A Different Perspective on the Gun Debate

Opinion / 21 July 2012 / by Josh Hudnall
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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 of the Constution of the United States of America

That’s what it says. But what if the Founding Fathers were wrong? What if that was simply a bad idea? I think we often look back on the origins of the U.S. with an almost divine reverence, as if our liberties were perfectly crafted, with unlimited foresight, unable to be improved upon. But as magnificent as our Constitution is—and it is—it isn’t perfect.

Is it possible that the world would be better a better place with strict gun laws? No, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But wouldn’t it be harder for people to kill people without the almost effortless trigger of a firearm?

Naturally, in the aftermath of a tragedy such as the one that took the lives of 12 people this week, the gun debate rages. While looking through Instagram I read one comment that struck me: “Should we ban heroin? Human trafficking? Sweatshops? Bombs? Tigers as pets? Depends on the type of ‘civilization’ you want to leave (sic) in.” (A somewhat ironic typo, if you ask me, but still a valid comment.)

What kind of civilization do you want to live in? I can’t say I know my answer in the context of this debate, but I know one thing: the whole of human history is marked by the progressively more effective ways we have invented to kill each other. What would it look if we just didn’t do that anymore? What would happen if we disabused ourselves of the notion that an armed citizenry makes us all safer. I’m not sure, but I know that it didn’t make the people in an Aurora theater any safer that most, if not everyone, in the room legally had the right to have a gun strapped to their side that night.

Full disclosure: I own a pistol for self defense (mostly from bears while camping), but I’m in no way married to the idea that I should have the right to it. I’m asking these questions of myself as well as you.