As the spring semester comes to an end, I have been busy with my final assignments. With my busy schedule, I still take time to read about current affairs. For the last few weeks, I have been ignoring all news regarding shootings, but it felt like they were continuously happening. I’m sure there have been at least 50 mass shootings since March.
It started on March 16, when a gunman opened fire in a spa in the Atlanta area where six Asian women were killed. Another took place in a gas station in Springfield, Missouri, killing a gunman, a police officer and three others. On March 22, a gunman inside a grocery store killed 10 people. A police officer who was the first one to arrive at the scene was also killed.
While I was writing just the first two paragraphs of this piece on Thursday night, April 15, another mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis left eight dead. When I was about to submit my piece, there was another shooting in Austin, Texas, where three people were killed.
All of this has reminded me of a debate I took part in during one of my courses at Middlesex College. Professor Dell’Omo gave us a topic for his discussion and debate course. While researching, I had to look up what exactly the Second Amendment stands for; it states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The single most important reason for the Second Amendment was to prevent the United States from starting a professional army. However, some centuries ago, it was written when there was fear of an unjust ruler.
Living in the 21st century, I cannot imagine what the circumstances were like in the 18th century. Founders of the amendment foresaw the threat of a professional army, as nobody could live freely in their presence. What if the men who were army professionals were ordered to attack the citizens? Citizens should be armed to fight back. A well-regulated militia was needed to secure a free state.
However, right now, citizens do not need to be armed as there is no immediate threat from people outside the U.S. There is a threat from the people inside, such as the incident that happened on Jan. 6, the Capitol riots that were a glimpse of an attack on U.S. democracy.
While I debated on the topic of the Second Amendment in 2017, I am still on the same page, with more questions than answers. Lawmakers are still not convinced that it is a continuous epidemic; even though some of them saw what happened on Jan. 6 and can imagine the plight of many students who faced similar situations when their schools were attacked such as Parkland, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, where the deaths were reported in double digits.
Why can’t the U.S. follow the examples of other countries where gun control is strict, such as England, France and Germany? Why can’t background checks be mandatory in every state and assault rifles be banned? There is no question that the Founding Fathers did not imagine America to be what it is today regarding gun violence.
I don’t understand why lawmakers disagree on keeping gun laws stricter. It is a bipartisan issue as it has affected both sides. In the past, GOP Republican Mike Turner from Dayton, Ohio, backed the decision to limit firearms. The reason for his decision was a shooting incident on Aug. 4, 2019, when a 24-year-old gunman used an assault-style weapon, killing nine people and injuring at least 27 in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio.
Turner said in a statement after this shooting incidence, "I will support legislation that prevents the sale of military-style weapons to civilians, a magazine limit and red-flag legislation. The carnage these military-style weapons can produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable.”
Now President Biden has signed the executive order on March 25 and said he would, “Use all the resources at (his) disposal as President to keep the American people safe from gun violence.” It can only be possible if both parties work collectively and congress passes further legislation.
On the other hand, Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia applauded President Biden’s decision, but he will not support the House-passed background check bill. According to Forbes, “Two-thirds of respondents said reducing gun violence by enacting new laws should be prioritized over protecting the right to own a "wide variety" of guns, but that includes more than 90% of Democrats and only one in three Republicans.”
Today America’s standing army is seen as the most powerful force in the world. All members of the National Guard of the United States are also considered members of the organized militia of the United States. According to the definition of the Second Amendment, the Militia is already serving the purpose of keeping the states secure, so why do citizens need to be armed? How many more lives are going to be sacrificed to save the Second Amendment?