Americans must face that the world has changed


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The Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788. The Second Amendment, ratified in December 1791, provides U.S. citizens the right to bear arms.

On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, three students were arrested after a lockdown at Roosevelt High School due to reports of threats being made by the aforementioned individuals as well as the mention of a possible gun on campus.

However, the weapons in question were simply theatre props and the lockdown was lifted after a span of close to two hours. There were no casualties.

This is an example of how fear has shaped not only school procedures but American society as well. With the number of mass shootings increasing in America, debates on possible solutions to lessen the death toll are becoming more frequent. The underlying question is simple – how can we keep students, schools, and the general public safe and happy?

Of the many proposed solutions, two seem to dominate political debates: loose gun control, as primarily supported by conservatives; and stricter gun control, supported by more liberals.

To summarize the latter’s general beliefs, strict gun laws, specifically those requiring in-depth background checks, training, and mental evaluations before receiving a firearm, are likely to limit the number of mass shootings. Currently, limiting the specific type of weapons that can be purchased to handguns, rifles, and semi-automatic weapons is the policy, created with the hope that it could drastically lower the rates of mass shootings. 

However, these policies each possess flaws that are impossible to overlook. For example, using mental evaluations to regulate gun control would require written policy defining what is“mentally stable,” which is a challenge in its own right, as well as the debate over whether mentally reformed citizens can still practice their second amendment. As for limiting types of weapons, this has been proven to not deter mass shootings completely due to the use of bump stocks as seen during the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 that claimed 58 lives. The use of policies such as these simply can’t prevent shootings where bump stocks, illegal weaponry, or citizens with a lack of prior criminal record would be involved in the shooting.  

As for the conservative point of view, the general belief is that relaxed gun laws that allow open carry policies will allow individuals to defend themselves. For example, should a school shooting occur and the teachers or administration are armed, the shooter can be more easily stopped or even deterred from shooting in the first place. This of itself offers many complications as far as safety in not only public schools but any public location.

To explain, though a large number of armed civilians could fight to maintain the peace in a state of panic, such as a shooting, the regularity of guns would only increase the frequency of gun violence and mass shootings in America. Regardless of who is armed or how quickly the shooter is stopped, more guns are proportional to greater gun violence. There is no real solution to be found in either of these ideals, each has the potential to have devastating consequences on that state of safety in schools and in American society. With that being said, perhaps the solution to gun violence in America is not dependent on policy but rather people

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  This clearly outlines the founder’s intent when drafting the Constitution and delegating freedoms to the American people. The right to bear arms was established under the assumption that those in America at the time were virtuous enough to inherit that freedom.

The truth is that we as Americans must face that the world has changed.

We are not all virtuous people and, in turn, are partially undeserving of specific freedoms. The solution to gun violence in America is not to be found in any policy or law. The solution resides in once again meeting the founder’s intent and expectations on what it means to be a resident of the United States of America, given these freedoms. As an American, we must gain a stronger sense of morality. Some may see this as a solution as too simplistic, but perhaps that shows how innate or natural the idea is.

Schools, families, churches, and other locations in which people are congregated in a state where their ideas can be heard have a responsibility to inspire this morality. Controversy over freedom or safety will always plague American politics, but by choosing morality, and inspiring virtuous ideals in others, those controversies become irrelevant. America has to be the kind of society where those who are honest, good, and virtuous have a moral obligation to spot those who are not and take the steps necessary in order to aid them.