Gun Control

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One Hundred thousand people die each year in the United States from gun related violence. One hundred thousand people. That figure is equivalent to half the population of Rockland County. Imagine-- parents, children, teachers, and doctors, loved ones-- gone. I demand a change. I argue that the second amendment, adopted December 15th 1791, which legalizes the right of citizens to bear arms, is outdated and needs to be repealed.
The American Bar Association has noted that there is more disagreement and less understanding about the right to bear arms than of any other current issues regarding the constitution. The Framers of our constitution had to address the reality that at the time there was no police force to deal with local law enforcement, and no national army to protect the country. In addition, there was a hot debate amongst the Framers regarding those who were fearful of a strong central government and a national army. Remember, we had just suffered through years of British rule where the British army came into our homes, took over our homes, and we had no way to defend our selves against them. So the second amendment was adopted so that citizens who at that time were responsible for local law enforcement, had the right to bear arms to do so, and those who were fearful of a national army were satisfied knowing that citizens had arms to rise up against an army who could potentially go out of control.
American society has progressed over time. Over the last two hundred years, we have seen that we have a stable form of government, an obedient military, and a local police force in every community. As a country how ever we tend to keep old habits burrowed into our pockets. In other words, our modern, stabile, and civilized country no longer has the need for the second amendment. Trying to fix the amendment will only create confusion over who can and cannot bear arms.
Professors studying the statistics, claim that people are abusing the right to bear arms, be it for violent related reasons, hunting or personal protection. Americans have been called, “pigs, a gun savvy society, barbarians, etc.” (Nyt.com, Warner). These are comments that shouldn’t describe the people of such an influential and powerful country. We need a change.
Having a mother who is an assistant district attorney, in the Bronx, has had an influence on my outlook. I see the legal side of things. How would this argument be settled in court? What would the severity of that crime be? I also hear and experience real life examples of the tragedies that occur as a result of gun related violence.
A case in point is the November 16. 2009 shooting of fifteen year old Vada Vasquez, which struck the hearts of New York’s citizens. It also affected the life of my family since my mother is prosecuting the case. Vada Vasquez was walking home from school listening to her iPod. Shots rang out and within seconds, she was on the ground, but awake as her brain oozed out onto the sidewalk. Multiple shots were fired. Only two hitting the nineteen year old intended target. The others flew towards innocent bystanders. Gunplay referred to a game of “hot potato” by the New York Times. A gang related crime having nothing at all to do with Ms.Vasquez and little to do with the intended target Tyrone Crieghton.
Vada was rushed to Lincoln Medical Center. Her skullcap had to be cut off to allow her brain to swell without causing any further damage. Fortunately, a medical miracle occurred, and Vada survived a gunshot directly to the head. However it was not without cost. She lost her ability to read and write. Her language and memory are impaired. She suffered tremendous pain and will likely not be able to return to school for one to two years. Hopefully with progress she will be able to fully recover. Vada Vasquez had no relationship to any of the offenders, or to either of the gangs involved in the crime. She was an innocent by stander. An innocent fifteen year old girl who might not have had the chance to fulfill her dreams of becoming an artist or be the first in her family to go to college. (Nyt.com, Dolnick)
Vada’s story is just one example of what happens when a country has as many guns as it does citizens. There are some people in our government who seem to be quite ignorant of the growing epidemic in our country. Nowhere else on our planet do you see gun violence like you see in the United States. Coincidentally nowhere else do you see a constitutionally protected right for citizens to bear arms. Look at us… gun shows, shooting animals as hobbies, collecting arms. We’ve become a nation obsessed with guns, and were using the second amendment to do so. The NRA (National Rifle Association) won’t give up the fight. Numerous NRA spokespersons say the same thing. “Bearing arms is our civil right. A right that will not be infringed upon.” (Mauro) From their prospective, guns are a means of protection, an American way of life for over two centuries. They say, “Guns don’t cause crime, criminals do.” But the statistics just don’t support their position. There are criminals in every country. But nowhere else do you see gun violence like you do in the United States where guns are so easily accessible.
In closing, by maintaining this antiquated law; people will always have an excuse to own a gun. Don’t only feel bad for the people that have been affected by gun violence, feel bad for yourself. Know that despite living in a country where great opportunity is everywhere, just one pull of the trigger, is all it takes to destroy it all. It could be as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, being involved in a gang, or in a heated domestic argument. We need to put an end to gun violence, or the next victim could be you.





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