Second Amendment Struggles

I have a friend whose farm gets ravaged by wild pigs. Seriously. He can’t plant anything without the fear of losing his profit margin. He owns an AR-15 with a silencer so that he can destroy as many of them in a single night hunt as possible. I fully support his right to do so.

Yet it incenses me that a person like Nikolas Cruz purchased an AR-15 faster than he could have gotten a prescription for Prozac. Things have changed since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. Our interpretations of other facets of the Bill of Rights have been fluid. We infer the right to privacy based on readings of the first, third, fourth, and fifth amendments. There was certainly no call to Mirandize suspects in 1791. It stands to reason that the Second Amendment should bend a bit as well. Yet purists cling, as purists will, to the notion that they ought to be able to own and discharge any weapon that the government keeps for itself.

That’s a prescription for one school shooting after another.

We regulate who can drive motor vehicles of all sorts. We monitor closely anyone who has a prescription for pseudo-epinephrine. Nobody can buy a house without getting a loan, or having sources for a cash purchase scrutinized. In the interest of public safety, isn’t it time that we figure out how to make the acquisition and use of firearms safer for all?

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18 Responses to Second Amendment Struggles

  1. August Andre says:

    Comprehensive gun control needs to be implemented and improved upon in the United States. Too many lives have been lost that could have been avoided if guns were kept out of the wrong hands. A popular counter argument I hear is that, “Criminals will always have access to guns. They are in fact, criminals.” My response to this includes many subject ideas: the ban of military grade weapons, mental health, wait periods,as well as legislative actions to make guns less easy to purchase.

  2. Anna Grace Dulaney says:

    “Gun control” has become such a trigger phrase. Many avid gun users and Second Amendment enthusiasts seem to equate the phrase with no guns at all and an all-powerful government. I agree with you that your friend should be able to defend his property. However, I do not think he should have been able to acquire an AR-15 to do so. There is no way for a gun seller to choose who they are going to sell an automatic weapon to in a fair way, so I think the biggest step that needs to be taken in gun control is the elimination of automatic weapons for private ownership. A person selling an automatic weapon has no idea what that person plans on doing with it, even if they are simply trying to protect their farm.

  3. Liz Huynh says:

    I completely agree with your sentiments. The majority of people pushing for gun control have no intention of erasing the 2nd Amendment, they simply want a tighter regulation of firearms. What really dismayed me is the lack of action that our government is taking to tackle this problem.

    After a school shooting in 1996, Britain pursued a legislative ban on assault rifles and handguns and tightened background checks for other types of firearms. The result is the low gun homicide rate in England and Wales of one for everyone 1 million people. That’s about 50 to 60 gun killings annually compare to US’s 8,124 gun homicides alone in 2014.

    Lori provided us with extensive research that states with higher rates of gun ownership correspond to a higher rate of shooting homicides. Extensive background check, gun safety courses, limit number of weapon owned, or tighter gun regulation would help reduce further homicides. Getting a gun’s license should be harder than obtaining a driver license because the purpose of a gun is to kill. Another contradicting detail is that an 18-year-olds can freely obtain a tool for killing before liquor.

    Although I’m against the complete ban of firearms because the possession of weapons does ultimately give citizens of a country power against the unjust government that controls the military, I do believe that firearms should be significantly restricted and regulated.

  4. Evan Bridges says:

    I believe that there should be more restrictions and requirements for those looking to purchase a firearm. It also wouldn’t hurt if those who own one were more likely to practice with it and know how to operate it safely. However, I do not support a ban on “assault style” weapons. I believe that we as citizens should be able to hold military grade weapons to defend our nation from domestic and foreign aggression. I do think however that access to such weapons should not be given lightly. There should be rigorous background checks and perhaps required training to purchase such weapons. They should not be permanently banned from citizens though.

  5. Samantha Anderson says:

    I totally agree with the point you make, Dr. Easterling. It is not the fact that guns should be completely off limits, but there should be some sort of procedure necessary to get one. This procedure needs to be an efficient safety measure so that the owner is not a risk to others. Also, like driver’s licenses, there needs to be a renewal of this license to make sure that there wasn’t some drastic change that makes that person owning a gun more of a risk now then when they got their license. These measures should look into background, motive behind buying a gun at that point in time, mental health, and age. If these proper measures are taken and more that I probably couldn’t think of on my own, then I feel like there could be a safe and effective way for people to ow firearms without causing harm to others.

