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Consequences of Guns
The Consequences of Guns
Essay written by Martin Ostlind
Handguns and other firearms have a long tradition in American civilization. The right to bear arms is an American right featured in the second Amendment of the Constitution. In the 18th century, when the constitution was written, times were different; there was a need for armed citizens to insure the safety of the society as a whole. Contemporarily the police department preserves the safety of society and the need for armed citizens is out of date. The founding fathers of the Constitution could presumably never imagine the horrendous outcome of their actions. Every year too many lives are claimed as the result of the American government’s inability to fully face up to effects of the issue. Compared to other western countries that have considerably stricter gun control laws America is still viewed as “The Wild-Wild West”.
The growing gun related death toll in the U.S. has to come to a turning point. Stripping away the constitutional right to bear arms might have the effect that only criminals will have access to guns. It is important to understand that in a society where both criminals and law abiding citizens have access to guns the likeliness of an innocent person getting shot, when both parties are waving guns, is probably greater than if only criminals have guns. A ban on firearms might not be appealing as a short-term solution but it is important that people don’t limit their thinking to their generation and not think about the safety of their children, grandchildren and the society people are creating today for them to live in.
The main obstacle in removing firearms from citizens in the U.S. is the second Amendment of the Constitution. It reads: “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.” The second Amendment can be interpreted as every citizen right to bear arms. However the key word is “Militia”, meaning soldiers or defenders of the State. In the late 18th century, when the Constitution was written, times were very different than those of contemporary America. People were scared of possible invasions from Native Americans, the English, and other nationalities. By “a well regulated Militia…” the founding fathers probably meant that citizens could have a muscot standing in the corner just in case anything would happen. Note that the writers of the Constitution added, “a well regulated…” in front of the word Militia. That would most likely reveal a controversy in writing this Amendment, some of the founding fathers might have foreseen the possibility of a misinterpretation of this Amendment.
In the U.S. there are approximately 200 million privately owned guns, which is statistically close to a gun per person and places more than one gun per home on average (O’Donnell 771). In other words, guns are all around. This effects, without a doubt, the whole society structure and the citizens that live within its boundaries.
The children that live within a gun infested society are going to suffer the consequences. In fact, kids between the ages 16 and 19 have the highest handgun victimization rate among all age groups (O’Donnel 771). It’s not hard to understand why, since there are on average more than one gun per household, kids are likely to find firearm and in some cases even use it.
In March 1998 two children, 11 and 13 years of age gunned down a total of 13 people in a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Of the 13, nine survived and five people, classmates and teacher, died as a result of the shooting (Liesen, Owens). One of the boys had taken two rifles from his grandfather. They positioned themselves about a 100 yards from the schoolyard and when the bell for recession sounded and people started to exit the school building the two boys opened fire. This is a horrendous event that proves that if guns are present within a household or within a family, odds are that kids will know about where they are kept and perhaps even be curious enough to actually use them.
In October, 1997 a 16 year old boy shot and killed his girlfriend and her best
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Gun politics, Firearms, Overview of gun laws by nation, Gun control, Handgun, Right to keep and bear arms, Gun violence in the United States, Gun politics in the United States
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