Argumentative Essay: Gun Control Violates The Second Amendment of the Constitution
Length: 977 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
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The Second Amendment to the Bill of rights of the United States Constitution 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." In order to understand that right, the modern reader must understand the semantics of the eighteenth century. The term "Well Regulated" meant well trained according to James Madison, the principle author of the Constitution. The term militia, according to the Militia Act of 1792, referred to all able-bodied male citizens. The meaning then of the Second Amendment is made quite clear. It is meant to serve as a chain upon the government to prevent the infringement of government power upon the Civil Liberties of Americans. Further proof of this can be seen in a quote from George Madison. "I ask, Sir, What is the Militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." (George Madison, Three Elliot, Debates at 425-426). Richard Henry Lee, in his Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer of 1788 stated, "A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves.and include all men capable of bearing arms." Title Ten section 331 of the U.S. code states "The Militia of the United States consists of all able bodied men at least seventeen years of age."
The founding fathers of the United States believed that government is a necessary evil. They wrote the Bill of Rights, as stated earlier, to serve as a chain, which would limit government power over its citizens. Civilian ownership of firearms would, in the founding fathers' view, be the " American Peoples' liberty teeth." (George Washington). This is to say that, despite attempts by some hypothetical future government to impose a tyranny, the American people would be able to resist it without armed force. The same founding fathers had only thrown off the yoke of tyranny during the revolution. They knew full well the value of an armed citizenry in fighting off tyranny. The minutemen assembled at Lexington and Concord to prevent the Royal Fusiliers from seizing the munitions of the militia as General Gage had ordered (Order of General Gage, April 18,1775).
Further proof of the original intent of the founding fathers can be seen in a quote from Thomas Jefferson. "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best form [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." (Thomas Jefferson, Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge-1788). George Washington stated, " government is not reason; it is not eloquence, it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a feraful master." In this quote, Washington summarized the mistrust that the founding fathers had in government. He realized that government could, like a fire, get out of control. Patrick Henry stated," Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approached that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun."
Advocates of gun control state that control of firearms would prevent crime. This statement is flawed. According to the Uniform Crime Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the cities with the highest crime rates are also the cities with the strictest gun control laws. (F.B.I. Uniform Crime Reports, 1994). In Washington D.C., it is almost impossible for a civilian to own firearms, yet it is universally seen as the murder capital of the United States. Vermont, a state where civilians do not need a license to carry firearms, has the best crime rate in the nation. Since Texas recently liberalized its concealed carry laws, crime rates have dropped 8.5 percent. (Gary Kleck, Florida State University, 1996).
With these facts in mind, one is forced to ask the question of what the ulterior motive of gun control advocates really is. According to the Civil Rights group, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, every major genocide has been preceded by a wide ranging gun control law. For example, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Turkish government in 1915. Just four years earlier, article 166 of the Penal Code prevented common citizens from bearing arms. During the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union, an estimated 20 million citizens were killed by their own government. They were prevented from owning firearms by article 182 of the Penal Code. The Nazi Weapons Law of March 18,1938 was the law that prevented their victims from owning firearms. Interestingly, the U.S. 1968 Gun Control Act is almost a word for word translation of that particular document. It is an arguable point that the Nazis would never have attacked these people had they been armed. Proof of this is illustrated by the fact that Nazi Germany never invaded Switzerland despite having occupied the rest of Europe. The Swiss people are free to own and carry any firearm they choose.
Gun control, therefore, can be looked at as a tool by which tyrants have historically taken power. With a historic perspective, the modern reader can make a more informed statement when asked for his or her opinion. In light of recent government infringements of the Constitution, as at Waco, Texas in 1993 or Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992, the modern reader must ask whether or not the founding fathers fears were well grounded.