  6. Kendra Bradley says:

    The debate on which kinds of guns should be available to the everyday citizen can continue on. I can understand there are pros and cons to each side of that argument. What frustrates me are those that actually argue against regulations. My first gun was bought for me at a Walmart with an ID check and nothing else. Not even a background check. My mother bought a gun at a gun show without even that. Both guns are legal. The shooter in Florida owned a gun legally, even though he had been reported to the FBI, had a history of aggressive tendencies, and had even told everyone on his social media that he planned to shoot the school. Yes, criminals will still break laws to get their guns. But should we make it so easy and convenient? If they’re going to go on a killing spree, should we not at least create a little resistance in their path? The only ones that should be complaining are the ones that fear they may not be fit to own their guns. I think a start would be at least one mandatory mental fitness assessment and three, spaced out safety courses. That way, there must be some accountability for their mental health, and, if in a fit of rage, one cannot buy a gun and go kill. There would have to be some premeditation to finding a gun.

  7. Loveish Sarolia says:

    Gun control is commonly misconstrued as yet another way the government is trying to control us. But it’s not a ploy, I hope, it’s just a way to control the violence that is currently occurring on a daily basis. Sadly, the same people who spread the message to pray for the victims are often the same people who promote the second amendment. Can we as a country learn that gun control is necessary to ensure that more events such as the one in Florida do not become a repeated event? Probably not, but if we are able to restrict the accessibility of guns to suspicious characters then we should be safer than we previously were.

  8. Indeed, you have a right to bear arms, but because you have that right, does not mean to exercise it so ruthlessly and recklessly. If you trying to defend your property, then by all means bear your arms to do so; however, if you are bearing arms to kill a school full of children and adults, you deserve to be locked up and beaten. You are taking lives from innocent children that had their whole lives ahead of them. How would like it if you had a kid in school and some subliminal psycho comes shooting up your child’s school and killing him or her? This is not a joke. People should know their rights and when to exercise them when necessary.

  9. Kerrigan A Clark says:

    With as many gun related crime and mass shootings that happen in the United States, guns should be regulated. As you said, it is too easy for a person to just go out into the world and buy a gun. No question of what it is used for, background and mental health check-ups or anything. I believe that people do have a right to protect themselves, but sellers of guns and especially the government has a responsibility to the rest of the public to help regulated the buying and usage of guns in our country. But with that being said, you can also look at do we really need guns, if there was ratification of the Bill of Rights that said that the right to own a firearm was illegal then how would the world be then? I once went to a country where not even the police carried guns and they were doing just fine. They were prospering and crime and gun violence was limited. If we set ourselves up in a situation were maybe we won’t have guns, will the country be a better place or will a better and more efficient black market for guns arise?

  10. Sabrina Solomon says:

    I personally have never owned, fired, or even held a gun. My house has no guns in it. This is not to say that I don’t think that there is a need for guns in order to protect. I just think that having possession of a gun gives more reason to use it. Guns bring in deer during deer season and ducks during duck season. There are alligators to hunt and people to protect. Gun control is hard to regulate, but there at least should be more regulation to assault rifles such as the AR-15. Look at all of the top news mass shootings. They all have the AR-15 in common. Maybe the age and the reason should play more of a factor in allowing the sale of a gun.

  11. Thet sould change gun control. Limit it like england. England has some of the toughest gun control in the world. The only thing is that if people want to hurt people they will. England still has violence except it bomb threats The worst being on public trans port systems. It isnt that the gaurds wherent trained or people knew it was happening. It was just that people wanted to hurt someone and they did.

  12. Chanclinique Hairston says:

    It’s hard to say when someone can’t and can buy firearms considering the different scenarios faced in everyday life. One example being domestic violence. In these situations women are mostly if not always easily overpowered and I feel that they should have that ability to protect themselves if need be. Personally i don’t feel that the guns should be held responsible for the school shootings yet the actions leading up to it should be.When we learn to address the real problem we can possibly save more lives. Most people who shoot up schools have emotional/ mental situations that has been untreated or overlooked. You never know how someone is feeling or dealing with at home. Being nice or just simply friendly goes along way. Yet these are the people who get bullied and picked on daily just for being themselves or not being like others.

