BY JESSICA REDIKER
“Right to bear arms.” These four words cause more controversy with every passing year since their initial inscription on the United States Bill of Rights in 1791 – and 2012 was no exception.
When Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December, he had people around the world questioning the importance and relevance of the Second Amendment, including the President.
Following this tragedy, President Barack Obama assigned Vice-President Joe Biden to the task of reassessing the United States’ gun control policy and strategies – and it’s about time.
Aside from the obvious need to have a more stringent screening process for individuals seeking gun ownership (including comprehensive background and health checks that have already been proposed by Biden,) the White House should also look into bringing this amendment into the 21st century.
In 1791, mindless killing sprees were simply not a legitimate concern. At the time, guns were five feet long, weighed up to 11 lbs. and had to be stuffed with gunpowder before they could send bullets into bodies – that is, if they didn’t backfire on the shooter. They were meant for combat, not personal vengeance. If this were the case today, the term “school shooting” wouldn’t even exist, let alone require a page on Wikipedia to explain it or list its occurrences worldwide.
Regardless of whether or not guns are truly necessary for self-defence, it must be addressed that the times have changed. Guns are more portable, concealable and fast, firing much more rapidly than the 1700’s standard of three or four times per minute (if you were a deft gunman.)
The White House won’t be taking Wite-Out to the constitution anytime soon, and understandably so – The National Rifle Association is a feisty organization that clings to their beloved amendment and gets up in arms when anyone seeks to infringe on it – but, by slowly changing the definition of arms and who has the right to bear them, we might hear less about young children being shot and more about how people are upset that they can’t purchase their rifles at Walmart anymore – a fair trade.