Jessica Maryland

Gun Rights V. Gun Restrictions

This letter is about needing gun rights within the U.S. and why gun restrictions do not work. Restricting guns will only cause more problems, leaving many people defenseless. I analyze different points of view, the Second Amendment, and different sources that go together to prove a point.

Dear future President,

     Congratulations on your victory for presidency. There are a lot of problems that I know you will be able to fix in America. One of theses issues is that gun rights should not be restricted. We the people deserve to be able to protect ourselves from harm's way. However, many Americans believe that there needs to be stricter gun policies in order to reduce homicidal crimes. They want to place more laws on the distribution and carry of guns. Their point of view is that by restricting guns, there will be fewer deaths caused by them.

     This, however, can be disproved by a February 2016 article published by Graphiq, where Alex Greer wrote about the “States with the Toughest Gun Laws.” California has the strictest gun policies in America, being ranked number forty-nine on the gun violence list. One of the laws in California even prohibit most assault weapons and high capacity magazines. They have about 2,000 gun deaths per year. That seems wonderful until you look at Texas’ statistics. An article published by KSAT in December 2015 written by Ryan Loyd on “Texas’ gun violence by the numbers,” compares Texas’ gun violence rates to California’s. In the statistics, Texas only had three more total shooting victims than California. Ryan stated that in most shooting incidents assault rifles were not even used, therefore making California’s law meaningless. Not only do gun laws fail to work in America, but they also don't make a difference to an entire country. On July 23, 2016 Rick Noack wrote an article, “Germany has some of the world's strictest gun laws, but illegal weapons remain a threat,” published by the Washington Post. The article states that "Germany has some of the world's strictest gun laws.” However an 18 year old man still carried out with a deadly shooting. Before this happened though, in 2002 and 2009 lawmakers passed stricter gun legislation making it hard to obtain illegal guns. This theoretically should have stopped the man from obtaining a gun illegally. If America were to restrict guns just like Germany, lawbreakers would only find a way to obtain an illegal gun. Besides, what is to stop them from creating even more illegal gun trades?

     Now that I have put into perspective why gun laws do not work, let me shed some light on the Second Amendment. There has been a lot of argument about what the Second Amendment truly means, especially whether it regards the military or the people themselves. The amendment 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." People opposing gun rights will argue that because the amendment starts off by saying "a well regulated militia" that the right to bear arms only applies to the military. However, according to historian Christopher Hamner in his 2015 article “American Resistance to a Standing Army,” he states, “all able-bodied men of certain ages were eligible for the militia. Individual towns formed local independent militias for their own defense.” This means there was no designated military at the time, and almost any man could fight for his town. Today our perspective of a military has changed. Yes, we have a standing body of people that defend the nation. However, since the amendment is focused on a body of protectors that were not designated at the time, it refers to the American people standing as a whole, being allowed to carry a weapon for the protection of themselves. Therefore any person today should have the right to bear arms for purposes of protection.

     As the president you have the power to influence not only the people, but congress. You can change how people view gun rights by doing multiple things. I did some research on ways you could influence society and found a couple options for you to decide from. Adrienne Lafrance wrote an article in 2015, “What Can Obama Do on His Own to Tighten Gun Control?” published by The Atlantic. All points listed in the article could be used in favor of gun rights as well. First, have the supreme court redefine what the second amendment truly means. Break down the facts, given the time period, and clarify that it means people have the right to bear arms. Second, speak from the oval office to address the issue on gun , or in some cases use executive power. Bring up points that matter like how criminals already break the law, so why would they stop for gun laws. They are already breaking one law, what stops them from breaking more? Also make sure to get agencies like the ATF involved. Since they regulate the sale and use of firearms, they are one step to making sure that people use them correctly.

    Future President, the American people need you to fight for our rights. Allowing people the right to bear arms protects our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some would say gun violence is denying others the right to live, which is why we need guns to protect our lives. We the people will not only be able to protect our own life, but the lives of others. We the people can defend the right of our freedom from the people that believe guns should be regulated. We the people can pursue happiness without fear of being defenseless against those who try to snatch it away. Since the colonies of America, there was the idea of we the people. Will you, future president, fight for for the rights that were bestowed upon us by the document that set the foundation of the people? Or, will you infringe what we need to protect America from the threats that overcome it.

      Thank you for taking your time to read my paper,

                                                                      Jessica Claman