  13. Grace-Anne Beech says:

    Gun control and the second amendment have been an ongoing debate the United States for ages now. However, a lot of the people who are against gun control do not actually understand what it is. They assume that gun control means that people want the government to take away all guns, but this is not actually true. Right now, the call is for more regulation in the process of buying a gun. Nikolas Cruz, who could not legally drink or rent a car, could walk into a store and buy more than ten shotguns and an abundance of ammunition without question. Nikolas Cruz, who had a history of violence, could walk into a store and buy an AR-15 with no question. It shocks and angers me that legislation has no already been put in place to change this. As of February 15, 30 mass shootings have occurred in 2018. 53 people have died in mass shootings in 2018; more people have died then there have been days this year. Still, though, there is no legislation to put regulations in place. Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, there have been 239 school shootings in the United States, but still no regulations in place to prevent mentally ill or unstable people from purchasing guns. This needs to change. People who are against these regulations argue that guns will just be replaced with knifes or other similar weapons, but I doubt Nikolas Cruz could have killed 17 people in six minutes with a knife. People argue that there will still be ways to buy guns without a background check, and honestly, they’re probably right. However, since Australia put regulations on the purchase of a gun in 1996, they have had no mass shootings. Britain has had one mass shooting since regulations were put in place in 1987. These statistics show that these regulations would help reduce the mass shooting rate in the US.


  14. Lori Feng says:

    Alrighty, let me attempt to tackle this insanely complicated issue. My general opinion on this issue is that it needs a multi-pronged approach, and gun violence is such a multidimensional issue; it makes it harder to actually make positive change.

    One major point that needs to be addressed is that with legalization should come regulation. Considering the number of school shootings and just general gun violence that has occured over the past few years, it shocks me that legislators really aren’t taking any action. Mississippi recently passed a bill that would allow Mississippians to sue businesses, universities, and other institutions if those institutions do not allow them to bring their guns with them. The president of MSU is understandably angered by this new bill, as he worries about the safety of future of football games and other sporting events. It also appalls me that Florida legislators rejected a gun control bill in the face of school shooting victims. Perhaps the bill did not address the gun violence issue in the most efficient way. If this is the case, then Florida legislators need to be currently drafting another bill that addresses the issue. Either way, change is needed.

    A multi-pronged approach to gun control needs to be put in place. Liberals and Republicans are both right when they say that gun control and improved mental health institutions should be addressed. Both political parties need to come to come to a conclusion and stop disregarding the other party’s opinion because they are both valid. The Australian gun control model included a gun buyback program, but it showed poor results in the United States, because the US has weaker mental health institutions and because there are many more gun owners in the US. Both of these issues need to be improved upon.

    At the same time, a 2013 study by in the American Journal of Public Health showed that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm related homicides. Currently, around 20 percent of gun owners buy guns without a background check, and this number undoubtedly needs to decrease. Background checks for private gun sales are another possible solution, but a 2016 study found that guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners.

    In a way, the Second Amendment allows gun rights activists to avoid advancing plausible arguments, as they can easily just turn to the text. Then, gun control advocates have to find hypothetical and hypocritical arguments in an effort to stay within the 2nd amendment limits. Maybe it is time to rethink the Second Amendment, but it is definitely time to take action.

  15. Kaelon McNeece says:

    The notion that the government is trying to “take away our guns” has become so repeated and worn down and it incenses me. Dr. Easterling brought up a line of thinking that is resoundingly logical and forms the core of my thought process. With so many other regulations placed on other products that can influence people and possibly cause damage to others, so what is wrong about ensuring people that can handle firearms safely are the only ones holding them? It isn’t a ploy to make sure no American ever has a gun, rather, it is just a mission to protect the American people without taking the property of people that can responsibly handle their own weapons.

  16. Brianna Leigh Ladnier says:

    Japan should become a standard for gun control.
    A common misconception in the US is that gun control=no access to firearms. However, in Japan, you can own a gun. You can own a gun that can protect yourself, hunt, bring peace of mind, or whatever else you like it for.

    I won’t explain facts half-hazardously, so please watch this before reading the rest of my comment:

    In Japan, gun control works as well as giving a citizen access to a gun. Although our cultures are different, I think this is definitely a step in the proper direction.

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