The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, introduced on the 15th December 1791, protected the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Although the notion of bearing arms has been reputed by modern-day critics, the social and political climate of the American heartland was vastly dissimilar in the late eighteenth century. The American colonies were founded by British imperialists, intent on functioning a regulated militia state. The colonial citizen was able to usurp an authoritative and corrupt government and deter any uprisings against slavery by being armed at all times. Now, in present-day America, a democratic and civilised federation-like nation has evolved, and the leniency of the Second Amendment is outmoded.
The U.S. Situation
This year alone, an estimated 1,800 victims have died from gun-related violence. Last week, one of the worst school shootings in modern American history took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Killing 17 people, it has more fatalities than the infamous Columbine massacre, which resulted in 15 deaths, including both shooters. Just before Christmas of 2017, 58 people died at a country music festival in Las Vegas, with a motive still unknown.
Although most Americans live vicariously through their constitution, 55% want stricter gun laws and further background checks on consumers who are interested in purchasing a firearm. Around 48% of American households have a gun in the property, exceptionally higher than any other country. The law on guns and the power from the gun lobbyist group, NRA, is becoming completely uncivilised. The current Trump administration was financially endorsed by the NRA and therefore have remained silent on the popular idea of stricter gun access. Many advocates of gun reform have labelled the NRA a “terrorist organisation”, due to their ignorance on the high-profile massacres that are taking place. The NRA is an echo chamber on why the Second Amendment was formed. They speak to a society who believe ardently in individualism and defending your own. They believe gun ownership will make a person safer and more protected towards violence. The number of violence incidences by guns across the country does little to prove the NRA’s ideologies.
In Florida, where last week’s atrocity took place, you can purchase a semi-automatic AR-15 aged 18. The AR-15 is significantly more dangerous than the handgun, which can only be sold when the customer is over 21. It is easier to buy a fatal weapon than alcohol in the Sunshine State, with the selling of alcohol being prohibited to under-21s.
Can the U.S. Learn from Others?
This is a shocking revelation and one that must be considered by government elected officials. Innocent people are dying due to the ignorance of many politicians. The U.S can learn a lot from its western counterparts. The UK has 50 to 60-gun deaths a year, staggeringly smaller than America. Furthermore, after a mass shooting in 1996 at a resort in Australia, the Australian parliament decided to radically change their gun laws. With a buyback programme and one-time tax increase, Australia has never gone through the trauma of a mass shooting since.
It’s time for America to wake up, and to address the ever-lasting problem that is affecting everyone. The victims, victims’ families and local communities are all enduring harrowing events due to a gun epidemic. With an administration turning a blind eye, they are complicit in the shocking statistics of gun violence across the country. The constitution that the nation was founded on will still remain, but a little updating to address ongoing struggles is would make inclusive for everyone, and to help honour the citizens who have suffered so tragically.
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