There is no doubt that Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary struck us all to our core. It showed us that evil exists in our world, and is willing to rear its ugly head on even the most innocent of children. As one of the second-deadliest shootings in our history and the third or fourth mass-shooting we have had in the past year, the question of gun-control will inevitably be at the forefront of our national discussion.
But before we point all the blame for this tragedy on the Second Amendment, there are a number of reasons why the Second Amendment is still relevant today.
Our Founders put this law into place not so we could commit atrocities on our own people. Our “right to keep and bear arms” was created as something that is “necessary” as a protection measure as a result of the unfortunate, ever-present occurrence of evil.
While we do have a military to protect us in matters of war, here are instances of home-grown terrorism where the Second Amendment has saved numerous lives that the news reports will not highlight. Some of these instances the Libertarian Party highlighted in a recent press release, but all were checked for accuracy:
• The 1997 Pearl High School shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck to prevent the shooter’s plan to go to the middle school.
• The 1998 Parker Middle School dance shooting in Edinboro, Pa. ended when the owner of the restaurant next door confronted the perpetrator with his shotgun, ordering him to drop his weapon and held him at bay for eleven minutes while he searched for other weapons
• The 2002 Appalachian School of Law shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter and held him down until police arrived
• A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
• The June 2009 Holocaust Museum shooting in Washington, DC ended when two other security officers shot the Holocaust denier after he killed a security guard
• An April 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo. was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun. The perpetrator who started the shooting was also a released convicted felon.
• At the recent Clackamas mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.
In all these situations, none of these people wanted to open fire on these people. They opened fire because their own lives as well as the lives of others were in danger.
That being said, while the need to defend one’s self is necessary, there also needs to be increased regulation, education, and mental health testing before one purchases a gun so people know how to use them in the correct manner.
Just this past Sunday, President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT to partake in a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. He was guarded by secret service armed with high-powered weapons.
If outlawing weapons or just particular weapons and not allowing teachers or other civilians to carry firearms will prevent such horrible shootings then why then does the President need to be protected with firearms?
These secret service workers were trained to use and respect these weapons. The average citizen can also be trained to use and respect certain weapons in an appropriate manner with appropriate screening measures in place- and by no means does the average citizen need to own nor should they own an AK-47.
It worries me how the conversation in our country is so willing to take away one’s constitutional right to bear arms because some bad people can get a hold of guns. Before you know it, people will call for getting rid of the First Amendment because a small minority use religion as a means to justify violence.
As much as outlawing weapons seems like the right thing to do every time a tragedy like this happens, an outright ban on guns will not fix the problem.
We have to face the reality that evil will always be present no matter how much we try to legislate around it, but what we can do is better educate our citizens to use our right to defend ourselves against those who abuse our right to inflict terror upon the most vulnerable of our citizens.