Staff Editorial: The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution says: “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.” From its inception, the Second Amendment has allowed well-trained civilians to be less reliant on the military and law enforcement to defend themselves during times of emergency. 

Las Vegas. Parkland. El Paso. Dayton. Mass shootings in the United States have been on the rise since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Why? The National Rifle Association, or the NRA, prevents any gun control legislation, allowing anyone to own a gun, even those with malicious intent. The organization advocates for the individual’s right to bear arms. It plays a key role in shaping modern American politics, evident when former President Barack Obama tried to propose gun-control laws after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting but could not due to opposition from the organization. Though the NRA claims to support the Second Amendment, its advocacy is false. For instance, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action believes that “the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms for the defense of life and liberty.” By ignoring the ‘well-regulated militia’ part of the Second Amendment, the NRA misleads Americans into believing anyone can own a gun for any reason.

The loophole in the gun purchase system has been linked to the rise in mass shootings. If a background check is not done within three business days by the FBI, the customer is allowed to buy a gun without one. In 2015, this loophole allowed a white supremacist with a history of drug possession to purchase a gun that he used to kill nine people in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2017, the FBI failed to complete 3.59% of the 8.6 million background checks done in that year. 

A possible solution is to eradicate the three-day business rule and to pass a law similar to the one Australia has, where gun owners must have a ‘genuine reason to purchase arms’. Self-defense is not a genuine reason in Australia whereas in America it is the most common reason. Another potential solution is to regulate bullets rather than the arms themselves. This allows supporters of the Second Amendment to own guns and provides an obstacle to shooters, pleasing both parties of the gun control debate.

The flawed interpretation of the Second Amendment by the NRA has motivated untrained civilians to buy guns without background checks. We must modify the present system to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence.

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