Is it right to bear arms?

December 14, 2012 5:57 pm

The right to keep and bear arms

Please note: This article was written before today’s tragic events in Connecticut, but not published until this afternoon.

The recent shooting in an Oregon mall, which left 2 dead, has reignited the debate on guns. Should America change the second ammendment? This question has divided the nation. The most popular argument for those who believe every American has a right to bear arms is that people kill people, guns don’t; and those who think that there should be stricter laws on guns argue guns allow people to kill people.

There are more gun stores in the US than there are grocery stores. An even more worrying fact than that is that in 2008, 12,000 people were killed by guns (Business Insider) and that statistic is rising. Those who are pro-gun ownership for citizens argue that even if guns were banned altogether, those with the intent to kill would still kill. Johan Belcher, an NFL star who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, recently took his life after shooting his girlfriend. Those who are pro-guns said that Belcher had the physical capability of killing his girlfriend without a gun, however, what they fail to realise is that many killers do have second thoughts about killing as they pull the trigger and even if Belcher did try to physically kill her, there is more of a chance that he may have stopped. But with a gun there is no backing out, and with one shot someone becomes yet another statistic.

On Tuesday, a shooter struck a mall near Portland, Oregon and killed 2 people. The shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts, armed himself with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and opened fire in the mall packed with Christmas shoppers. He managed to kill 2 people, however the rifle jammed and luckily stopped more deaths. Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts told ABC’s Good Morning America, “It really was a killing of total strangers, to my knowledge at this point and time. He was really trying to kill as many people as possible.” Roberts targeted “anyone who was in his line of fire”.

Smoking gunThese tragic stories of mass shootings keep appearing in the news and they all seem to follow the same plot. A deranged lunatic gets hold of lots of weapons and goes on to cause carnage. Look back to the Aurora Batman theatre shootings that happened in August. An unstable person managed to get hold of a hoard of weapons and ammunition, not raising any suspicion because he purchased the guns and ammo via the internet. The easy access to guns is worrying, and those who are pro-guns may argue Americans should have the right of owning a gun, but what Average Joe American needs to be armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which has an average fire rate of 800 rounds per minute?

This debate is a very interesting one and it is likely to intensify because more and more shootings will happen in the USA unless the government take a hard line on gun laws and enforce stricter ones. 40 per cent of gun owners didn’t have background checks when buying guns, that worrying percentage means that more maniacs – whose sole intention is to kill – have access to weapons that allow them to carry out these horrific shootings.

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