Gun control has long been a subject of debate in this country. Whether private citizens should be allowed to own firearms under the Second Amendment is a question that our judicial system struggles with, but I believe the answer is simple if we look at the Constitution that founded this nation and preserved its freedoms.
The Constitution says, “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.” To most individuals this is very straight-forward, but so-called progressives have long pointed to what they would like to believe are loopholes in an attempt to take arms away from ordinary citizens.
One does not have to belong to a well-regulated militia in order to have the right to keep and bear arms. The militia clause is merely one reason out of many for preserving the right. The Founders were expressing a preference for a militia over a standing army. Even if today’s “well regulated Militia” were the National Guard, the Second Amendment still protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
Many people also don’t understand the purpose of this basic American right. It is not necessarily to protect our homes from domestic intruders or to defend the United States from foreign attack, (although these are good reasons) but it is to guarantee our liberty from the most likely source of oppression: the government.
I do not mean to claim that the federal government is attempting to oppress the American people, but this is not inconceivable. If the American people were incapable of armed rebellion it could be possible for a political element in Washington to gain power and use force to take away American liberty. I am sure the citizens of Yugoslavia and Rwanda would have rather been armed than submit to the genocide that took place in their countries. The fact is that remaining armed is the only way for the American people to guarantee their freedom. Any other method would be based on the false hope that those in power will not be corrupted by that power.
If we accept arms as a necessary part of our continued freedom we must also accept their risks. Guns usually are not a danger to Americans, and only become so when used incorrectly. While irresponsible gun ownership is a problem, irresponsible owners are not the responsibility of government. To outlaw guns because they can be used improperly would be no different than outlawing cars for the same reason. Cars are capable of killing people, but do you see senators pushing to take cars out of the hands of the “irresponsible” American public? Politicians must realize that more laws are not the answer. More paperwork would not have prevented a tragedy like the Columbine massacre. We need to crack down on irresponsible dealers and convicted felons using already existing laws, not flood responsible citizens with more paperwork and regulations.
Tyler Fultz is a freshman history and political science major from Indianapolis, Ind.