Why the Second Amendment is more than just about owning a gun

It feels strange writing an article about this issue, I’m not American after all. And considering the reaction that Piers Morgan got was he got involved in this debate on his CNN show, one thing has become clear – Americans don’t like being lectured to about guns from foreigners. But seeing as I’ve had a lifelong affinity with the country, I feel like throwing caution to the wind and offering my two cents.

Growing up, I hated guns, the NRA and violence, especially gun violence. I came of age during the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech. I thought the arguments put forward for anybody being able to own a gun were ridiculous and dangerous. Growing up in a small Irish town where the police don’t carry firearms and in a country that has a peacekeeping Defence Forces as opposed to an offensive Armed Forces, I didn’t see the need for anyone to own let alone carry a gun.

But when I started listening to the other side. When I heard some facts. Began to think about things honestly and rationally, my opinion began to change. A lot of my fear came from the fact that I didn’t grow up around guns, therefore, I didn’t know anything about them. I wasn’t from a farming/landowning background, I didn’t have a family member who was in the army, police, or prison service, I’m not a member of a gun/hunting club and I’m not a descendant of the old, landed gentry. So, in Ireland, more than likely, that means legally, I can’t own a firearm.

As I listened to pro – second amendment pundits like Katie Pavlich and Dana Loesch, I realised that it wasn’t just angry white men who clung to their guns. That gun rights were apart of women’s rights. That if a woman is attacked by man, a firearm is a necessary equalizer in what is always going to be an unfair fight. That women in America had the right to carry a gun for their own protection decades before they even had the right to vote.

I started reading up on the history of gun ownership and how it forms a deep part of the American spirit. From hunting food to survive to sportsmanship to self-defence. That if we applaud the US Founding Fathers and their infinite wisdom when it comes to other rights and freedoms than that same logic must apply to the right to keep and bear arms too.

They knew about man’s natural will to dominate. They understood that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They’d fled tyranny, monarchy, and serfdom as well as religious persecution in Europe to seek out liberty in the new world. That’s why they believed that “a well-regulated militia” was “necessary to the security of a free state”. It is another equalizer – between citizen and government.

It should be telling that any country throughout history that either banned, confiscated, or registered guns from its people fell into totalitarianism with disastrous results for many. Nazi Germany, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Communist Cuba/China/Vietnam, Idi Amin’s Uganda, the USSR, and the Marcos regime in the Philippines. The UK may have reduced shootings when it changed its gun laws after Dunblane, but the gun has now simply been replaced by the knife in British schools.

Australia and New Zealand may have put restrictions and buybacks in place after their own Dunblanes but shooting sprees by extremists have still occurred since (the Christchurch Mosque massacres, the Lindt Café Siege in Sydney). Not to mention how these two countries descended into near police states during the Covid 19 pandemic with overreaching restrictions and punitive measures. A warning to us all, you could say.

As stated previously, Ireland has strict gun laws yet between paramilitaries and gangland we too have rampant gun violence on our streets. While gun control advocates may be well intentioned, those who ignore history are simply doomed to repeat it. You are never going to legislate evil out of this world. If you ban guns, criminals and terrorists will just pick another weapon: homemade bombs, knives, trucks, acid, the list goes on. Are we going to start banning, restricting, or registering every single inanimate object that could be deadly or should we try and get to the root of this malicious intent?

Now despite all that I’ve written so far, I still have never held or shot a loaded, working firearm. Honestly, I hope I never have to. I am a peaceful, law – abiding person. But self defence is a natural, God – given right. I am a citizen not a subject. Strange how a lot of these gun control advocates tend to be wealthy, privileged celebrities and politicians who live in gated communities with 24 hour often ARMED protection and the money to afford bodyguards (again possibly armed) to protect them wherever they go. They will never have to face societal problems like ordinary, working-class people do. And their lives are not more valuable or special than mine or indeed anyone else.

If they really hated guns, they would lead by example and give up these privileges. Furthermore, they could stop the glorying of guns, gun violence and vengeance by taking their own industry to task for the excessive bloodlust depicted on screen and in music lyrics which is often irresponsibly marketed toward impressionable youths. Then and only then am I willing to pay any heed to their pontificating.

The second amendment does not need to be modified to be aligned with the 21st century anymore than the first amendment needs to be altered because they didn’t have social media back in the 18th century. By any logical metric, a well-regulated militia is not going to involve extremists, criminals, minors, people with severe mental disorders or an uneven temperament.

Yes, with any right comes responsibility. If you damage property or wound/kill another human being, you should reasonably be expected to be held accountable. If you abuse/neglect your right as a gun owner, yes it should be revoked. There should be restrictions on the types of weapons an average citizen can buy and how much ammunition you can have at any one time. There is a difference between enlisting in the armed forces and being a civilian. So, the access to certain types of weaponry should be different too.

Firearms should be sold through a licensed seller and mandatory training/testing undertaken. Age requirements are also common sense – it beggars belief that an 18-year-old can buy a military style rifle but not a beer in America.

The second amendment is more than just about owning a gun. It’s about equality, freedom, self-reliance, heritage, and the last stand against the cruelty that exists in the individual and institution.


Laura Buckley is a writer from Co. Tipperary where she lives with her family. She has written for The Burkean and The Conservative Woman. You can follow her on Twitter @BuckleyLaura.  

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