While many Americans doubtless grow tired of the ceaseless argument surrounding gun control, this debate will continue to plague us as long as we exercise our constitutional right to arm ourselves, and, yes, we do have such a right. That said, there is little reason to exclude practicality from ongoing discussions about how we interpret our Founding Fathers’ words; if we were to conduct a minimal amount of research, we would find that even the founders were practical in their interpretation of the amendment in question. For example, we can easily prove that Washington and his colleagues historically withheld firearms from slaves, which indicates that they believed some restrictions on guns were, in fact, necessary.
Contemporary Americans probably seldom consider the aforesaid historical attempts to restrict access to these weapons, so they, avoiding crucial contextualization, take the constitutional amendment at face value. Perhaps if these citizens had an awareness of historical bans on the purchase of firearms, however, they would be more inclined to support some measure of gun control. If they knew, for instance, that our founders did not extend gun rights to loyalists, they, seeing the parallels between loyalists and suspected terrorists, would not so quickly dismiss proposed gun control laws. After all, these same citizens seem to put a large amount of confidence in our Founding Fathers, and we can’t minimize their loyalty to the Fathers when discussing such an inflammatory issue.
Though the history of gun laws in America is relevant to the conversation, today’s Americans must also look beyond the historical implementation of said laws. Simply stated, while our founders certainly had what we would call good intentions, they lacked the omniscience required to know just how a rather inflexible amendment would affect an ever-changing world. Firearms were admittedly much simpler two centuries ago. The AR-15, which was recently used to gun down tens of club-goers, was nonexistent, and the founders could not have imagined that weaponry would ever become so deadly. Yes, Alexander Hamilton, were he present, could attest to the fact that simple firearms can fatally injure their targets, but, logistically speaking, assault rifles are capable of much more damage than some of their dated cousins. Not only that, but an array of accompanying gadgets which make old gun scopes look like children’s toys are now available to gun owners, allowing shooters to maximize their damage.
Regardless of our political affiliations, we can surely agree that something here is amiss. No, our right to own firearms is not the source of this recent controversy; our strange aversion to gun control laws that could waylay potential mass shooters takes the credit there. While we should always remember to campaign for our rights as Americans, we should also remember to campaign just as fervently for our safety. We cannot, after all, enjoy many rights if we are too afraid to leave our homes in order to pursue that happiness which our Founding Fathers promised.