The Second Amendment states that “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”. Early American colonies found themselves using firearms in battles such as the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763, and eventually led to the development of the Second Amendment. The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution, which included the Second Amendment, in 1791, and would essentially be the birth to one of the most well known controversial topics in American history (Gonzales 5-15).
Sometimes the solution to a problem is far out of reach and attempting to change what is not looking for change is not the answer. Over the years, controversy developed that contemplates upon the interpretation of the amendment and whether or not it should be abolished and has formed two sides of support: those for the Second Amendment and those against it. Those against the Second Amendment have attempted to put restraints on or abolish it to some extent, while those for it have provided substantial evidence and reasoning to protect their long standing, sacred right.
Abolishing the Second Amendment would be a violation of the individual right of citizens granted in the Bill of Rights, and would not serve to benefit the American people within their households nor in society. The abolition of the Second Amendment would be in violation of the individual right granted in the Bill of Rights. The wording in the Bill of Rights supports citizens in having the individual right to bear arms. The Second Amendment includes the term “the right of the people” which is used frequently throughout the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and most commonly indirectly refers to individual rights.
The Second Amendment also references pre-existing individual rights with the statement of “shall not be infringed” which is a possible reference to the 1689 English Bill of Rights in which English citizens were allowed to bear arms (French 2-3). Individual liberties granted to citizens are directly stated in neither the Bill of Rights nor the Constitution. The controversy on whether the Second Amendment was meant to be a collective right is eliminated with the analyzation of the wording presented in the Bill of Rights, thus, stripping the Second Amendment would be a violation of individual rights.
Over the last century, court rulings have supported the fact that the Second Amendment is an individual right and is not subject to abolishment. In the trial, the District of Columbia against Heller, the conclusion reached was that the Second Amendment is an individual right, not a collective right, and along with it two laws in D. C. were classified as being unconstitutional and were terminated. The laws include one in which handguns were banned from being possessed by any non-law enforcement official, and the other one required lawfully owned firearms to be maintained unloaded, disassembled, or locked (Rose 1).
In the trial of McDonald against the City of Chicago in 2010, by a four to five margin, it was concluded that the Second Amendment is an individual right. The Second Amendment, within the last century, and its meaning in the Bill of Rights has proven constantly that it is an individual liberty and has defied being abolished on several occasions. Abolishing the Second Amendment would diminish the possibility of citizens to defend themselves in situations of self-defense.
Citizens have protected themselves from home invasions and are supported by laws such as the Stand Your Ground Law in which lethal force can be used in order to protect or defend oneself without the fear of prosecution. In most cases during situations of self-defense when firearms are used, the aggressor is seldom ever killed. The article “Fact Sheet: Guns Saves Lives” in the Gun Owners of America, supports such claim with the stating of: Of the 2. 5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers.
Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker. (“Fact Sheet: Guns Saves Lives” 1) In other words, allowing citizens to possess firearms in their households does not necessarily mean that a situation of self-defense will turn into a life being taken. The chance of citizens to protect themselves in self-defense would be removed with the abolishment of the Second Amendment. With the abolishment of the Second Amendment, the American citizens would be denied the right to a sense of protection.
Having a sense of protection or security is perhaps one of the best feelings one can feel, and can be seen as a benefit when combating the complicated challenges the world poses. Over the years, the main reason people own or buy guns has become for protection purposes. In a survey administered by the Pew Research Center, the results found that,“nearly half of gun owners (48%) volunteer that the main reason they own a gun is for protection; just 32% say they have a gun primarily for hunting and even fewer cite other reasons” (Goo 1).
To put it differently, most citizens do not look to cause havoc when purchasing a firearm; on the contrary, they long to satisfy certain necessities they may have, which include feelings or hobbies. Citizens look to utilize their freedoms granted by bearing arms for reasons justified by their feelings. Having a sense of protection is one aspect that brings citizens to a state of security, but if the right to bear arms is stripped from them, they would be denied such right.
