Viewpoint: A case for gun control

By on September 24, 2013
ForumOpinion

Monday was a terrible day. A mentally unstable gunman opened fire in the middle of Washington, D.C, taking the lives of twelve innocent people and was finally killed in a firefight with the police. A massacre on this scale, in the heart of the Capitol less than five miles from the White House, is unimaginable. It boggles my mind why, despite seeing shootings after massacres, we have yet to implement stricter gun control policies.

The most cited reason of the opposition for gun control is, of course, the Second Amendment. Proponents for guns tout their “right to bear arms” as guaranteed by the constitution as if it were a carte blanche for unrestricted possession of deadly weapons, from 9 mm pistols to fully automatic weapons. Any attempt to regulate guns is derided as tyrannical incursions into one’s natural rights.

But is it really the case? It seems to me that in the decades and centuries that have passed since the drafting of the Constitution, we have largely ignored and forgotten the rest of the Second Amendment. There is a rather important qualifier to the right to bear arms. The full text reads, “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.”

Though I disagree with the “States’ Rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment, which understands this amendment to give the states the right to form militias, but not to individuals to keep weapons, this amendment is definitely not a free-for-all guarantee. This amendment was born out of fears of a tyrannical government that left the people powerless to resist. The British, in the years prior to the revolution, had steadily removed the colonies’ abilities to defend and protect themselves. The Second Amendment was to guarantee that no state would ever again be powerless to resist an outside military.

Today, this militia is in the form of the National Guard. Of course, the National Guard does not render personal gun rights obsolete, but does it mean the individuals are still free to keep and bear whatever arms they would like? Think of terroristic, extremist groups or deranged gunmen. They have no interest in protecting the “security of a free state.” If anything, they only upset peace and security by the terror they spread amongst the people.

It there had been stricter gun controls, horrors like the Navy Yard shootings, Sand Hook, and Aurora would have never happened. Instead of fighting fire with fire, as proposed by gun rights proponents, we should instead quench the fire ever before it is allow to spread and become an inferno.

By Tianjiao Zhang

Staff Writer

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