The Second Amendment and the right to possess a gun is vital to the American people. It is a crystallization of many beliefs and values the people of United States find important, and a historic legacy of the country’s past. However, the impact of guns on society is highly contentious, and the alarming amount of firearm-related crimes cannot be denied. The violence caused by the prevalence of guns presents the US with a harsh truth and an ever-present problem. It is vital that the country addresses the issues that come with widespread gun possession.
The United States constitution is a collection of many laws and principles that stand at the root of American society. They are able to secure the rights and freedoms of the nation’s people, and give them the protections necessary for prosperous life. In combination with other types of local and global legislation, they form a regulatory framework of the US. Amendments to the constitution were made in order to help it address emerging issues and rectify the mistakes of the past. Guns are connected with a variety of purposes, beliefs and ideals central to the American people.
The right to bear arms is one that is precious to many people in this nation, allowing them to feel more secure, or exercise their freedoms. However, the subject of gun use and availability is one deeply entrenched in discussions of violence, brutality and mass killings. The duality of guns in the American society is what makes them worthwhile to discuss, while also addressing the ability of most citizens to bear arms. This work will focus on discussing the second amendment, its connection with American identity, the issues associated with it and many other considerations. The main argument of the essay is that gun ownership, along with systematic issues with American society make guns too dangerous for the public. With the rise of harmful political ideologies, the availability of firearms endangers the lives of the majority and restricts their rights. In order to reduce the frequency of gun violence, it is necessary to enact social change and alter the way the population views guns.
Right to Bear Arms and the American Character
When comparing the United States of America to other nations, many would name the nation’s fascination with firearms as a notable point of discussion. Guns are something that has now became entrenched into the public consciousness, an ever-present consideration for many. In states where open carry is legal, this is even more the case. In some aspect, guns are the representation of personal responsibility, individualism, security and freedom – core values that America follows (“Difficult Questions – American Values,” n.d.). As shown by the existence and longevity of the Second Amendment, United States people find guns essential to their living and the character of the nation.
To own and use a gun, an individual must be sufficiently trained, taking upon themselves the burden of handling a potentially lethal weapon. The right to do that of one’s own free volition is important. Similarly, a gun often becomes a tool signifying the security of one’s own household, an ability to defend oneself from others. A focus on individualism and personal success can be seen in the need to protect one’s house, and further connected with firearms. In this way, the many core ideas that are brought up in American citizens are exemplified and amplified by gun ownership. The consideration of security often triumphs against others in this regard, as gun owners feel more safe in having the tools to protect their family. According to research, many gun owners report lessened feelings of fear, showing how the existence of weapons in open availability is conductive to people’s sense of security. Overall, all of the national values, a focus on individual achievement, responsibility and freedom is what makes guns so uniquely connected with United States. This, however, can be seen as both a benefit and a threat, depending on which issues are highlighted.
It is important to discuss and understand the influence the Second Amendment has, and it is vital to cover it in the news. Due to the lethality and danger of gun use, the widespread availability, accessibility, and culture surrounding guns becomes contentious. In order to recognize the inherent issues connected with arms ownership, it is necessary to talk about the many problems gun use has caused in the United States. News media presents a perfect vehicle for informing the public, presenting opinions and research of leading experts. By presenting people with information, it is possible to make more individuals question their beliefs regarding firearms.
Various types of gun violence are the primary issue of the second amendment, and an ever-present issue of American society. Throughout the years, the number of gun-related acts of violence has persisted. Guns provide a unique variety of ways to inflict pain onto others and oneself, offering a comparatively quick and especially lethal way to achieve one’s goals. According to scholarly research, guns tend to make violent encounters more likely to be fatal, causing loss of human life and tension (Braga et al., 2021). Current research notes that with the increase of variety in gun types and strengths, their ability to kill people quickly increases. This, coupled with the quick, long distance nature of gunshots makes them uniquely dangerous in any types of situations. Guns enable a wide range of violent acts, including mass shootings, accidents, suicides, criminal activity and in-family conflicts. Probably the most well-known type of violence in the US are school shootings, which keep occurring on a year-round basis. In 2022 alone, there have already been 95 instances of schootings, resulting in at least 40 deaths. This statistic is unique to the United States, with the nation regularly producing more than 10 times the amount of school shootings other nations do. Other forms of mass shootings are also prevalent, usually built on discriminatory basis, or bigoted beliefs.
Another notable type of violence produced by guns is suicides. While people all around the world commit suicides, the availability of guns in the US exacerbates the issue significantly. The availability of guns as a surefire way to end one’s life, coupled with their lethality makes many individuals successfully take their lives. According to statistics across the US, gun prevalence is positively correlated with the number of firearm-assisted suicides (Kleck, 2019). While acts of taking one’s own life lead the charts of gun-related violence, it is also important to consider the impact of guns on families. Guns are shown to enable close partner abuse and violence against vulnerable groups, such as women and children (Olufajo et al., 2021). Much research states that guns are much more likely to be used as a tool of controlling, threatening or subjugating one’s family members than a tool of protection. A number of studies have noted gun ownership as a factor in violence against women, and crimes performed on the basis of gender (Marganski, 2019). Even in cases where guns do not directly affect individuals, they have an ability to create a sense of danger and fear in individuals, affecting communities.
