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The Second Amendment to the Constitution: It's Importantance to our Nation


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As the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson has one of the most recognizable names in American history. However, he was one of George Washington’s most vocal critics, and had a deep distrust of national government. Jefferson was an anti-federalist, and believed that a large, centralized government would lead to the denial of civil liberties and freedoms. In one of the compromises of the early government, twelve amendments to the constitution were written to assure Jefferson and the anti-federalists that their rights were not going to be denied because the country was no longer a confederation. Jefferson rejected two of the amendments but accepted ten of them. They later became known as the Bill of Rights, and the Right to Bear Arms is second of these ten.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the fundamental human need is that of survival. Directly above survival on the hierarchy, the famous psychologist placed the needs of safety and comfort. According to the hierarchy, once a person has achieved the basic need for survival, they automatically have a desire for safety. Once the desire for safety is achieved, a person can focus on the next necessary level of the hierarchy. Safety must be achieved in order for a person to move to the next level of the hierarchy. If any particular need is not satisfied, the higher levels of the hierarchy cannot be satisfied either. The levels of Maslow’s hierarchy all interlock, and safety is therefore crucial for survival. It is a common human desire to provide safety for family and self.
The Founding Fathers apparently had the same mindset as Maslow when they proposed the Second Amendment to the Constitution. It has been proven that human beings have a desire for safety, and that it is the most important thing for a person to feel and understand. When a person is denied safety, they are also denied any and all other inalienable, God-given rights of a republic.
In total, the second amendment states: “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.” As such, the Right to Bear Arms is not a privilege—it is a right. A government or other higher authority grants a privilege, while a right belongs to every American, regardless of race, creed, political views, or religion. To have a right in this country, you do not have to meet pre-defined criteria or fit into a certain group or status. Therefore, the Right to Bear Arms is non-negotiable. It is a right available to every law-abiding American citizen, even if they choose not to take advantage of it, and cannot be denied to any law-abiding American, despite what his or her ideology may be.

The second amendment was written for the people. It was written so that a person could defend themselves from the government. It was not written so that the government can defend the people, but so that people can defend themselves from how much power the government holds at any particular time. Thomas Jefferson—and President Washington—knew this, and they also knew they could not deny the right of this basic human freedom and security to the American people.

The security of a nation lies in its people, and when people are unable to defend themselves, those ten basic human rights of the Constitution no longer count as anything. During Mao Tse-Tsung’s rule in China, ordinary people were banned from having arms or weaponry. Also during that reign, people who claimed authority over the Chinese citizens could subject those who were not in support of Mao (or had done nothing else wrong) to humiliating searches. If the common people were given the right to simple security and safety, this would not have happened, and the people would have been able to defend what was rightfully theirs. In Hitler’s Nazi Germany, people were also denied the right to own firearms, which led to one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. In 1920s Russia, when only the Bolsheviks and the rulers of the Communist party possessed weapons, those who were targeted were unable to defend themselves from the regime of terror.
History is full of examples like this—tragedies that could have been avoided if the people had the ability to control their own security, or if the people had clearly defined rights to back them. It is a common human desire to provide safety for family and self, and when a government denies this right to the people, the tragedies of history tend to reoccur.

The fact that Americans have the right to bear arms should be a sign that our government trusts the population. Unlike those who are suffering under brutal dictatorships, Americans are able to take an advantage of their right to protect themselves. An American is able to act upon their rights: we can carry a concealed weapon, own more than one weapon, and practice with that weapon at a rifle range, all without fearing arrest or death by a militant group. Without the second amendment, none of these would be possible.

The Second Amendment is a vital part of American history and culture. America has a tradition of rights, freedoms, and other basic human dignities, and the non-negotiable second amendment is responsible for supporting the majority of these.



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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

CAPOD said...
Sept. 20, 2010 at 10:51 pm:

Oh "Heidi" how mistaken you are about Jefferson. He was not an anti-federalist, but rather a Democratic Republican. Throughout the period of the drafting of the Constitution he resided in France as the American Ambassador and had little to do with its ratification or opposition to such. Theres more but im sure by now you've realised who this is, oh and just in case you didnt

See you Tuesday, every Tuesday!

 
Heidi S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm :

A) I realized who it was just by the way you put my name in quote.

B) did you seriously make a Teenk Ink account just to comment on this article?

C)We're not in uniform, so I can say this now: Yes, he was an antifederalist.

 
Virtus suis Doceo replied...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm :

first of all he WAS NOT AN ANTI-FEDERALIST he was a democratic-republican. In order to be an anti-federalist he would have had to reject the constituition, which he DID NOT. While he may have feared a strong central-government, that alone does not qualify him as an AF. 

Second of all: the first 4 presidents and Andrew Jackson are my realm of expertise. I have written  more papers, read more books and primary source documents concerning them than i think is even healthy.

 
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