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In the recent past, the second amendment sparked an intense debate in the United States of America. The debate was about whether individuals or the local, state or federal legislative bodies have the rights to own firearms. This forced the Supreme Court to make a ruling and determine the right interpretation of the amendment. The Supreme Court declared that individuals have the rights to own firearms and to use them lawfully in their residents for self-defense in the case of District of Columbia verses Heller in 2008 (Long). Also, the court stated that the federal government, states, and municipalities had the right to use arms to protect the citizens during wars or in dangerous situations. Even though the amendment protects individuals’ rights to own firearms and allows the federal and state government to use firearms during wars, the amendment still faces both supporting and opposing opinions.
Crime is a threat to a nation’s economic development and unity. Criminal activities are always aimed towards the vulnerable citizens who cannot protect themselves. Since the introduction of the second amendment, the citizens can now own arms and protect themselves. The resultant self-protection has resulted in a decrease in criminal activities. Criminals fear guns and therefore are likely to retreat if a potential victim draws a gun for self-defense. Between 2007 and 2011 a total of 29,618,300 violent crimes were committed and research shows that 0.79% of this population protected themselves by threatening the criminals with firearms (Planty and Truman). This proves the amendment's great contribution which is to reduce the rates of crime and attacks by criminals.
The amendment also makes people feel secure and safe when they have firearms even in crime-prone environments. In crime-prone areas, chances of criminal attacks are high but if a potential victim is having a gun, his/her fears will be gone as they concentrate on self-defense. This even reduces the work to be done by the national security and the police who cannot protect all the citizens. The Editors states that the second amendment has helped prevent 50 deaths per year which could have resulted from criminal acts committed in the absence of police officers. The police are currently having an easy time as they only respond to serious crimes which are beyond ordinary citizens.
Firearms are beneficial only if possessed by people of good motives. The second amendment, however, gives all individuals rights to own guns without any specifications of individuals’ characters. This implies that chances of guns getting into the wrong people are high. The wrong people will always use the guns to perpetrate crimes. Some of the criminal activities which have been witnessed in the U.S as a result of second amendment include mass shooting in Bernadino in California and Charleston in South Carolina (Long). Therefore, the second amendment can lead to a serious increase in criminal activities in an area.
The presence of firearms causes nervousness in most people. Since the enactment of the second amendment, no one knows who owns a gun and the motive of the person; every one has a right to own guns (NRA-ILA). People cannot freely have heated debates in public places like bars and other recreational centers. This means that the amendment to some extent is infringing in people’s freedom of speech. Matters are made worse since the police cannot readily distinguish criminals from ordinary citizens owning guns. This means that the citizens must deal cautiously with people owning guns. Generally, gun owners create security fear in people.
The enactment of the second amendment was the best thing to happen in the United States of America. If the guns can be used by people of sound mind and good motives security will be enhanced and people will also feel secure and safe. The amendment should be modified to prohibit ill-minded people from owning the guns to reduce crimes rate resulting from the enactment of the amendment.
Long, Emma. “Why So Silent? The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment Debate After DC v. Heller” European Journal of American Studies. 12-2 | 2017, Online since 14 February 2017, connection on 11 October 2018. journals.openedition.org/ejas/11874 ; DOI : 10.4000/ejas.11874
NRA-ILA, "Guarantees of the Right to Arms in State Constitutions," www.nraila.org, July 3, 2014
Planty, Michael and Jeniffer L. Truman. “Firearm Violence, 1993-2011” U.S Department of Justice. May 2013. www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fv9311.pdf
The Editors. Repeal the Second Amendment, 2013, www.americamagazine.org/repeal-second-amendment, Accessed October 11, 2018
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