The second amendment is a major topic of debate today. With mass shootings in recent weeks, The White House has been looking to limit the right to own guns. The President and those who look to impose more gun control believe that it will make a safer society. While their intentions may be good, the results of gun control policy can be disastrous. After mass shootings, many Americans can be scared into giving away their right to arm themselves, but Americans should fight the fear and hold onto their right to bear arms.
First, the right to own a gun allows for people to defend themselves and their homes. If you have a gun and someone tries to harm you, then you have a method to protect yourself. While police may be able to assist in some situations, most criminals do not wait around for them to show up. If someone breaks into your home, the police do not instantly know there is an intruder. A call must be placed, then a police officer must respond. On average it takes police 10 minutes to respond to a call. With a gun you have some method to defend yourself from a criminal, without a gun you are powerless to the criminal until police arrive. If someone is looking to do you harm, 10 minutes is a long time to wait. Having a gun allows you to defend yourself and those around you.
Second, guns equalize power. In a situation with no guns, then the biggest and strongest person is the most powerful. If the strongest person wished to do others harm, there would be nothing to stop that person. Guns equalize this imbalance, so long as you can pull the trigger you have just as much power as anyone else. If a large man wanted to rape a woman and neither is armed, she is relatively powerless to stop him. She can yell, scream and try to fight, but if no one else arrives she does not have the physical ability to stop him. If the woman is armed, then she does have the power to stop him, even if he is also armed. Guns allow anyone to match the power of others. Several studies have shown that potential rapists are stopped because a woman is either carrying or may be carrying a gun.
Third, prohibitions do not work. Looking to the prohibitions on drugs, alcohol and prostitution shows the ineffectiveness of these policies. Over time these prohibitions have shown to be ineffective in reducing the use of what they are trying to outlaw, and make the products more dangerous. Alcohol related deaths were worse under prohibition, than before prohibition. In areas where prostitution is legal STD rates are lower than where it is illegal. It will also be impossible for the government to enforce this prohibition, just like all of the others. People can print guns in their homes on 3D printers or make them with tools that are in many American homes. Remember the San Bernardino shooters also had pipe bombs and those are illegal. A prohibition on guns may keep some law abiding Americans from having guns, but people who will follow these law are unlikely to be the ones to use guns for crime. Those who wish others harm will ignore these laws. If someone is able to commit mass murder, then they are not worried about violating gun laws.
Last, private gun ownership allows citizens to fight off an oppressive government. When the President pushes gun control he is referring to the private ownership of guns. He has never advocated for a policy that would limit the access to guns by government forces. In fact laws that ban or restrict gun use will require more law enforcement officers with more guns to enforce the gun laws. The worst atrocities that have been enacted in countries where private citizens were not allowed to own guns. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all banned privately owned weapons before slaughtering their own citizens. While violent revolutions are never good, people need to have the ability to defend themselves from their own government when necessary. The second amendment should be looked at as the final check on government power.
Many argue that the last point is incorrect. That having a few rifles and pistols will not keep the government from imposing its will on the people, however, this view is incorrect. History is filled with examples of people who are able to fight off a more advanced government army. Look to the American Revolution as one example. You can also look to American interventions in the Middle East. Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan armed, mostly with AK-47s, have been able to fight off the American Army, Air Force and Marines for 15 years. I have to believe the 150 million Americans that own weapons will be able to defend themselves when, 10,000 Al Qaeda members have been able to do so.
Guns are tools just like any other object humans use. Hammers, knives and shovels have all been used to murder people, but we do not advocate banning any of these. This is because there is no political benefit to banning these items. Bad people do bad things with guns, just as bad people do bad things with any other object. If we want to stop mass shootings and create a safer country, then we need to look at what causes bad people to do bad things. Banning guns will not stop bad things from happening. Banning guns will keep law abiding citizens from having the ability to defend themselves.