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Shall Not Be Infringed

by Aj Melillo
Credit to Michelle Ress (Flickr)

Photo courtesy of Michelle Ress via Flickr

Last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas has once again brought gun control to the forefront of the American political discussion. Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd at a music festival killing 59 and injuring over 500 people, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of the country. This attack was awful and we should help the families directly affected by it. What we should not do is blame guns, or the second amendment for what happened.

The left, including former democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, jumped directly on the anti-gun bandwagon. Clinton’s reaction doesn’t surprise me. As Rahm Emanuel said in a 2009 Wall Street Journal interview, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” You might recognize that name; the democrat is the Mayor of Chicago. The city has the strictest gun laws and the most murders in the country.

Following the tragedy, Clinton tweeted, “… The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get… Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.” Hopefully you can see how contradictory her tweets were. The first saying we must “put politics aside,” and in the same sentence, attacking the National Rifle Association (NRA), a major organization. What she is really getting at is that she does not want people who are pro-gun to speak their minds. It seems like only those with anti-gun sentiments are allowed to give their opinions.

The problem with the attacks from the perspective of the left is that they are not considering facts. The left seems to be reacting based on their emotions. This is a dangerous precedent to set because policies that derive directly from an emotional place rather than a factual place can lead to unsuccessful and harmful laws in the future. The second amendment of our Constitution is clearly written, “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.” The last four words are clear: “Shall not be infringed.”Meaning the right to bear arms cannot and will not ever be taken away from United States citizens

You may be thinking that scary people get guns and you never know what they will do, and you would be right. But that is precisely why we need guns. Statistician Leah Libresco researched the 33,000 deaths caused by guns every year with her colleagues at FiveThirtyEight, and published her findings in a Washington Post article this month. “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.” Libresco said. In this article she discusses how she used to think the correct response to gun violence was gun control, but what she found at the end of her research was contrary to popular belief. “the best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”Libresco said.

Through her research, Libresco learned that silencers do not actually “silence” a gun, but instead they limit the chance of damaging the shooters’ ears. In actuality, if there was a silencer on an AR-15 it would still be, “about as loud as a jack hammer,” unlike what Clinton’s misinformed tweets suggest. She also discovered that about two-thirds of deaths by guns were actually suicides. Even if you take guns away from those people, they will just find another way to go through with the act. The next highest group killed by guns were young men between the ages of 15-34, making up one-fifth of the deaths a year. Most of these deaths are a result of gang and street violence, and most of these incidents are perpetrated by gang members with illegal guns. The next highest affected group is women killed in domestic violence cases, which make up about 1,700 deaths per year, a number that is far too high for comfort, but still far higher than those affected by mass-shootings, which is what most gun control legislation is tailored to serve.

The correct answer to these problems in our society is not gun control. The correct answer is reaching out to people that show signs of suicide and helping them out medically. The answer is to help women facing domestic violence issues and getting those victims out of that dangerous and awful environment. The answer is figuring out ways to stop gangs from taking over the lives of young kids in inner cities. That is how you lower the number of people dying by guns, not by taking the guns away. All crime is illegal, but criminals still do it. The idea that banning more guns is going to keep people from killing others with guns is just nonsense.

The founding fathers made the right to bear arms the second amendment because they viewed it as the second most important right. If you take guns away, you take away the right of the citizens to defend themselves against not only criminals, but against a totalitarian government taking the rights away from the American citizens as well. We must fight for our rights, otherwise we will lose our country.

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