The right to bear arms: The bare truth
“I’m going to fucking kill you! I’m going to kill you,” screams the 17-year-old boy. The boy jumps on top of his father, throwing all of his might into each punch – each death purposed punch.
“Help! Somebody please help my husband, my son is trying to kill my husband,” the mother screams. Her body stood frozen by the side of the car, now pulled over onto the side of the road, witnessing each blow to her husband.
The woman’s cries for help are useless. Madison Highway, a small two-lane road near the Florida border is empty. Nobody can help the husband -- unconscious from the hand around his neck.
Headlights shine in the distance, another car is approaching the brawl. But is it too late?
“Stop! I’ve got a gun! Stop!” Robert Crawford screams as he runs out of his car. The son stops hitting his dad, but is now walking toward Crawford – ready to fight.
Crawford, a United States Air Force aircraft maintainer has his finger on his pistol’s trigger. Although the boy has rage in his eyes, Crawford does not point his gun at him.
“Stop what you’re fucking doing and don’t move,” Crawford screams. The boy is still moving toward him, only a few feet from hitting distance. Crawford raises his gun and something clicks. The boy stops what he is doing and gets on his knees. Sirens whirl in the distance. The police are on their way with an arrest in mind.
Thank you is said a thousand times over before Crawford carries on his way.
“If I did not have my gun when I did…that man would have died,” Crawford says.
The Second Amendment
Although Crawford’s constitutional right saved a man’s life that summer evening, many have not been as fortunate.
The mass shootings in a church in Charleston, S.C, Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. are just a few shootings that have occurred within the past couple years, stirring up conversation about gun control.
A mass shooting, according to criminology and FBI experts at Nation of Change, is an incident with multiple victims of gun violence within a single timeframe.
Using this broad definition, within the last 30 years (1985-2015), there have been 41 mass shootings within the United States, totaling 351 deaths and 383 injuries.
After a mass shooting this past October at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, where a gunman targeted and killed nine Christian students, President Obama met with the families and survivors of the victims.
"And so, we're going to have to come together as a country to see how we can prevent these issues from taking place," President Obama said.
Since then, President Obama has unveiled a gun control proposal which would require mental health checks along with stricter background checks, a ban on military-assault weapons and additional tools to law enforcement.
Although gun control conversations have spread through the media like wild-fire, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) final 2014 death report, death by poisoning outranked death my firearms by over 14,000 cases
Does this proposal offer better protection against mass shootings? Or is it just an infringement on constitutional rights?
In 1791, the United States Constitution adopted 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.
“The second amendment guarantees and protects the other amendments. Without the second amendment, the other amendments are just words on paper; the only thing that enforces them is the right to bear arms,” says Steven Ban, a NRA lifetime member from Dearborn Heights, Mich.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed in 1871 and is the longest standing civil rights organization dedicated to being “proud defenders of history's patriots and diligent protectors of the Second Amendment.”
Looking past the recent shootings and understanding how the politicized tragedies are used to help push the newest gun control agenda, the NRA and its 5 million members are ready to fight Obama every step.
“Global elitists [Obama and the government] are the type of people whose hypocrisy is nauseating. They surround themselves with people who are armed with fully automatic weapons and they send their children to school under armed guard, and then they expect everyone else to not protect their families. If they were willing to drop their protection, I might be willing to listen,” says Ban.
One of the biggest “laws” under Obama’s gun control policy is requiring strict mental health and background checks before a citizen can legally purchase any firearm.
In fact, days after the mass shooting in Oregon, Obama was “seriously considering” using executive order to obtain these background checks according to The Washington Post.
“Background checks only work for people who obey the law. Criminals, who are the ones doing these bad things, do not obey the law,” Ban says.
Ban compares background checks and gun control to taking away cars from sober people to prevent drunk driving.
“The only thing that is going to stop these criminals is the fear of being hurt or killed by somebody with a gun, whether it is a citizen or the police,” Ban says.
“The police cannot be everywhere at all times…and I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.”
The Power of Education
Looking at other countries with gun control regulations show more laws might not actually solve the issues on hand.
France, who recently suffered hundreds of casualties from a terrorism extremist in Paris has more regulations regarding gun control than the U.S.
According to The Truth About Guns (TTAG), in order for a citizen to own a hand gun smaller than a 45cm with removable magazine, they must “be an active shooting club member and hit the range at least three times a year, go see a doctor every year who attests that you are physically and mentally capable of owning a firearm and prepare for some major paperwork,”.
Statistics show that if a citizen of France were to have a firearm during the attacks in Paris, the causality count would have remained the same.
In 2010, less than 300 justifiable self-defense homicides occurred compared to a total of 8,000 self-defense homicides. Meaning the majority of deaths by firearm were “just because.”
“With each right comes power and with that power comes responsibility. Everything has a limit,” anti-gunner Joel Adkins, 32, Wyandotte, Mich. says.
The right to bear arms is abused every day. According to Gun Violence Archive, almost 50,000 individuals were killed in 2014 with a fire arm – mass shootings included.
This past October, an 11-year old boy used his father’s shotgun to kill his 8 year-old neighbor, MaKayla Dyer when she wouldn’t let him pet her new dog. The boy is being charged with first-degree murder in a juvenile detention center in Tennessee, reported CNN.
“Our culture, whether it is one side or the other, doesn’t educate itself well enough on the issue of guns. Or the whole spectrum,” Adkins says.
“I don’t think it is something talked about enough in a serious matter in this country. It always devolves into this idea of right and wrong. That’s childish.”
A social experiment done by Joey Salads for Petros Comedy shows what elementary school children would do if they were to find a gun at a park playground.
In the video, you hear a young boy say “let’s shoot it,” when he discovers the gun. Another boy, who brings the gun to his mother is repeatedly scolded for trying to grab the gun after being told it was dangerous.
With pro-gun control arguments comes the counter argument of criminals obtaining guns. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 93 percent of firearms used by criminals are obtained illegally.
Gun violence can easily be blamed on criminals and their illegal guns or poor background checks, but Adkins believes there is more to it.
“People want to blame one side or the other, but [gun control] is a multi-facet problem. Better education, mental health checks, trained personnel during mass shootings. More can be done,” Adkins says.
“There is no magic bullet.”
Adam Lanza, the mass gunner at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., killed his mother using her legally registered gun and then proceeded to shoot 26 children and staff at the elementary school.
Due to his age, Lanza could not have purchased a gun on his own.
“I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children and the mental ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measures that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions,” President Obama told ABC7 in 2008.
Regardless of where one stands on the topic of gun control – black, white or a shaded area in between – one thing is common:
“I will do anything and everything to protect myself and my family.”