The second amendment located in the Bill of Rights section of the Constitution explicitly states that we, as citizens of the United States, have the right to bear arms and that it shall not be infringed upon us. These select twenty or so words written over two hundred years ago have been the center of a hotly contested debate for decades. Schools, concert venues, grocery stores, and more have been the sight of deadly shootings. Dozens of people have lost their lives due to deadly weaponry. Parents, siblings, and friends have lost their loved ones and have suffered the devastating consequences that follow one’s death because some people reserve the right to bear arms. Everyone from the average citizen to the experienced politician has an opinion on how to approach this delicate topic.
On April 20th, 1999 in Columbine, Colorado, a high school became the setting of the first modern school shooting. Two twelfth grade students, by the names of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had acquired weaponry including handguns and shotguns. With these firearms, they were able to cause mass destruction and fear on their peers and educators. Prior to their suicides, they had murdered twelve students and one teacher. Columbine produced a series of copycats to take part in school shootings and it soon became synonymous with such. It was one of the first modern tragedies to spark the need for gun control in America. With gun control, Columbine and other school shootings would not have taken place.
America does not, constitutionally speaking, have the right to take away our right to bear arms for it is protected under the Bill of Rights. The framers of the Constitution had good intentions, however, they were not able to tell the future and foresee how their simple words would affect the lives of the people they sought to protect. These rights were written at a time where school shootings and mass destruction upon children was not present. However, in order to make changes to the Constitution, a constitutional convention would take place. This requires two-thirds of both chambers of Congress to even propose an amendment and then three-fourths, or 38 states, to approve the said proposal. Therefore, changing or expelling the second amendment is highly unlikely to occur. However, the federal government does still have the ability to set up regulations if something has a clear and present danger to its citizens, like firearms.
Gun control regulations should be set up as to prevent further destruction, whether accidental or with malicious intent. Many tragedies were able to occur due to the fact that firearms and other weaponry are easily accessible in America. For instance, Harris and Klebold were able to acquire guns from a friend as they were too young to purchase the firearms for themselves. The friend assumed the guns were meant to be used for target practice and not cause destruction upon others. If gun control regulations were set in place, Harris and Klebold would not have been able to murder or injure others. However, since no such laws were set up, the minimum age to purchase a firearm was only at the age of eighteen, thus enabling their friend, another high school student, to easily purchase it. An eighteen-year-old has the ability to purchase weaponry capable of malicous intent, yet they cannot legally drink due to the fact it may be dangerous to others. Federal laws surrounding anti-gun control advocacy are hypocritical. The government views alcohol as dangerous, but not guns, simply due to the fact that firearms are specified in the Constitution. If the government wants to uphold that the safety of its citizens is the top priority, then it should be that way across the board. One step towards that goal should be increasing the minimum age requirement to purchase guns.
Gun control does not mean making all firearms illegal, it means limiting the availability and accessibility of acquiring such objects. If America wants to advance and become a more welcoming and safe place for its citizens, then the government should enforce gun control regulations.