“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.”
– The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution
For ordinary citizens, the 2nd Amendment is confusing to a certain extent, regardless of how many times you read and re-read it. In fact, there are debates regarding the intended scope of the amendment. What does it really mean? Which right of the people is it protecting? Some people believe that the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” create an individual constitutional right where legislative bodies are restricted from prohibiting possession of firearms. Others also believe that the phrase “a well regulated Militia” restricts Congress from taking away the States’ right to self-defense. If you dissect the Second Amendment further, the more confused you will become. But here’s the shortest and simplest explanation of it, it covers the privilege to bear arms or weapons. This gives you the right to carry a gun.
People are divided in their beliefs about the Second Amendment. Proponents believe that it provides citizens a certain level of protection. Opponents, on the other hand, believe that it is just inviting for more trouble and higher crime rates.
But there might be a way to make the amendment work without costing lives. If guns to be regulated the same way as cars, gun control and possession will be closely monitored, while protecting people’s rights at the same time. Even if guns were regulated, however, problems can still arise.
List of Pros of the 2nd Amendment
1. Decrease chances of a criminal attack
Study showed that criminals retreat 55% of the time when people draw their guns for self-defense. This means the weapon you are carrying will thwart any malicious intent on your person. Another study also showed that “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury”. If you were to use a baseball bat, for example, a criminal would still try to attack you, which would result in you hurting yourself if and when you do survive the assault. In some cases, your injuries might be too severe or fatal.
2. Reduces crime
In a 1998 publication by John Lott PhD, he outlined the many benefits that concealed carry offers, including reducing crime significantly. According to him, there was an 8.5% reduction in homicides, 7% in aggravated assaults, 5% in rape, and 3% in robbery following the passing of gun laws. The numbers may not seem much, but you can just imagine the world of difference these made to the lives of the citizens, which brings us to the next advantage.
3. Creates sense of safety and security
A lot of people admit to feeling safer with a gun in their possession, especially when in a crime-prone neighborhood or establishment. Criminals are everywhere and they can come into your home and your place of employment without warning, so having a weapon that you can use for self-defense would make you feel less of a victim and ease any fears you might have.
Now, opponents may say that people should leave the crime busting to the police. The reality, however, is that the government and local authorities could not protect every single family and person. If different crimes are happening in different areas in the community, they can only do so much to respond to emergency calls. Imagine how many lives could have been saved if an armed citizen was present during the Virginia Techs shooting.
4. Gives the right to bear arms
Even with laws that prohibit citizens from owning and carrying guns, criminals have self-imposed right to carry firearms, so why shouldn’t citizens have the same right and advantage? While criminal carry firearms for malicious intent, citizens can carry firearms for their personal protection.
One thing that opponents are worried, however, is that gun-carrying individuals might be prone to commit acts of violence. Based on statistics, however, the general public is less likely to be arrested for carrying weapons without permits or non-violent offenses. This means most adults who carry concealed weapons are law-abiding.
List of Cons of 2nd Amendment
1. Increase potential for gun-related incidents
Study showed that people “carrying a gun for self-defense was 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than an assault victim without a gun”. This goes without saying that guns may not be the best choice for an effective and reliable form of self-defense. This is especially true if an adult with a gun is not adequately trained to use it. The story might take a different turn if everyone who wants to carry a weapon will be required to train and equipped with the necessary skills.
2. Increased incidence of crimes
Contradictory as it may seem, but a study conducted by a Yale professor showed that the “Shall-issue” laws, which is one of the four categories in the concealed carry permit laws, resulted in a rise in the rates of violent, crime, rape and robbery. The risk of suicide also increased, because 53% of all suicides that happened in 2005 in the USA involved a firearm. This is why opponents strongly believe that the 2nd Amendment will not deter crime, but increase it.
3. Not granted by the U.S. Constitution
As already mentioned, the Second Amendment is very confusing for a lot of people, so much so that some people argue that the right to carry firearms for self-defense is only granted to people who are called to military service. It did not specifically state that citizens are given the right to carry guns for personal use and self-defense.
4. Leaves people feeling ill at ease
Imagine being the only person in a restaurant without a gun. Dining would probably be not a fun and happy experience. What is your guarantee that none of the other diners is trigger happy? It would be even worse in a bar or pub when alcohol can fuel a heated argument, which could end in one or both parties pulling out their guns and then shooting each other.