Opinion: “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, Shall Not be Infringed”- Gun Control


By Marc Catalano|
Photos via Guns.com

Gun control has been a debated subject as long as the United States has been around, all based around the infamous Second Amendment, written in 1791, which states, “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.” Especially now, with mass shootings seemingly happening every month, the debate is more heated than ever, with both sides of the political spectrum sticking to their sides.

The left, Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, and others believe we need to reform our 2nd Amendment, saying that it only applied to muskets while the right, Republicans, Conservatives, and others quickly point out the “Shall not be infringed.” part of the Amendment.

So what are the arguments being made? Well, here are the biggest ones, and what both sides’ opinions on the matter are.

One of the biggest, and most hotly debated, is that the 2nd Amendment only applied to muskets, the only gun available at the time. This is mostly a leftist argument, as they say, that guns are a lot more advanced, and

Common Musket Used in the American Revolution

the Founding Fathers didn’t know they would ever exist, especially since muskets took about 3 minutes to reload, 1 if you were really good.

That’s well and good, but what is the counter-argument? Well, the counter-argument partially destroys this entire argument. The most common counter-argument is that there were other guns at the time, and they are right. According to the Girandoni Air Rifle Wikipedia article, one of the fastest guns in the world when the 2nd Amendment was written was the Girandoni air rifle created circa 1779, a whole 12 years before the 2nd Amendment.

Girandoni Air Rifle

To dismiss any potential arguments, the Girandoni rifle was used in the U.S. as early as the 1800’s by Lewis and Clark on their expedition. The Girandoni rifle had a 22 round magazine, a 30 shot air reservoir, and the first shot was more powerful than the average musket.

Also according to the Wikipedia entry on the Brown Bess, there was also the Brown Bess musket with a .75 caliber round, for those who didn’t know anything over .50 is restricted by the U.S. government. So, before you try to use this argument, remember these facts.

The next one is the argument that the 2nd Amendment should be updated with the times, and we need stricter gun laws. This one is more-or-less the general statement for the musket argument. With all the shootings going on in the past year, people have been demanding stricter laws on obtaining guns and banning them.

The most prominent one is the banning of automatic and semi-automatic guns. Sadly, this argument is only used by the uninformed, as automatic guns have been banned since 1935. Furthermore, comparing an automatic and semi-automatic weapon is like comparing pasta to a burger. Yes, they are both food, but they are completely different in every other way.

Automatic weapons can fire multiple shots by holding down a trigger, while semi-automatic weapons fire once per trigger pull. If a ban on semi-automatic firearms existed, the only guns U.S. citizens could use would be pump action. Some people go as far as requesting a total ban on guns in the U.S., but they aren’t too well informed either. A man once said, “To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens” which makes sense when you think about it. But who was this wise man? Why it was no other than the Nazi Leader Adolph Hitler. Now, just because he was a terrible person doesn’t mean his thoughts aren’t relevant or accurate. No, I am not saying Hitler’s belief that all Jews should die is accurate, but his belief on gun control is. His quote still applies to today, especially with ISIS being a major threat.

Another argument is that guns kill people, and we need stricter laws to prevent people from getting them. They are quick to bring up the shooting in Texas and how a clearly deranged man was able to get his hands on a firearm. Yet again, they don’t have all the facts.

Devin Patrick Kelley, the perpetrator, tried several times to legally obtain a firearm but failed the background check.  He was only able to obtain one when he used illegal methods. What laws would have changed that? It’s already illegal as is.

As for the guns kill people argument, they don’t. It is people that kill people. Sure guns are a part of it. No one is denying that, but they can’t kill people without a person aiming and pulling the trigger. What we do need is more enforcement of the pre-existing laws, to limit the amount of illegal activity that goes on.

The third and final argument, in this article, is that the 2nd Amendment only applies to the military. People state that the second amendment only applies to the military because the 2nd Amendment says,”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,” obviously highlighting the “A well regulated Militia” part. However, they look past the commas, which is understandable. Notice the comma between “free state” and “the right of the people” separating them, it may as well just be an “and”.

Furthermore, a militia is not the normal army, by definition, a militia is “A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency,” or “a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.” Those parts are bolded for a reason. A militia is a group of citizens, typically in opposition to the army. So, saying the 2nd Amendment only applies to the military because it says “militia” is just incorrect.