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An Argument in Favor of the Right to Bear Arms, Speech Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1121

Speech

The right to bear arms is undoubtedly one of the most controversial social issues within contemporary America. Within the last fifteen years, the American public has been witness to a number of incidents that have raised this issue to a status of prominence in the public consciousness, from the Columbine High School killings, to the Virginia Tech shootings, to the so-called “Batman” shootings of this past summer. Those opposed to gun control have cited these and other similar incidents as clear arguments as to why citizens should not be allowed to bear arms; however, I will argue that what such incidents really reveal – or rather cover – is a greater concern. There is a clear difference between the acts of a few random psychopaths and the condemnation of a basic right, one that is has been guaranteed according to the historical letter of the constitution. One has to take the bigger picture, in other words, to understand why the right to bear arms remains a relevant right in our age: what this right means is that the individual possesses the right to defend him or herself in the face of danger. To take away this right from the individual would be equivalent to taking away the right of the individual to defend his or her own life: to accept this position, I can only suggest, is an absolute absurdity. It means taking away an individual’s autonomy at the most basic level, that of survival.

One of the most common reasons to argue why individual citizens should not be allowed to bear arms is to cite the various atrocities that have been committed in the United States at the hands of individual assassins. The clear problem with this argument is that it relies upon the minority of cases to define the majority: in other words, when one argues against the right to bear arms on the basis of anomalous and rare atrocities committed with firearms, one is taking the exception as the norm. For example, statistical studies show that Americans which currently carry arms are  in fact less likely to commit crimes than citizens who are not legally registered to carry fire arms. More specifically, Willam Sturdevant, in a study conducted on behalf of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association website, noted that, and I quote, “the general public is 5.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent offenses and 13.5 times more likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses, than concealed carry weapon permit holders.” In other words, those who are legally registered to carry firearms are more likely to uphold the law than those who are not: the potentiality to commit crimes, in short, has absolutely no connection with the fact that one is registered to carry fire-arms. The cases in which some citizens have committed atrocities using firearms is therefore an anomaly, and not sufficient to ban the carrying of fire-arms as a whole.

Furthermore, this is clearly an issue of allowing individuals to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being. By forbidding fire-arms one is essentially deferring their individual safety to another authority: we are asking someone else, whom we do not know, to take responsibility and care for our own lives. Why should this be the case, when the potential exists that we can defend our own lives? Why should we defer the right to defend ourselves, our own intimate lives, to another body, especially a government body? The 1997 National Crime Victimization Study makes this point as clear as the light of the sun: in this survey, and I quote, it was found that “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.” In other words, the carrying of a firearm, according to statistical data, has shown that the individual is more safe than when he or she is without a firearm: forbidding the individual to carry firearms would be the same as increasing their chances of victimization.

Furthermore, the carry of firearms may in fact prevent the very atrocities that an extreme minority of private citizens carries out. It has been cited by various studies, for example Charles Branas, that atrocities such as the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres could have been stopped if an individual at the site would have been armed. This is only common sense: waiting for the authorities to arrive means that one has to wait for the shooter in question to utilize all his ammunition and enact his carnage to his own desire; bearing arms means that the law-abiding citizen may potentially prevent these acts of horror.

From a greater perspective, the right to bear arms was already anticipated by the founding fathers. To take away this right, therefore, would be a violation of American law as it is set forth in the Constitution. As the Second Amendment 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.” To take away the right to bear arms is a transgression of constitutional law itself: we can only then talk about a slippery slope argument in this context: by eliminating this right, what other Constitutional rights may then also be eliminated, for example, the right to free speech? We have to maintain the basic freedoms that the Constitution established; eliminating the right to bear arms would go towards eliminating the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution in totality.

In summary, the right to bear arms appears justified from multiple perspectives. Certainly, atrocities are committed with guns, but statistics show that these are anomalies: hence, judging the majority by the minority is a clear logical fallacy. Furthermore, by forbidding the individual to bear arms one is basically forbidding the individual from protecting their individual life: how can this be justified? In addition, bearing arms may potentially help others in the cases when such atrocities do happen. Lastly, from a historical and legal perspective, the Constitution clearly states that individual citizens have the right to bear arms: to forbid the latter would essentially be an attack on the freedoms that are provided to us in the Constitution, thus threatening us with a new form of tyranny and loss of individual liberty.

Works Cited

Branas, Charles et al., “Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault,” American Journal of Public Health, Nov. 2009

Kleck, Gary. Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, 1997

Sturdevant, William E. “An Analysis of the Arrest Rate of Texas Concealed Handgun License Holders As Compared to the Arrest Rate of The Entire Texas Population,” www.txchia.org, Sep. 1, 2000

U.S. Constitution. “Second Ammendment.”

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