Firearms And Society Research Paper

Submitted By Sin-Green
Words: 1678
Pages: 7

20 November 2013
Firearms and Society The greatest achievement a firearm is capable of creating, is to end a life. This is often a difficult concept to be agreed upon, but one that warrants a further exploration as it conflicts with many of our values. According to the CDC “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011” accounts for 19,766 suicides by firearm discharge, 11,101 homicides by firearm discharge and with the inclusion of “discharge of firearms, undetermined intent” along with deaths caused by law enforcement through the use of firearms; the total firearm deaths were 32,163 in 2011 (p.19). It is often challenging to attach any humanity to a statistic but it must be understood that every one of these statistics was a human life lost. Therefore, I ask, is the right to own a firearm in conflict with another persons right to life? To whom is a greater injustice perpetuated against, those deprived of a firearm or those deprived of life? Where does the prevalence of firearms stem from? The infamous amendment cited by both those who are in favor of increased gun control and the people who oppose greater gun control. It is the Second Amendment, which 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.” (Bill Of Rights) However, there is a tradition of, in the words of Thomas Jefferson as written in the Declaration of Independence "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (Jefferson), to maintain the life of the individual. Here is where the question divides, does the right to own a firearm conflict with another person right to live? For the 32,163 people who lost their lives due to the use of a firearm against them, there is in fact a conflict of values. When an individual is able to own an instrument specifically created for the purpose of ending the life of its target, I refer to anything that could be classified as a hand gun and as an assault-style rifle, that individual is purchasing the ability to in the pull of a trigger end the life of another human being. This ability is not exclusive to the legal owner of the fire arm. According to the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to 2010 there have been 172,040 reported gun thefts of which only 5% have been recovered (Langton p4). It is also important to not forget that a firearm could be used by anyone, not just the legal owner, as was the case of the semi-automatic assault-style rifle used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook shooting; the firearm was legally purchased by his mother as CNN reported “The shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, bought the Bushmaster firearm two years ago at Riverview Gun Sales” (Ferrigno). It is my view that the sale of firearms does in fact contradict the right to life promised to all not just those who reside in the U.S. but the entire world. When instruments of death are able to roam the cities, towns, and homes of Americans the inevitability of deaths persists. As stated before, there is a conflict between the right of firearm ownership and the right to life of everyone. Perhaps it is best to examine the importance of both views, to whom is a greater injustice perpetrated against the denial of firearm ownership or the denial of life? The supporters of gun rights often call gun ownership a right to preserve their own life as stated by Harold Paul Green, an author and professor in George Washington University “-citizenship recognizes that the ultimate civil right is the right to defend one’s own life, that without that right all other rights are meaningless, and that without the means of self-defense the right to self-defense is but an empty promise.”(Green Cottrol)
This notion of a firearm as a means to preserve life is quite prevalent, specifically when the topic of war arises, for it is a firearm that is able to defend against a firearm. And in the context of war this is a perfectly acceptable rationalization of a firearm as a