The “Right to Bear Arms” is the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, which became a law collectively with the 9 amendments composing the Bill of Rights. The commandment it holds states that “Well governed armed forces, which are vital to provide security and protection to the independent State, shall not disobey the natural right of a person to bear arms,” proclaiming the militias to recognize completely citizens’ rights. While there are benefits to it, there are also drawbacks. To get a well-informed insight of this law, let us take a look at its pros and cons.
List of Pros of the Right to Bear Arms
1. Symbol of Freedom
The individual right to carry arms is seen as an important symbol of individual freedom. In fact, it has become so important that it lasts expression to many people in the US of their individual liberty. There are few symbols as powerful, particularly as this right potentially allows citizens to join a militia and fight a tyrannical government. Much less tangible are the rights to free speech and religion, which lack the power and threat of violence as a check on government tyranny. This symbolic expression of freedom is resonating too deeply with many Americans for them to be deprived of it.
2. Personal Protection
With this law, people are permitted to own firearms for self defense or protection whenever they are physically or offensively attacked by other people. In fact, it does not corrupt protection power of citizens to save their selves and live a life free of harm.
3. Well-Regulated Militia
As mentioned above, the Right to Bear Arms secures its subjects the right of having arms for their defense, suitable to their degree and condition. In the construction of this law, owners are adhered to comply with the conditions to be responsible for the right they are given to. It even includes the field of hunting games. Certainly, we can reasonably hope that the people in this country will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty.
4. Better Individuals
This law enforces a requirement of firearm license, which can only be purchased after applicants undergo a background check that specifically scrutinizes the presence of a possible history of committed criminal cases. The Right to Bear Arms definitely excludes citizens who have a history of criminal acts against the community or a person.
It does not carelessly provide the right of a person to possess firearms. In fact, before one can purchase a gun, he has to go under a number of safety courses to verify the ability to own a gun harmlessly. Also, the public carrying of firearms is permitted if and only if the arms themselves are concealed. Convincing concealed gun permit should be obtained by the owner.
5. Tighter Controls of Guns
This means that there would less shooting. Taking into consideration what ordinary citizens and government officials claim, the fewer guns that are had, the less shooting will be. With such kind of restriction, cutting down on gun crimes can also made easier.
6. Type of Weapons You Have Should Be Negotiable
Mostly, gun control activists do not argue the right to own arms. However, they believe that stipulations to gun ownership should be placed but not made to be a limitation of the rights of the constituents.
7. Gun Control Does Not Need to Affect Law-Abiding Citizens
Gun control does not need to affect firearms that are used for legal purposes, where in fact, the latest technology allows the tracking of guns and ammo. The technology used also allows firearms to be traced back to their owners. Through this method, it will be simpler for law enforcers to recognize what happened if crimes are committed.
List of Cons of the Right to Bear Arms
1. High Costs
Usually, when you purchase a concealed gun permit to validate your ownership, it can be very costly. The said permit is not going to be free and can vary in prices in different states.
2. Irresponsible Gun Behavior
The Right to Bear Arms certainly includes a few flaws, such as in the case where the gun gets into the wrong hands like children who just do not understand how to use or manage it. As a consequence, accidents can happen. For a teenager, it might be a game, but it can kill in an instant. Aside from this, a gun can even be dangerous to older people, which is often observed if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even those who are known to be responsible can make the mistake of using a firearm when intoxicated.
3. More Risk of Violence
According to research, people carrying a gun for self-defense were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than those without a gun in the same situation. This means that firearms may not be the most reliable and effective form of self-defense.
Furthermore, many people claim that adults with guns are often not adequately trained, and there are some states that do not even require a lot of training for concealed gun ownership. Most importantly, the power of controlling the way owners would utilize their guns exceeds this law’s range of concern. Individuals who are committed with physical and emotional stress tend to be more vulnerable to extreme self-consciousness and anger, which most probably lead to homicide.
4. Higher Crime Rate
In contrast to crime rate reports by pro guns, there is research that found the Right to Bear Arms can lead to a higher crime rate. According to the research personnel, it appears that “shall-issue” laws had increased aggravated assaults between 1977 and 2006. Interestingly, reports about the connection between firearms and crime seem to contradict each other, but in one certain report, such laws increased rates of violent crime, rape and robbery.
In addition to crime, some even argue that firearms can increase suicide risk. In fact, in 2005, more than half the number of all suicides in the country involved a firearm. Not only do people believe that firearms can increase crime, but they also think that these guns can also increase suicide.
5. Nervous People Around
Many people claim that armed citizens are making other people very nervous, where there were reports that scared citizens were informing the police about suspicious people who are looking armed with a handgun. Also, some of them claim that it is difficult for the authorities to tell or distinguish normal responsible citizens who have legal firearms from criminals with firearms.
6. Armed Criminals
In contrast to how armed citizens will deter criminals from attacking them, there is the idea on armed citizens can encourage criminals to arm themselves . Criminals would arm themselves so that they can threaten armed citizens which in effect would deter them from resisting the attackers.
7. Danger and Lethality
One big issue with firearms is that they sometimes can be dangerous or can turn lethal, especially when a person is under the influence or intoxicated. Even adults who are responsible could make the mistake of having or using guns when intoxicated. In addition, the right to carry firearms can increase the chances of unintended shootings.
According to a study by Matthew Miller (PhD), Deborah Azrael (PhD) and David Hemenway (PhD), approximately 50 people are unintentionally shot every day in the US, and children under 14 years old die every other day from unintended gunfire. As you can see, even with responsible law abiding citizens owning guns, there can be a lot of tragic accidents if guns are not restricted.
The Right to Bear Arms has become a controversial section under the Bill of Rights that concerns the enforcement or prevention of acts that restricts people from keeping gun possession or complete a ban from owning one. The Second Amendment’s function is to guarantee people with their right to bear arms is limited. There are lots of federal laws that prohibit the ownership of guns and other firearms. The concerns about this law under the Bill of Rights greatly contradict several federal laws which, in this case, continue to be a controversial issue. Since the belief of one individual to another is different, we have to understand why some of us desire to carry weapons while others do not. Whether you are in favor of carrying weapons or not, you should determine its influence on your society. And to protect its citizens, a country would make its government officials to often prohibit carrying illegal firearms.
You should know that obtaining firearm ownership legally conveys a personal thought of both defending and protecting yourself, keeping you safe from offensive attacks. Remember that self protection is the basic unit of national protection, but though you are enjoying this right, abuse is possible to break other laws. Thus, a sense of responsibly obeying underlying rules that makes up this law and a measure of self control must always be exercised.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.