Since the founding of the United States, the fundamental right to bear arms has been instrumental for U.S. citizens. With the evolution of social norms and technology, the public perception of firearms has changed drastically. The controversy that revolves around firearms in America today is whether or not they should be privately owned and how easily obtainable they should be for any one individual.
Currently, the Department of Justice reports that one in three Americans owns at least one firearm, a percentage much higher than in any other country. Having an environment where firearms are commonplace creates a unique atmosphere for the U.S. The role firearms serve for private citizens can be boiled down to three main components: fundamental rights, personal protection, and recreation.
The right for citizens to keep and bear arms is given by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and it is explicit that this right shall not be infringed. However, as with all written law, there is room for interpretation and a balancing act must be performed to maintain this inherent right for the people. Firearms cannot be as easily accessible to the public as a candy bar, but law-abiding citizens willing to purchase a firearm should not have to bend over backwards either.
The legalities of firearm possession is one of the more complex issues that exists in our society. Proponents of gun control want to make the process of obtaining firearms much more strict, but unfortunately, there is not a simple solution to the problem. According to a Department of Justice Survey, 77 percent of criminals involved in gun-related crimes obtained their weapon(s) either illegally or from a family member.
Every individual has the right to their own self-protection. Whether someone is in their own home or in a public space, people should not be restricted in their own ability to protect themselves. In a life-or-death situation, a person has seconds to respond in order for their actions to have an impact on the situation. Considering the time it takes to call 9-1-1, discuss the scenario with the operator, and wait for a response, it is clear that there are much faster ways to act in a situation. While it is obvious that we should not condone murder as a society, we cannot tell an individual that they cannot act out in self-defense if a perpetrator means them harm. It is important to consider that Individuals who wish to protect themselves with a firearm every day must go through specific training before they can legally carry concealed.
Since the dawn of mankind, the hunting of animals for food and supplies has been a part of our survival, and the tradition of hunting both for sport and subsistence is still carried on today across the globe. Although we like to think of humans existing in a realm separate from that of wildlife, this is simply not the case. We coexist within the same environment, despite the fact that we live inside a structure that the animal does not. Being a part of that ecosystem, our role as a hunter has always affected the population of wildlife, for better and worse, over the history of the planet. Today, it is crucial for humans to continue to play a role in regulating species populations with regulated hunting and other means. In the past few decades another form of recreation involving firearms has emerged. Leisure and competitive target shooting has become increasingly popular, especially in the U.S., and ranges from a family pastime to an Olympic event. Civilians should have the ability to engage in these sort of activities on their own accord, assuming that they have the legal capacity to own the firearms needed to partake in these types of recreational events.
Specifically, a controversial issue worth discussing is the perceived rise in mass shootings in our nation. In truth there has not been a rise but a decrease in gun violence over the past ten years, even with the rise of gun ownership in the United States. Gun owners and opposers both agree something needs to be done surrounding these mass shootings, but their reactions are very different. Politicians often make “knee jerk reaction” laws to these events in an attempt to prevent further shootings, and while this intention is valient, the response is possibly misplaced.Every law made as a reaction to mass shootings has not prevented any more from occurring, and the topic needs to be debated extensively rather than acted upon rashly.
There is substantial controversy surrounding firearms, especially within the past decade, and there will always be room for improvement in the legislation that regulates and restricts firearm distribution, ownership, and use. However, firearms have been a part of our country’s ways since its foundation and we must consider the ramifications of the decision to remove firearms from our lives altogether.