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In modern America, the means and lengths that people will go to just to achieve a firearm, are far beyond what they were back in the eighteen and 1900s. According to studies at Giffords Law Center, “more than half a million firearms are stolen and afterwards sold each year.” Evidently, making this a major contributor to gun violence, crime, and gun related deaths in the U.S. With this being said, I think it’s safe to say that subsequent rulings by the Supreme Court related to this law, no longer apply in present day America.
With the goal of the second amendment being “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” (U.S. Const. amend.II) comes accidents, abuse, and exploitation of the self defense rule. Last year there was an incident reported where a father happened to unintentionally shoot his two year old daughter in the stomach while fixing his gun. She lived, but this event shows how the right itself does not guarantee safety and can do more harm than good in certain situations.
In 1934, the National Firearms Act was ratified to further regulate weapons after an increase in crime rates was noticed. However, I’d consider this attempt at regulation as outdated because as of today, access to black markets and other illegal vendors has become easier and more prominent than it should be. Just like the Articles of Confederation, rulings related to this right need to be updated and or changed to better control gun usage.
When our founding fathers were creating these amendments and rights, it’s possible they never had in their mind the idea of a fully automatic assault rifle shooting hundreds of bullets a minute, when at the time their arsenals consisted of rifles that would need to be reloaded after every single shot. With that in mind it’s understandable as to why laws related to the right were not as strict. But we need change now more than ever because with all these mass shootings and gun deaths frequently occurring, it’s only a matter of time before a weapon gets into the worst hands possible. In a 2017 las vegas music concert, armed gunman stephen paddock opened fire on a crowd killing 58 people, and injuring hundreds more. Investigators found 23 firearms in the hotel room he was in and 19 more at his home residence. There is no regulated tracking system on firearms so there was no way of finding out how he got hold of the guns until gun sellers who sold paddock weapons were asked about him. They said that he passed all necessary background checks, but that didn’t stop him from killing people with the right given to him with the second amendment. That said, it’s obvious that our current rulings aren’t doing enough to prevent these types of things from happening over and over again.
Another argument to speak about is how easy it is for young people to obtain a firearm. In places like California, you barely have to be over 18 to purchase an armalite rifle or shotgun, but have to be over 21 to purchase and handgun. But what sense does that make? Clearly one can do more damage than the other so why is it easier to buy one more powerful early on. A tragic example of the damage this can do would be Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. In the youtube video the perpetrator posted the day of the shooting, he states how “with the power of his AR” we will all know his name. If laws were different or completely changed this incident could have either had less casualties or completely been avoided. A study showed that between 2010 and 2017, there were 29,618,300 violent crimes committed, and of those, only 0.79% were by victims protecting themselves through intimidation or use of a firearm. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that the second amendment right is being misused in a dangerous way. Henry Neville, an 18th century wing theorist, argued that arming the people whole create almost another military, making our democracy stronger than other countries. Its safe to say he was correct because as of right now, the U.S is the number country in the world when it comes to gun ownership. Statistics from The Trace News show that there are 120.5 guns per 100 people, which puts the amount of guns we have at about 393 million, more than twice that of Yemen’s. These are scary numbers to think about, but with the many technological advancements we’ve had in the past 200 years it was only a matter of time before we ended up like this.
Although there are plenty of negatives of our current rulings, we are still protected from having a disarmament. One like Stalin did with the USSR. which ended in the mass starvation of ukraine people because Stalin decided to steal a surplus of wheat from farmers. And if those farmers had been armed, he wouldn’t have gotten away with it. However this and the countries current means at controlling guns clearly aren’t working, so there needs to be further actions taken to solve this rising problem.
To conclude, the support and rulings by our founding fathers no longer apply to today’s America and can be considered obsolete. People can easily find black market merchants who will buy and sell weapons illegally with no trouble at all. Shootings, gun violence, and deaths by firearm rates continue to rise every year because our government doesn’t do enough to control and regulate how they are used and made. Times have changed and so has our weapon technology, so sticking with the same set of laws would only cause this situation to get worse and become a detrimental problem in our country.
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