I read an article on a very well-known rifle association’s website that lead with this question: “Why do we even have a Second Amendment?”
The rest of the article – a poor attempt to propagate the idea that gun reform equates to a repeal of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – failed to evoke as much thought from me as the opening question.
But why do
we have a Second Amendment? For the answer to that question, one must look deep into our country’s history, paying close attention to the dark spots.
A History of Gun Play
The first African slaves were brought to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia
by Dutch ships in 1619. More than 150 years before the nation’s forefathers declared independence from Great Britain, colonizers had begun the process of forcing millions of free Africans into brutal enslavement, using guns as their primary means of persuasion.
Guns were also the preferred means of persuasion when the Native Americans were forced out
of their lands upon the arrival of British colonizers, and again once the colonizers had declared their own independence.
The ugly truth is that the United States was built upon a foundation of gun violence. Guns are a ubiquitous aspect of our nation’s identity, which is why it is a difficult establishment for the American people to abandon. A large portion of Americans are afraid to place reasonable restrictions on the manufacture, sale, distribution, ownership and use of firearms for the same reasons that many Americans were opposed to endowing Black Americans with the right to vote, and the same reasons they were opposed to giving homosexuals the right to be lawfully married.
You see, the topic of gun restrictions is not about stripping people of the right to protect themselves; it’s about giving those who cannot protect themselves the right to live.
American society has had issues historically with affording equal rights for various subcultures out of fear that doing so may mean giving up some of their own freedoms. But if your ability to maintain your rights infringes on another person’s ability to maintain their rights, then the idea of what is right
must be reevaluated.
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We Should Protect Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves
The Washington Post reports
that “among the world’s wealthy nations, the United States accounts for 91 percent
of all firearm deaths of children younger than 15.” That report came from a 2010 study conducted by the American Journal of Medicine
comparing the violent death rates of the U.S. with those of other high-income countries.
When a mentally disturbed gun owner can enter a gun-free school zone and kill 17 people with bullets fired from his legally purchased semi-automatic rifle, it’s time to reevaluate. Is the right to keep and bear arms worth more of a fight
than a student’s right to attend public school and remain free of the threat of gun violence, or a parent’s right to send their child to school with the freedom of knowing they won’t be gunned down by an intruder who has a legal right to own the weapon they are wielding?
[penci_related_posts taxonomies=”undefined” title=”Related Posts” background=”” border=”” thumbright=”no” number=”2″ style=”grid” align=”none” displayby=”recent_posts” orderby=”random”]Disarming the nation is not the solution to the issue of gun violence in America. However, the entire American culture needs to be willing to back away from our habit of equating gun ownership with empowerment, since historically it has only been the cause of death and destruction at the hands of Americans. True empowerment can be gained by molding our nation into a country where all
innocent men, women and children are safe from the threat of gun violence.