No country in existence has produced a document so paramount to its citizens’ own autonomy as the United States of America and its framers did with the Constitution when it was ratified in 1787. The Constitution has stood the test of time as the supreme law of the land and with good reason. It gives us Americans, guaranteed, inalienable rights in which we solely own, that protect us against potential government infringement and tyranny.
The second amendment was written as one of the three civil protections for citizens that is supposed to be interpreted as it was originally written and not through a pragmatic lens. The colloquial interpretation is widely repeated as the “right to bear arms”, however it was formally written as, “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.”
If we look at this with the intent of translating it as it was written and evaluate the amendment on its own merits, the words “shall not be infringed” should stand out and warrant attention because of its intended insertion. The framers added the evergreen line as a countermeasure to fight off any deliberate attempt by governmental entities to restrict citizens of their civil protections.
The United States experienced two of its worst mass shootings within the last year. First, on Oct. 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock mowed down hundreds of people at a Las Vegas concert, killing 58 concert-goers and wounding many more, in what became the country’s worst mass shooting in history. Then, on Feb. 14 when lone gunman Nikolas Cruz perpetrated the worst high school mass shooting in the country’s history, killing 17 students and faculty, injuring 14 more, surpassing the mark set by the infamous Columbine High School mass shooting in the late 1990s.
In the wake of mass shootings, it is inevitable that we see some sort of call to action by victims, the general populace, the media or politicians. The Las Vegas shooting spurred politicians like California Senator Dianne Feinstein into action. The democratic senator proposed a bill titled the “Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act” following the mass shooting which would ban bump stocks, the tool used by the shooter Paddock, from being able to be purchased legally nationwide. Bump stocks use the recoil of the rifle to increase the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons.
According to the senator’s bill, it would close, “a loophole in the law that can be exploited to allow killers to fire at rates of between 400 and 800 rounds-per-minute.”
While these attempts by public officials at protecting American citizens are valiant, they may set a precedent and are without a doubt a slippery slope, possibly paving the way for stricter gun control without a foreseeable end.
Gun control is not the answer when it comes to minimizing gun fatalities. Mental health problems and the mishandling of these situations by local level agencies have a far greater impact in this country and play a bigger part in shootings than the weapons themselves.
Stoneman Douglas school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had been flagged as having mental health issues as far back as eighth grade and displayed characteristics that warranted mental health treatment. In an article by CBS News, it was reported that he denied treatment and was allowed to stay in school another 5 months, until he was removed just prior to the shooting for ‘unspecified behavior issues’.
On a less rational and perhaps purposefully misguided front, the media has done what they can to create hysteria and detour public thought. Following the Las Vegas massacre, news outlet CNN, who describes itself as, “the most trusted name in news”, attempted to conflate the idea that grenade launchers and suppressors were readily available and used in tandem with the heavily blamed bump stock. CNN produced and shared a video incorrectly showing how the bump stock worked, in an attempt to create a panic and to maximize personal advocacy in those who did not know the fundamentals behind the weapon attachments.
People are generally guided by personal animus following tragic events and understandably so. However, it is incumbent on us, as self-governing citizens of a sovereign nation to remain loyal to the documents allowing us to be so. While at the same time not allowing ourselves to be swayed by incorrectly backed narratives.
The second amendment of the Constitution has spared us the fate that many other countries have experienced under tyrannical authoritarian dictatorships. The framers of the Constitution prudently and earnestly injected the line, “shall not be infringed” into the second amendment to avoid any sort of government regulated gun control.
The purpose behind limiting gun control and sticking to constitutional originalism as written in the second amendment, is not for purpose of sport or even personal sustenance in the way of hunting. It is a measure to prevent government take over, whether or not it seems like a realistic possibility.