Why banning guns is our only hope

The harsh reality of the 2nd Amendment debate is that a great deal of useless argumentation is made by both conservatives seeking to uphold their perceived “God, Guns and Beer” form of national identity, and by the newly empowered teenage liberals seeking to emulate the confidence of Emma Gonzalez with little education at all on the matter. While the debate is over the 2nd Amendment, I may very likely be willing to bet that the most impassioned of debaters have yet to read it, much less study the language of the Amendment as written in the Bill of Rights. The Amendment reads, “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 founding fathers, often praised for the majesty of their writings, were able to anticipate what might become of the country in years to come, despite being composed in very different times in the last 1700’s. However, the only accurate characterization I can imagine there may be for the nature of the Second Amendment is the stain on the fabric of American history. If I were to attempt to examine the Constitution through the lens of our most strict constructionist justices, including most notably Antonin Scalia in the Heller case, I might suggest that the intent of the Founding Fathers at the time the Second Amendment was written, is that the use of arms was explicitly meant for military purposes.  Thus, when applied to our current times and environment, guns, according to our Founding Fathers, are meant for necessary government officials, the national guard, and the United States military, not for the use of ordinary citizens.

In the times of the American Revolution, there was no organized American military; therefore, the defense against our opponents was comprised of willing citizens and the arms they could bear for battle. The term “militia” is essentially a people’s army. During the time of the American Revolution, the militia was our only form of tangible security necessitating citizen possession of arms for warfare. However today, when the U.S. possesses the strongest military in the world, there is very little reason we may ever need guns for any other purpose. Unfortunately, despite the rhetorical strength of the remainder of the Constitution, the Second Amendment fails in an unprecedented fashion. There is no way at the time of its creation that the crafters could have anticipated the grade of weapon currently widely available for purchase nor, given great American solidarity at the time, could they have anticipated that one day we may turn on each other, student against student and police against civilian. The founding fathers intended the use of arms solely to supplement our security, a freedom that should be granted only to those whose responsibility is to provide security – police, military and necessary federal agents.

Perhaps, somewhat naively, I believe that our policymakers are in office solely to fight for the good of all American people. If this is true, a total ban of guns for civilian use appears to be the only advocacy that can genuinely achieve that goal. In Australia, after several gun incidents (minuscule when compared to those which have occurred in the US), their Federal Government essentially banned guns. To obtain a firearm, one must apply for a license and present a “genuine reason” for the purchase, of which self-defense is not included. This effectively reduced gun usage solely for the police force, military and a handful of governmentally approved individuals. After this gun-legislation was passed in 1996, mass shootings in Australia have very literally ended, and the homicide and suicide rate from gun-related incidents has dropped precipitously. Some may argue that guns in American culture are much more ingrained compared to that of Australia, however, they would be incorrect. Australia, one of the most prominent hunting grounds in the world, has a sizable culture of hunting, especially with guns, yet they prioritized human life. Perhaps the real difference between Australian and American culture is Australia’s willingness to confront issues and America’s evasion of the same.  If our legislators claim to be advocating for the end of mass shootings and the overall safety of the American people, they may, logically, consider the only sustainable complete solution to gun violence.

The ultimate goal of our policymakers should be to protect citizens rather than protect our misunderstood freedoms. If, as Americans, we still fight for the greater good and still hold the sanctity and intent of our Constitution, the only viable solution is the ban of all firearms. The statistics prove Australia, once ridden with equal tragedy, no longer is, yet America in its inaction can, according to statistics, expect to see another mass shooting within the month.