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The Second Amendment

“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.”



In light of the recent shooting in Charleston, we can expect gun rights advocates to emerge once again with loud voices proclaiming the right of Dylann Roof to have a gun and that the nine victims would be alive today if only they themselves had a gun to shoot Roof. It’s all about arming the people. It’s all about protecting yourself, individually. It’s the American way.

But if we examine the exact text of the Second Amendment, this whole “Guns for everyone!” battle cry seems a bit childish and silly. How is a 21-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist wielding a gun in an African-American church fitting into the “well regulated militia”? It seems that gun advocates like to quote “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” but strategically avoid the “well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” Where is the good regulation in racists bringing guns into black community’s safe spaces? How is a murderously racist white man with a gun “necessary to the security of a free state”? And how do these repeated mass shootings and massacres (mostly targeting minorities) make our state any more free?

The gun free-for-all that so many advocate for, in which the “good guy” with a gun gets the “bad guy” with a gun, is a completely unregulated mess. Rarely does the “good guy” even have time to get his gun out to stop the bad guy, and rarely is he a good enough shot to do anything more than further harm in a real-life terrorist attack situation. Is more shooting really the answer? How can you blame these victims for not carrying guns, in their church, and shooting Roof? How were they supposed to know Roof planned to kill?

Walking in public, knowing that it’s very possible that the person you pass on the street is packing heat, you never know who’s set to kill and who’s simply making some irresponsible statement about their Second Amendment right to make everyone uncomfortable in public, displaying (or purposefully not displaying) their deadly weapon. It makes no sense that this free-for-all is at all necessary for the security of a free state; the regulation of our good American “militia” is ineffective if mass shootings are occurring with such terrifying frequency. It’s time that this country took responsibility for its freedom and actually followed what the Constitution says.

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Caroline Peterson

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