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The Wrong Questions: A Case for Gun Control

By Clara Page

Last year, students around the United States walked out of their classrooms to demand safer schools. That is, to demand the gun control that has been promised so often and delivered so rarely. Since then, no major restrictions have been made. Why?

Often, this lack of forward movement is explained away via the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The famous quote, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” echoes through Capitol Hill. It permeates the consciousness of youth across the nation and becomes a cornerstone of most gun control debates.

It’s clear that this amendment makes regulation seem unconstitutional. But the question shouldn’t be: what laws can we slide past those freedoms? The question is: why do we insist on maintaining freedoms that are threatening American lives?

Thomas Jefferson himself argued not for stagnation of our governing documents, but rather for “each generation” to update the constitution “every nineteen or twenty years” and ensure it is “handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time.” (source) If the public needs guns control laws in order to protect their rights to life and the pursuit of happiness, the Constitution should adapt.

The idea that our Constitution is set in stone is archaic; the document has been changed many times before. When it was first conceptualized, it only extended suffrage to property-owning white men.

Gun control is, actually, a popular concept. 75% of Americans are in favor of stricter regulation. However, powerful lobbying groups (most notably the NRA) donate massive amounts of money to make guns more accessible.

An argument against gun control is that it is simply ineffective. However, examples from other countries disprove this statement. The United States is one of the only countries in the entire world to regulate arms so loosely, and our murder-by-gun rate is significantly higher than in other developed countries. Even in a country as geographically massive as Australia, which therefore has complicated logistical governance, gun control significantly decreased mass shootings.

After one terrible mass shooting, the Australian government instituted much stricter laws and even buybacks. From 1996 to March of this year, they never had another mass shooting. For reference, the United States has had more than 300 this year.

If gun control saves lives, is popular, and can be constitutional, then what really is the argument against it?


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