Tuscon tragedy shouldn't affect gun control policy

By Amanda Ayers

Contributing Writer

During this past January, gunman Jared Loughner unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Arizona’s democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson, Ariz. This debacle sparked debate about gun-control laws in the United States, as many who advocate for stricter legislature

One of the major arguments for people in favor of added gun-control legislation is that the second amendment was only meant to guarantee states the right to operate militias. The number of militias and their effectiveness has diminished since the 18th century, which leads many to the conclusion that the amendment is now moot.

If you read some of the writings of our founding fathers in addition to the second amendment, there were ulterior and perhaps more significant motives for protecting the American peoples’ right to bear arms. Thomas Jefferson said, “the strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” These leaders founded our nation on the principle that if a government infringes on our rights, it is the duty and right of the governed to stand up to it.

I do not think that this event will change the gun-control debate since there is no proof to suggest that more gun control would have prevented this shooting.

Gun-control advocates were quick to criticize the second amendment, the Tea Party and the right wing for Loughner’s actions. Loughner was rejected from enlisting in the Army in 2008 due to drug use and asked to withdraw from his community college because the administration saw him as a mentally unstable security threat.

It was not the weapon or lenient firearms laws in Arizona that killed six people. It was this deranged young man’s actions. Measures are already in place to block criminals and mentally unstable people from purchasing firearms. Further restrictions will only prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, as framed by the second amendment and in writings of the founding fathers.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

The fact of the matter is that if more gun control is put into place, there are more chances that law-abiding citizens will be victims. These precautions will not stop criminals from obtaining guns, as there will always be a thriving black market for trade of guns and firearms.

An example of this can be seen in Washington, D.C. where for 32 years gun owners were not legally permitted to own or carry a handgun within the district’s territory. Crime rates actually increased, showing that these strict gun laws did not alleviate the problem.

In June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled five to four that the district’s law was unconstitutional. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia observed that regardless of whether violent crime is a problem, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table … Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.”

Gun control will not prevent gun violence anyway, so we should not allow fear to get in the way of our second amendment rights.

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