Due to unfortunate and heart wrenching recent shootings, there has been an urgent call for political action to eliminate or restrict gun rights. The idea is if we confiscate guns, there will be no more senseless gun violence. As a developed country, we believe there needs to be some form of appropriate action. We are equally outraged and distraught that such monstrous events have taken place in this modern country. But do beneficial and responsible actions accompany when we act on these emotions? Below, I look at some of the most common gun control arguments, and discuss their limitations.
- The United States is the Only Place with these kinds of Shootings
Many Europeans and Americans think the United States is a joke. Specifically the belief that we are idiots for allowing individuals to have guns that will inevitably cause destructive harm. We remain just some kind of spectacle for the world. Except we don’t have the highest death rate from public mass shootings. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) states that, among the US, Canada, and Europe, the United States has the 11th highest death rate from mass shootings. We are just above Austria, and just under the Czech Republic.
In addition, we should consider how many lives are saved because of guns. A 2021 National Firearms Survey found an approximate 1.67 million incidents in the United States related to firearm use in self-defense. An article from The Washington Post made a list of mass shootings prevented because of armed civilians.
- The Second Amendment is only for Hunting, Muskets, or the Militia
Another point misunderstands the Second Amendment in our Constitution. The Second Amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment ensures Americans’ liberty and the ability to defend themselves.
Pro gun control arguments often misunderstand both the amendment and guns themselves. We have President Biden stating we don’t need AR-15s for hunting, because, you don’t need a gun that can hold a “high”-capacity magazine to kill an animal when hunting. But why should the government tell you what weapons to hunt with? Why does the president care what someone utilizes to hunt? Some hunters go after smaller animals with pistols or hunt deer with shotguns instead of a traditional rifle. There are reasons to hunt with an AR-15, I recommend looking into The Meat Eater article Should Your Next Deer Rifle be an AR-15?. The real question is why is an AR-15 being idolized as the most dangerous weapon Americans possess? Based on the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI reported 57% of all firearm related murders were committed with hand-guns, while only 3% were rifles. It seems like politicians are targeting a weapon that’s not the main problem in the US.
Another strange one you might hear is that the amendment only applies to muskets, as muskets were the firearms that existed when the Constitution was drafted. However, muskets weren’t the sole weapon that existed at the time: you had flintlocks, pepperbox revolvers, puckle guns, repeaters, and cannons. James Madison (who was president at the time) actually permitted a private ship to own cannons in a letter in 1812.
The last main argument for the limitation of the amendment is it only applies to the militia. A simple thing to point out is that it distinctly separates the words “Militia” and “people.” Nevertheless, what should we define a militia as? One of our founding fathers, George Mason states “…what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” Everyone is in the militia, which can band together to fight against an oppressive power. We can see the militia isn’t anything specific and is still meant for the entirety of the citizens in the United States.
- We Need To Eliminate Guns for our Safety
Some, though by no means all, gun control advocates argue we should withdraw all firearms (from citizens) in the United States so that no one can use guns to harm others. That’s the idea at least. However, based on the CPRC, 94% of gun violence occur in gun-free zones. Perhaps if the no-firearm signs were slightly bigger criminals would note them and realize they can’t enter. I personally think the signs are big enough, but criminals appreciate no one else in the building bears a gun except for them. Also let’s say we make guns illegal, what happens when a shooter illegally obtains a firearm? I know this is general common sense, but criminals don’t care about laws. Every law-abiding citizen is now forced to depend on someone else to defend them. Who is stopping the criminal now? No one will be capable of stopping them without possibly getting shot. You should remember that the Austin Police Department was averaging about an 11-minute emergency response time in 2021. Wouldn’t it be nice if you possessed a firearm and we were able to respond to the threat immediately? In the present circumstances, you have a chance to save yourself, protect everyone around you, and stop the threat from creating an even more hazardous situation.
A proposed Solution
We should have armed guards or armed teachers within the school and upgrade existing safety measures. How much would it cost to upgrade the schools? There are 1,254 school districts in Texas and it takes the Rancho Santa Fe School District (in California) $420,000 to create a global electronic lockdown capability in their schools. Estimating it would cost each district the same, and ignoring the amount of school districts in Texas with an existing locking capability, it would cost an estimate of $526,680,000 which is slightly less than 1% of money given to Ukraine (Ukraine received $54 billion worth of aid from the United States to help fight against Russia). Could we direct some of that money to at least fund outdated school buildings’ infrastructure? Further, banks typically have a guard in place to prevent and deter robberies. Or are we still to follow the defund the police narrative even though it typically requires a gun to take down an active shooter. We could also make sure all schools have lockable doors and safety measures to deter shooters from the school.
Finally, I ponder how long this news cycle will last. How long until something else, whether it be Ukraine, Roe, or Biden, takes over the news cycle causing us to forget about this latest tragedy until the next shooting, as will continue to happen until we stop these shootings.