The Benefits of 2nd Amendment Rights on American Society
The following is part of the In Defense of Freedom essay series by Northwood University students.
The second amendment has commonly been described as the defender of all other amendments that allow us to live as a free society. Though over the past few decades we have seen more attempts than ever by our own government to strip away our rights by means of censorship, privacy infringements, regulation of the free markets, and possibly the most crucial of all, gun control. Gun control is a dangerous precedent for our nation and the reasons argued for it are not valid.
An armed civilian population is crucial to maintaining a limited government and protecting the lives of the people. The most notable example of this is when you look at Germany under control of the Nazi regime. One of the first things that
the Nazi party did when they took power was disarm all opposing groups and most notably the Jewish population. They first started by denying any further issuance and revoking gun permits
to and of Jews or other so-called undesirables
in 1933. The Nazi party then ordered in 1938 for the Gestapo, which was the name for Nazi law enforcement, to seize all firearms from the Jewish population (Halbrook, 2013). Any Jew found in possession of a firearm would be punished with
20 years in prison, but this almost always ended in death as over 6 million were killed until the Nazis were defeated. This was the final step that made resistance of Nazi tyranny almost zero and allowed the atrocities against German minorities in WWII to occur to their fullest extent. Another more recent example is that of the fall of Venezuela to socialism. Venezuela used to be one of the most prosperous nations in the western hemisphere up until the 1990s. Since then, the country rapidly declined after then-dictator Hugo Chavez took power in 2001 and began implementing socialist policies.
In 2012 Chavez enacted the Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law that forcefully seized firearms from over 12,500 citizens.
Anyone now found in possession of a firearm could face up to 20 years in prison. Since then, homicide rates in the nation have skyrocketed from just under 10,000 deaths in 2012 to over 28,000 in 2018 making it the highest homicide rate worldwide that year (McKay, 2018). The U.N. reported that Venezuelan law enforcement in that same year killed 5,287 people according to the United Nations most of which were with intent to neutralize political opposition. (Cumming-Bru1ce, 2019)
An armed civilian population also guarantees that we will never be successfully invaded by foreign adversaries because it is very difficult to identify and destroy your target without collateral damage. As of 2017 according to Pew Research Center, nearly 30% of the adult U.S population owned a firearm and there were estimated to be around 393 million civilian-owned firearms in circulation. From our own history, it can be seen the successes of this with the original 13 colonies of the United States when we successfully seceded away from the Monarchy of Great Britain. At the time of the 1770’s, Great Britain had the largest empire on the planet and the most powerful military in the world. The colonies on the other hand were mere farmers who had organized and armed themselves together to fight for their freedom. We utilized Guerilla warfare against the organized and unmistakable red-coated British army to balance the odds though, which in the end won the revolutionary war. Despite winning our freedom this way, we have also been on the other side of the story with our longest ongoing war in the middle east against terrorist organizations. The United States now has the largest and most technologically advanced military on the planet yet has been unable to eradicate the threat even with these groups being armed with cold war era small arms weaponry and improvised explosives. Now imagine a possible foreign adversary attempting to invade our country with an armed population of over 75 million. This combined with our military is the best defense to ensure that the only way will ever fall is from within.
Now a common misconception and reason for why many support further gun control is the fallacy that America has a rampant and out of control gun violence issue. That is far from the truth. According to 2019 studies by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there were nearly 40,000 deaths due to gun violence in the U.S., but of those deaths 25,000 were suicides which cannot be justified as gun violence as it is self-inflicted. Another 1,000 of those deaths were due to a mix of law enforcement encounters and accidental discharges which brings the number of real gun violence deaths which is that of homicide down to 14,000. That comes out to roughly 4 deaths per 100,000 people. In comparison, heart disease was 200 deaths per 100,000, car accidents were 52 per 100,000, and falling accounted for 11 deaths per 100,000. Are we going to ban things like junk food, automobiles, and stairs because of these deaths? If not, then why should we do the same for guns? From this, it can clearly be seen that the U.S. does not have a gun violence problem that warrants taking away the rights of the 75 million U.S. adults that lawfully own a firearm.
Another reason why many people advocate for gun control is that they believe it will make our society safer. The truth is the polar opposite. According to the CPRC (Crime Prevention Research Center), around 90% of all mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. This is because criminals won’t look at a sign that says gun-free zone and turn around, they see it as
an opportunity to kill innocent people with the least resistance possible. It is likely that these mass shootings would not occur or would not be put into the category of mass shootings if law- abiding citizens were allowed to practice their second amendment rights in these areas. In fact, a study ordered by the CDC in 2013 to the National Academics Institute of Medicine found that there is a minimum of 500,000 defensive gun uses in the United States each year and that number could be as high as 3 million. The number is so broad because there is not a definitive database on the matter because most uses of guns defensively go unreported to official databases and often the gun is not even fired as the presence of one is enough to prevent an altercation (Swearer, 2020). An example of the use of a firearm to prevent evil is that of the attempted church shooting that occurred in Fort Worth Texas in December 2019. At the church, a would-be mass shooter pulled a sawed-off shotgun from his jacket. He shot one member of the church and critically injured another who later died, but he was swiftly taken out by another church member named Jack Wilson with a single shot from his concealed handgun. It can be seen from the video that a total of five church members were armed at the scene, one of which was one of the men killed by the criminal shooter. Several more people would have undoubtedly died if it were not for these brave men who armed themselves to protect their church from evil (Madani & Stelloh, 2019).
It can be confidently stated that the pros that second amendment rights have on American society far outweigh the cons. These are the undeniable reasons why we must stop the tyrannical idea of restricting the second amendment rights of American citizens so we may retain our God-given freedom of self-defense for our friends, family, and fellow Americans.