged since the constitution’s conception. New laws have been added within the last few decades as it adapts to our ever-evolving society, the most recently ratified being in 1992.

And what can be added, can be taken away: the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited alcohol post-World War One, was repealed in 1933. The suggestion that because something has existed up until now, doesn’t mean it can’t change.

So laws can be altered, but what about the individual’s safety? Owning or carrying firearms for self-defence – how can I argue with personal protection? There’s also the 7% of the population who enjoy hunting. How could we deny them their ‘sport’?

Let me direct you to this article from The Telegraph (NB: I checked the facts and they all appear to line up) which shows how the ownership of guns correlates with the shocking amount of shootings. Here are a few other statistics that make me want to bash my head against a wall:

  • There are approximately 310 million civilian-owned firearms
  • 80% of people who participate in mass shootings have legal firearms
  • There have 1,516 mass shootings in the country in 1,735 days

The numbers say it all: more guns, more deaths. It’s really not rocket science. And if that’s not enough, what can the people who are against stricter gun control say to the victims? It astounds me that they feel they can justify the Second Amendment to the families of those who died at Sandy Hook in 2012, or Orlando in 2016, or Las Vegas last week.

Argue for protection and self-preservation all you like. I feel much safer here in England than I ever would in America.

Siobhán


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