President Barack Obama recently released his plan for gun control in response to numerous mass shootings in the recent years, culminating in the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Obama’s extensive plan entails four key points that outline the gun control legislation he hopes congress will pass. The main points in his plan outline steps to curb gun violence, but where Obama goes too far is in asking Americans to surrender the right to own assault weapons and magazines that have the capacity to hold more than ten rounds.
The first point in Obama’s plan is to strengthen background checks and eliminate existing loopholes. Currently, it is possible to obtain a gun through certain loopholes in the background check, even if you cannot legally own a gun. Purchasing a gun at a gun show does not require a background check. This legislation would ensure that those who buy and own guns are not restricted by current laws to own them.
The second point is to place a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The final two points in Obama’s plan reflect less on gun control and are focused more on reducing the likelihood of another mass shooting. They entail, first, making schools safer by providing funds to increase safety and resources and, secondly, increasing access to mental health services.
The last two points in Obama’s plan are needed steps in addressing the mass shooting problem that has become considerably worse over the past few years. Even the first point, closing background check loopholes, seems pretty reasonable, as it is a strengthening of current law and keeps those not allowed by law, such as felons, from owning guns.
However, in banning assault weapons and limiting magazine capacity, Obama infringes on America’s Second Amendment.
The assault weapons considered in the ban are semi-automatic, meaning that the trigger has to be pulled for every bullet fired. This is unlike an automatic weapon which fires continuously while the trigger is held down. Automatic weapons have been heavily regulated since 1934.
At first glance, it might seem to make a real difference to limit the magazine size to ten bullets. However, changing a clip only adds on three seconds to the rate of fire. Is this a substantial enough difference to warrant banning a clip size that could be a lifesaving defensive tool?
This is an infringement upon our Second Amendment constitutional right to keep and bear arms. When a government takes away from the people the right to own semi-automatic assault weapons, it takes away part of the people’s liberty and freedom. The state would have the only real firepower with which to enable the state to potentially oppress and use violence against its citizens.
The right of every American to have a gun is not simply for self-defense against other individuals, but also for defense against a potentially tyrannical state. The reason that the right to keep and bear arms was included in the Constitution is so citizens could protect themselves, not only against rogue citizens, but also against a tyrannical state.
Obama is reacting rationally to the terrible emotional impact of the Sandy Hook tragedy but not fully understanding the long-term implications of the restrictions that he is proposing.
Obama’s new plan for gun control legislation states: “While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action.” But do we? Do we want the kind of laws that limit the freedom and ability of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
The people in support of the proposed law need to remember that this law does not guarantee a reduction in violence. Are we willing to turn over our right to keep and bear arms in the hopes that this may potentially reduce violence? Banning assault weapons and posing restrictions on high-capacity magazines will mostly restrict law-abiding citizens. Black markets for these types of guns and magazines still allow people to purchase these weapons. The concept that a law can reduce the amount of guns in the wrong hands is an idealistic thought.
It would be a shame to see Second Amendment rights infringed upon. Especially when Obama’s plan itself states that the proposed legislation is not guaranteed to fix the problem.