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Posted by : JB Friday 8 November 2013

Following on from my previous article regarding my opinions on the US gun laws and the Second Amendment, I thought it best that I write an article with a few of the main arguments on either side of the debate – for the sake of equality.

For 2nd Amendment:

·         It is and has been a constitutional right for hundreds of years. Almost 222 years in fact, as it was added to the Bill of Rights on the 5th of December, 1791. Many would argue that such an established right cannot be repealed, as it has stood the test of time.
·         America has a written, codified constitution that does not change dependent on the times. The debate regarding codified and un-codified constitutions deserves an entire article to itself, however the point still stands: America’s constitutional layout is not one that has to change to match the needs of the time. It is a rigid document, and therefore cannot (and must not) be changed (easily).
·         Not everyone is a murderer. By repealing the gun law US citizens who are not crazy mass murderers lose a right due to the actions of very few. Some would argue that this is unfair (alongside an infringement of their rights).

As I’m struggling to write any more for arguments that I consider half valid, let’s move onto the against arguments.

Against 2nd Amendment:
·         Guns have developed substantially since this was implemented. I shall quote my previous article for this: ‘As I understand, the Second Amendment was implemented at a time where guns were slow to use, inaccurate and generally poor pieces of equipment. They took a lifetime to reload and were therefore simply for use in times of severe distress or danger; i.e. they would protect a citizen from harm or danger (providing he was accurate). Now guns in the US are a well-established, $33 billion dollar industry that produces nearly 10 million guns yearly that are well-developed, designed and made killing machines.
·         Give a man a car, he will drive it – give a man a gun… He will use it. The primary function of a gun is to kill or injure a target, indiscriminate of its species. The fact that the 2nd Amendment allows the ownership and mentions the usage of it on human beings, in the most established country in the world, is shocking.
·         Mass shootings. Again, Australia, 13 mass shootings in the 18 years previous to 1996, and none since – due to the banning of guns in 1996. Mass shootings (and shootings in general) can be stopped or massively decreased through strict gun control.
·         Guns have no place in today’s society. Without guns, there are no people with guns to be afraid of. It’s like the US is caught in a vicious circle of ‘Everyone has guns so to protect myself I’ll get a gun’, when they could so easily remove the guns wholly from the equation. The majority of the world gets on just fine without them, and doesn’t have 3 in every 100,000 people dying from them (or a monthly mass shooting).

I could go on, but I best not for the sake of a fair argument.

Maybe we should make this a weekly thing, review one of America’s Amendments on a Friday.

Hopefully I’ve helped a few A2 politics students with their course too.

{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Philip Schienbein

    Well thought out piece Jonny.

    Two points I'd like to make though;
    -Handguns are very different weapon than rifles and shotguns. Like switchblades vs a Chef's Knife
    -Gun ownership doesn't necessarily preclude violence. I own five different types of firearms, your cousin James owns over twenty, everyone I know in Cold Lake has guns. 12,000+ people heavily armed with firearms, but nobody has deliberately shot and killed another in the towns history. There are millions of towns like mine across North America.
    I don't hunt animals and I certainly don't shoot at people, I enjoy target and skeet shooting, which require some skill and are no more violent than skipping rocks.

    That said, tomorrow somebody may walk into a school here with a gun, or a knife, or a bat, or a bomb and do something horrific. But he'll do it because he's evil or nuts, not because everyone in the area owns guns.

    Now your Aunt and the rest of us have been wanting you guys to come over and visit us forever. Why don't you come for "research" and see North American gun culture personally, cultural anthropology to validate your thesis if you will (plus other stuff).
    We'd love to have you and you'll have a blast, figuratively and literally.

  2. I agree totally, the overwhelming majority of people in America are perfectly capable of owning and carrying weapons, and use them only for the reasons you have specified. It does seem somewhat unfair to suggest that everyone should be 'punished' for the acts of very few. However from an outsiders perspective, we see very little gun violence in England, whereas you can find out a gun related incident almost daily on USA Today or the likes - just today an 11 year old boy was found with a gun and 400 rounds of ammunition in an American school, and a boy of 14 killed himself and a teacher with an assault rifle in an unrelated incident. And the only reason these levels are so high is because of the high level of guns, take away the guns and you don't have this issue.

    So then the debate then becomes: Remove guns due to the high number of killings and shootings and 'spoil everyone's fun', or keep guns so that people can do their target and skeet shooting while in the knowledge that people may well go crazy and use them for other means.

    That said, I'm wholly certain that if I came to stay in America with you guys I'd have a wonderful time shooting targets and the likes, it looks like a lot of fun (provided I don't turn out to be a school-massacring-lunatic because of it), guns do look like fun, and I'm not going to be the harsh school-teacher that tells off the entire class because of one child's actions, but there has to be a correlation between the high number of guns and the high number of gun-related deaths unfortunately.

  3. Philip again, different account.
    Good, It's settled then. Your coming over. Bring your Mom and Dad and Rosie too.


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