Gun Control and Government Involvement
From my perspective, guns should not be an integral part of today’s society. I feel that gun ownership, along with the concerns of personal protection, is something that should be left in the past. The dependence of guns puts the responsibility of one’s safety and wellbeing on the individual, allowing the government and other systems to ignore their role in preventing violence and crime. A focus on firearms takes away from the attempt of seeing society as a collection of interdependent systems and mechanisms, instead reinforcing notions of personal responsibility and individual rights. It should be noted that I am in no way opposed to individuals exercising their rights and freedoms as they see fit. However, it seems that when the freedoms of people hinge on their ability to wield catastrophically lethal weapons, the safety and security of others is affected as well. In order to promote the wellbeing of whole communities, encourage a culture of peace, collaboration and cooperation, it may be necessary to leave guns out of the public consciousness. However, I am aware that this view is not one many people are able to share, therefore I am willing to compromise on more tightly regulating gun use and availability.
As of the present moment, certain legislations exist to regulate people’s ability to get, or use guns. However, more can be introduced in order to make it more difficult to cause gun violence. According to material from RAND, legislation focusing on limiting gun storage, carry policies and gun use are among the primary ways America’s gun policy can be improved. By enacting changes that separate guns from the day-to-day lives of individuals, make it more difficult to access them, or make the public presence of guns lesser have the potential to be effective. I want government to thoughtfully and thoroughly control gun use, which I think would reduce the levels of brutality guns inflict significantly.
Social Safety Net
Another important consideration is how guns can be substituted in society. The need for guns as a widely available tool exists only as long as people do not feel secure enough in the power of their police, and do not trust their local community. To me, it seems that enabling more communities to live in safety and prosperity can be effective in mitigating gun issues and gun use. In many cases, gun use is prompted by desperation, one’s mental issues or exacerbating social factors. Therefore, the elimination of these factors from public consciousness can go a long way in solving gun crime. Providing individuals in distress the necessary pathways to mental wellbeing, addressing poverty and high crime rates, discrimination and other issues will reduce the need for individuals to rely on guns. Furthermore, social change of this magnitude will also be conductive to creating more healthy communities.
Systemic Issues and Their Relationship With Guns
Another aspect of gun use and gun violence that has been scarcely addressed thus far is its connection with white supremacy, discrimination and American exceptionalism. When one examines the actions of mass shooters, and the data on the subject, it becomes apparent that the majority of mass shooters are white men. Oftentimes, their crimes are driven by feelings of being persecuted “replaced”, “driven out of their country”, a sense of perceived danger or disdain for others. Religious communities and ethnic minorities that do not align with American Christianity are much more likely to become a victim of a shooting. According to current understanding, gun violence is intimately connected with white supremacist belief, and beliefs of American exceptionalism (“Racism and guns, and the threat to our communities,” 2022). Therefore, it stands to reason that this kind of culture must be challenged in order to reduce the number of gun crimes. By actively recognizing how discriminatory ideas and harmful ideas impact gun crime statistics, it is possible to challenge the problem at the root. It is vital to solve America’s issues with white supremacy to truly enact change.
In conclusion, it can be said that considerations of gun use and the second amendment are incredibly complex. In order to fully understand the implications of firearms on the lives of Americans, it is necessary to examine a wide range of statistics, research and think about the American culture itself. Guns have a long-standing relationship with the United States, being institutionally significant and vital to the national identity of many individuals. However, guns are also prone to leading to acts of violence, negatively affecting both individuals and communities. Gun use and the widespread availability of guns is capable of creating an atmosphere of tension, fear and escalate confrontations between people. According to many statistics, guns are responsible for mass killings and school shootings, along with a major part of suicides. It is necessary to address the overarching systematic issues that come with gun legislation in order to allow the American people to live more safely and healthily. By enacting stricter legislation, while also addressing the systematic problems underpinning gun violence, it may be possible to prevent more acts of firearm crime.
Braga, A. A., Griffiths, E., Sheppard, K., & Douglas, S. (2021). Firearm instrumentality: Do guns make violent situations more lethal? Annual Review of Criminology, 4(1), 147-164.
Marganski, A. J. (2019). Making a murderer: The importance of gender and violence against women in mass murder events. Sociology Compass, 13(9).
Olufajo, O. A., Williams, M., Ahuja, G., Okereke, N. K., Zeineddin, A., Hughes, K., Cooper, Z., & Cornwell, E. E. (2021). Patterns and trends of gun violence against women in the United States. Annals of Surgery, 273(6), 1115-1119.
Racism and guns, and the threat to our communities. (2022). Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Kleck, G. (2019). Macro‐level research on the effect of firearms prevalence on suicide rates: A systematic review and new evidence*. Social Science Quarterly, 100(3), 936-950.