Criminal activity would not be reduced or hindered with the abolishment of the Second Amendment. In most cases, the guns obtained by criminals are not obtained legally, but instead are either acquired via black markets or straw purchases, in which a person purchases a gun from a dealer without revealing that it is a purchase for someone else. According to the research done by Anthony Fabio, epidemiologist of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, at crime scenes that involve guns, greater than one-third had been stolen.
Other studies conducted have revealed that less than a fifth of gun crimes were committed by lawful gun owners (Ingraham 2). Criminals are much more likely than an individual who obtained a gun legally to commit a crime, and in most cases is done with an illegally obtained gun. Therefore, abolishing the amendment would punish lawful gun owners. American society would not see a reduction of criminal activity with the abolishment of the Second Amendment. A reduction in homicide rates would not come with the abolishing of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.
In fact, allowing citizens to bear arms could possibly lead to downsizing homicide rates by guns. It is less likely for a citizen that possesses a weapon to be attacked in any manner, including burglaries or homicides, than someone that does not own a firearm. Multiple times studies have been compared to attempt to discover if any correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates exist. In the National Review article “Fewer Guns, Less Homicide? ” by Robert VerBruggen, he speaks n regards of this non-existing correlation: A year ago, I took state gun-ownership levels reported by the Washington Post (based on a Centers for Disease Control survey) and compared them with murder rates from the FBI: no correlation.
The legal scholar Eugene Volokh has compared states’ gun laws (as rated by the anti-gun Brady Campaign) with their murder rates: no correlation. (Verbruggen 1) To put it simply, there is no existing connection between homicide rates and gun ownership rates, as proved on numerous occasions. The Second Amendment does not cause for high homicide rates and stripping the amendment would not reduce them either.
Many believe that allowing citizens the right to bear arms causes suicides and taking away such right would minimize them but that is not the case. Studies have been conducted to compare suicide rates in countries with high gun ownership rates, such as the United States, and countries with low gun ownership rates. In Lithuania, the country with one of the lowest gun ownership rates, less than one person for every hundred owns a gun, had the highest suicide rate, with about forty-five suicides for every one hundred thousand people.
In the United States, the country with the highest gun ownership rates, almost eighty-nine people for every hundred own a gun, was ranked twenty-sixth out of seventy-one in suicide rates, with about twelve suicides for every one hundred thousand people in 2011 (“Gun Control” 3). Gun ownership rates in the United States, among other countries, do not have a grand correlation with suicide rates, as depicted when having undergone examination. Not allowing citizens the right to bear arms would not decrease the number of suicides in society.
Abolishing the Second Amendment would not reduce the number of deaths to children in American households, as many have been led to believe, but instead are more likely to die of other factors. Children are the future and adults look to protect them, but protecting them from guns should not be a parent’s or an adult’s biggest preoccupation. A child drowning and dying in a pool is far more likely to occur than a child to die from a gun accident.
In Gun Control: Opposing Viewpoints a subsection titled, “The Threat of Guns in the Home is Exaggerated” by Wayne La Pierre speaks of the latest studies showing that the number of children that died in a swimming pool, 500, is far less than the number that died from gun accidents, eighty-eight (Roleff 29). As numbers have displayed, a significant amount more deaths of children have been caused by factors other than guns, but society does not consider banning or at least restricting to some extent household features that are more likely to cause deaths.
The biggest factor that society looks to restrict is the citizen’s right to bear arms. Abolishing the Second Amendment would not significantly decrease the number of deaths of children caused by guns in American households. The Second Amendment is an individual right entitled in the Bill of Rights and abolishing it would be in violation of such right as well as would not bring benefits to Americans either in their household or in society.
The Second Amendment holds sacred roots and a purpose that is still relevant to the twenty-first century society, thus even the contemplation of its abolition should be diminished. As the years have passed, citizens have sought to make the world they live in a better place, but the answer to most problems does not lie in the abolition of the Second Amendment. Sometimes the answers to questions are the not the ones that seem most obvious, but are the ones that were least expected to be.