Should gun control be strengthened in the United States?

Numéro 1

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At the beginning, there was the Second Amendment

Among the founding laws of American society, one in particular acts as the cornerstone of gun control in the United States: the Second Amendment. It states that “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.”

Let’s recall the context in which this was written: when the 13 British colonies proclaimed their independence in 1791 and crafter their Constitution, police was still at its early stages. Thus, it was each citizen’s mission to ensure their security and that of others. The right to bear a weapon was therefore enshrined in that amendment.

However, that same legal document raises several issues. First and foremost, a matter of understanding: does this amendment refer to an individual right, or to a collective right (and therefore to the armament of a militia)? Moreover, the Constitution was written in 1791. For some, this makes this amendment an outdated one. For others, it is a right at the very foundation of their nation.

Interestingly, in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use it for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defence within the home.

An inconsistent law

Bearing arms might be a constitutional right, but that right is framed by the laws of the different States, which means that each State has it own legislation when it comes to gun control.

For instance, in Illinois or in the District of Columbia, licenses to get weapons are hard to obtain, whereas in Mississippi, there is no control over the purchase of weapons between individuals. Likewise, not all States recognize other States’ licenses. If you live in Florida but are originally from Georgia, your gun license will be recognized, but it wouldn’t be the case if you were from New York.

Why are we bringing this up now?

Sadly quite often, the USA make the world news’ cover following a mass shooting. In 2019, 33 mass killings involved the use of firearms. This represents 80% of mass killings.

In 2017, 42% of Americans owned a firearm at home and 35% of residents considered that owning a gun was a fundamental freedom. One cannot help but notice that the culture of weapons is radically different from France’s.

However, with the development of mass shootings, associations have been advocating for change, or at least regulate gun ownership. In 2012, Barack Obama announced that he wanted to implement a law to prohibit assault weapon ownership, but did not gather the needed majority. Since Trump arrived in power, the Supreme Court is even more conservative, which does not help the work done by gun control associations to implement new legislation. The task seems even more daunting since the passing away of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Trump’s nomination for her replacement: the conservative Amy Coney Barrett.

Numéro 2

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The concept is quite simple: for every important society issue, The Rift delivers to every citizen two opposing pitches, written by competent, and legitimate writers. The impact is that we help every citizen to form their very own opinion, and provide them the first steps for civic engagement..
What is your opinion before reading the article?


FOR


Eric Lundy

Giffords Deputy Engagement Director

giffords.org


In just the last 10 years, over 300,000 Americans have died from gun violence. This is an undeniably staggering toll, but the numbers don’t tell the full story. There is no number that can capture the pain of sending your daughter to college only for her life to be snatched by an angry young man with a gun, but Bob Weiss knows that pain all too well. Statistics can’t convey what it’s like to receive a call in the middle of the night telling you that the child you called your “miracle baby” was murdered while doing something as simple as attending a movie, but Sandy Philips knows that awful feeling. And the grief of mothers like Darlene Wilson, who lost her son in one of the dozens of daily shootings in America that don’t make international headlines, is more crushing than numbers, or even words, can communicate.

The stories of these gun violence survivors are both uniquely horrifying and frighteningly common. Americans like to think of ourselves as living in an exceptional country, and when it comes to gun violence we certainly are an exception—no other wealthy nation experiences these tragedies as frequently as we do. Yet even in a nation as divided as ours, Americans largely agree on what we need to do to fix this problem. Over 90% of Americans support universal background checks, because they see the absurdity being required to show more identification to purchase cough syrup than a gun. And contrary to what some gun lobby fearmongers want you to believe, the people who support commonsense gun laws are not “coastal elitist gun grabbers.” They’re gun owners like Jane Mumey, whose father was the Vice President of the Texas Rifle Association and Jon Gold, a firearm instructor for 20 years, people who understand that keeping guns out of the wrong hands makes everyone, including law-abiding gun owners, safer. 

Other policies, like those that would allow a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis and programs that would invest in proven solutions that break the cycle of violence in cities, are supported by wide swaths of the American public. It is no longer a question of whether the US needs stronger gun laws—most Americans understand that we do. The question is, when will our elected officials listen to us?

AGAINST


Philip Van Cleave

President of Virginia Citizens Defense League

vcdl.org


We should not strengthen gun control laws in the United States, we should weaken them. A person right to defend themselves and their families from death or serious bodily injury is the most important right they have. Their other rights don’t mean much if they are dead or have to spend the rest of their life as a quadriplegic because of a violent criminal attack. Gun laws only affect the law-abiding. Criminals ignore such laws. If guns were banned, for example, criminals would just get firearms on the black market, just like they do crack cocaine. To make society safer, violent criminals need to be removed from society, not guns. Crime is the pathogen and guns are the vaccine.

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