Op-Ed: Guns and Your Rights

Louis Guidone, Staff Writer

Firearms are a very misunderstood and controversial topic. The plethora of information and misinformation leads to misunderstanding. The gun laws and regulations are not plain and simple. The first laws date back to the Bill of Rights of 1791 as the foundation of firearm laws in America. The second amendment reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, to the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” By this logic, any and all laws restricting law-abiding citizens from owning any firearm, is an infringement and unconstitutional. Firearms laws have no ground to stand on; they are a house built without a foundation.

The laws I’m going to discuss are vague and confusing at best, so let’s explain some terms. Let’s start with the federal assault weapons ban. The federal assault weapons ban was a law that lasted from 1994 to 2004, banning many “assault weapons” as well as “large” capacity magazines from civilian use and ownership. That’s a lot to digest, especially what defines an assault weapon. An “assault weapon” is a made up term used by lawmakers to push their own agenda. The lawmakers often define “assault weapon” as a semi automatic rifle or shotgun being able to accept detachable magazines and having one or more “features,” including a stock that moves, a pistol grip or any muzzle accessory (only in NY). Possessing an “assault weapon” is a felony in several states, meaning that you can be a felon if you have the grip meant to be on your rifle, which can be legally purchased and owned in the majority of the U.S. If you want to talk about infringements, here is a prime example. Who these laws are meant for is beyond me, as it does not prevent criminals from owning guns, or buying guns. It only restricts the law-abiding citizens from expressing their rights, a clear infringement. But these are all laws that have expired right? So Americans are in the clear, right? Quite the opposite. Americans rights are being infringed upon in many states, and almost all of these states are leading blue states, such as New York and California.

Without delving deeper into the convoluted firearms laws, let’s talk about the effect these laws have on Americans. The second amendment is the only right that protects each and every other right described in a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” What is meant by this is that words do not guarantee freedoms, only actions. When citizens are armed, the power is in their hands and governments cannot implement tyrannical rule, foreign or domestic, without rebellion from the patriots. The idea of maintaining freedoms is the fundamental base of the second amendment. The fact that guns are used for sport, hunting, and even collecting has no bearing on the universal right of all Americans, to defend our freedoms.

Now to speak on the common arguments against the second amendment. The common argument is that “military weapons” don’t belong in civilian hands. This is a rather misinformed argument if you understand what the second amendment is meant for. It would be much easier to argue that military weapons should be in the hands of civilians to “even the playing field” so to say. Although I wish we can live in a world where we don’t need need such rights, to deny that they are vital to maintain a truly free society without the looming threat of tyranny is simply naive.