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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Columns

Don’t let misinformation lead to gun control


Like many Americans, I watched as Democrats filibustered June 15 for more gun control in response to the Orlando terrorist attack.

While doing this and scrolling through Twitter, I realized that many people are unaware of the actual gun rights afforded to U.S. citizens. We can’t change laws and violate the Second Amendment, and the Constitution, based on fear and misunderstanding.

This isn’t just aimed at progressives. There seems to be a lot of conservatives who have forgotten the amendment they so love to try and protect.

One isn’t all

People think that just because there is a national feeling of being scared they can change laws to fit their agenda. The Second Amendment is clear in its purpose regardless of what year it is.

Constitutionally speaking, you do have an individual right to own a gun. Many Americans, including the senators who took part in the filibuster, wrongly believe that the Constitution gives a collective right to individuals.

The Second Amendment has “right of the people” in its second half. In all the amendments in the Bill of Rights — and, subsequently, the Constitution — the writers are referring to an individual right of citizens whenever they include this phrase.

A collective right is never established in the Second Amendment. Individuality is what makes the amendment significant.

As to why “well regulated Militia” was included when the amendment is an individual right, justification is your answer.

This was a common practice throughout 18th century America as many state constitutions included amendments that followed odd (to 21st century America) pattern. Section 20 of the original Rhode Island Constitution states, “The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state.”

This wording is not justification for gun control — it’s 18th century grammatical structure at work. The Framers weren’t saying the only reason to have guns is to be in the militia, they’re actually just writing well.

Government is the real danger

It’s impossible to appreciate the amendment’s necessity if you don’t understand what the Framers saw as the actual risk.

The first part of the Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” Those last six words say it all. Guns are necessary to keep the citizenry protected from the possibility of a government’s overreach.

History has shown that governments, at some point in a state’s history, become afraid of the citizenry and begin to react tyrannically.

Rather than a filibuster addressing terrorism on all scales, or congressman demanding their fellow politicians act on their fear, we — as a nation — have collectively focused on the Second Amendment than focusing on the real problem.

A subjective argument is that modern guns are not protected under the Second Amendment because the Framers could not have foreseen this kind of weaponry. In this logic, we should scrap the First Amendment since they couldn’t predict Twitter. The Fourth Amendment should go, too, since devices are becoming smaller in size.

Scrapping long-tested, well-thought out amendments due to a lack of grasp over the real problem is why it’s difficult to get a bill through Congress.

No-fly, no guns, no merit

There is a secret government document with no oversight that often has non-terrorists placed on it. Not letting people purchase guns because they’re on a list, which isn’t a crime, is unconstitutional.

The Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.” The Sixth Amendment allows, “(the accused) to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.”

Both of these amendments go directly against what you’re saying. A conservative is supposed to uphold the values the Constitution presented.

Stop letting our fear leads to extreme and dire behavior. It’s incorrect, and dangerous, to assume that all past tragedies could have been prevented with gun control.

If we ignore the law, everything is left up to those with power. That’s not this country. Those are not our values.

Opinion columnist Jorden Smith is a political science junior and the president of the College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected]

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