Gun crime in America is all too easy in the 21st century. Have a fake ID and a history of mental illness? No problem – just pop down to your local gun store and purchase a handgun. Background checks aren’t even required for private gun sales. Belong to a militia with a radical agenda? Why not purchase a fully powered assault rifle? America’s gun laws are some of the most backward across both the developed and developing worlds. If we are going to solve the problem of gun crime in America, we are going to need a shift in America’s attitudes toward dangerous firearms.
Gun Crime Facts and Figures
- Over 500 children are killed in firearm accidents every year
- Over 31,940 people died in firearm related incidents in 2011
- Over 270 million firearms are owned by American civilians
- Firearms are responsible for more murders than all other weapons put together
The ‘Second Amendment’ Myth
Firearm advocates will often claim that the ‘Second Amendment’ denies the Federal Government the authority to regulate and control the use of firearms. But this claim has been utterly discredited by constitutional scholars. Here are some points that have been made about the Second Amendment by constitutional experts:
- While the Founding Fathers may have supported the ownership of slow, expensive powder-loaded rifles, it’s doubtful that they would have been able to conceive of shotguns, assault rifles, handguns, and other contemporary weaponry.
- The only U.S. Supreme Court ruling that actually focused on the Second Amendment, U.S. v. Miller (1939), found that there is no individual right to bear arms independent of national self-defense concerns. The Supreme Court has spoken only once, it has spoken in favor of the civilian militia interpretation, and it has not spoken since. If the Court has held a different view, it has certainly had ample opportunity to rule on the matter since then.
- Civilian militias are unnecessary and few and far between in the 21st century. The founders assumed that we would always need a militia for national and personal defense, but this assumption has now been invalidated.
- If you really want to overthrow the government, bearing arms probably isn’t enough in 2006. You’d need aircraft to take the skies, hundreds of tanks to defeat ground forces, and a full navy. The only way to reform a powerful government in this day and age is through nonviolent means.
- What the majority of Americans believe about the Second Amendment is unsurprising, because a majority of Americans have been misinformed about what the Second Amendment accomplishes and how federal courts have traditionally interpreted it.
In the 21st century, America’s army and police force are more capable of protecting us than our founders could ever have imagined. There is simply no excuse for owning dangerous firearms when an effective police force is a phone call away. America’s backward gun laws are looked upon by Europeans and Canadians with horror, and our gun crime figures are something we should be ashamed of. We owe it to our children to produce a safer society where access to dangerous weapons is restricted and monitored by a democratically elected government, and where our safety is administered by a professional and trustworthy law enforcement.