Gun control violates citizens’ rights

Oliver McIntosh, Staff Writer

For most of the twenty first century, the debate surrounding guns in America has been ubiquitous in politics and current events, a constant source of disagreement and thought between both political extremes. In this debate, antigun advocates often promise to solve large societal problems with oversimplified answers, appealing to emotional rather than factual arguments. These proposals come in many forms, from less extreme to outright bans, but most disregard or violate the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the historical context provided on guns in America in these founding documents.

To conduct a realistic debate on guns in America, we must first recognize the basic fact that gun ownership is a right guaranteed to United States citizens in the Bill of Rights, alongside such entitlements as freedom of speech and the right to security of one’s person and effects. The inclusion of the Second Amendment in the original ten amendments has historical context in the bloodshed of the thousands of Americans who died in the Revolutionary War, fighting against the tyrannical British crown which had infringed upon the freedoms of American colonists. This conflict prompted the drafters of the Constitution to specifically enumerate the right to selfdefense in the document governing the new United States. Even today, the Second Amendment and the purpose it fulfills remains fully relevant in modern America. Protection of personal liberties against overreaching government is still necessary, and the right to self-defense is still as important as it was at the founding of the United States.

The Supreme Court has also affirmed the role and relevance of the Second Amendment. Notable cases include District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), in which the Supreme Court decided that Washington, D.C.’s firearm ban violated the Second Amendment, and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), in which the same court ruled that Chicago was also bound by the Second Amendment as a city government and could not infringe unduly upon citizens’ right to bear arms. In both cases, after a thorough historical review of the amendment, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees all citizens the right to self-defense and gun ownership.

In essence, the premise upon which most theories advocating gun control rest is that the federal government should hold more power than the people. This concept, wherein guns are taken from law-abiding citizens and the government, military, and law enforcement hold all the guns in a society, creates a massive power imbalance and is completely contrary to the original intent of the U.S. Constitution. Put simply, the Second Amendment is intended as insurance against a government that attempts to infringe upon the livelihoods and freedoms of its citizens. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms is the first line of defense against the elimination of the rest of the guaranteed rights that make America so unique and free, and without this right, a tyrannical government can operate with no fear of retaliation from the population it has just convinced to give up their only defense. Personal liberties are an essential part of American culture, and the right to keep and bear arms is a crucial way to ensure they remain that way.