The Paradox That Is Gun Control

Gun control has been a contention filled debate for nearly a century. Staunch supporters firmly stand on the grounds of the “individual rights theory”. This theory precludes that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Those who would oppose frequently stand on the “collective rights theory”. This theory precludes that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right. In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in United States v. Miller (307 U.S. 174). The Court adopted the “collective rights approach”. This enabled legislators to regulate sawed off shotguns.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court revisited the issue in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290). The plaintiff in Heller challenged the constitutionality of the Washington D.C. handgun ban. This challenged the precedent set by United States v. Miller (307 U.S. 174) nearly 70 years prior. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Heller in a 5-4 decision. It was proclaimed that the Second Amendment established an individual right for U.S. citizens to possess firearms and struck down the D.C. handgun ban. Similar cases followed, such as the 2010 decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521). The plaintiff in McDonald challenged the constitutionally of the Chicago handgun ban, which prohibited handgun possession by almost all private citizens. In a 5-4 decisions, the Court, citing the intentions of the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment, held that the Second Amendment applies to all of the states through the incorporation doctrine.

Despite these Supreme Court rulings, the opposition still attempts to stand the grounds of the “collective rights theory”. Suggesting that these rights were only meant to apply to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. I would note that the Second Amendment also states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. I would take this to mean that any firearm legislation is a violation of the Second Amendment. Ultimately, my interpretation of the Second Amendment is neither here nor there. Let’s take a look at the facts. Research from the Crime Prevention Resource Center indicates that 94% of mass shootings have occurred in “gun free zones”. Gun free zones are referred to as “soft zones” for a reason, they are vulnerable. You will hear gun control advocates say that federal gun research has been stymied for years because of Congress, the U.S. has a high rate of homicide compared to other nations, and guns make suicide easier. Then you have the ever present argument, that the United States has more “gun related deaths” than any other Country per 100,000. While these statements contain an element of truth in the numbers, they are overall factually incorrect. The opposing narrative omits the many Countries that have more than double the gun related deaths of the U.S. deeming them to not have "similar socioeconomic circumstances”.

It is easy to build this narrative with an incomplete picture

A complete picture provides the real narrative.

The simple fact is, a firearm is nothing more than a tool. A person, if motivate enough, can make nearly anything a weapon. It is, at times, easier to blame the tool than it is to attempt to understand the motivations of the individual(s). Regulating firearms is not somehow going to prevent suicides. A person, determined enough, is going to take their own life. There exists this misconception that the law can somehow prescribe morals. This belief is emphatically wrong. Family, love, support, faith, empathy, and life experiences are what direct our moral compass. The war on guns is a misguided notion driven by a fear and a fundamental lack of understanding. Providing an avenue and structure to help identify and aide those who have lost their moral compass, this is the true battle.

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