The exact wording of the Second Amendment reads “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.”
This wording has caused political headaches when dealing with the issue of gun control. NRA supporters and gun advocates believe that “gun control” will infringe on their right to keep and bear arms.
But I sincerely believe that gun owners are not buying guns to create their own militias against the government. That idea seems completely absurd in the 21st century. America’s relationship with guns is comparable to few in the world, as other advanced nations such as England, Japan and Australia have enacted forms of gun control, ranging from common sense restrictions such as a written test and training for gun owners to a more extreme removal of all rearms. There is empirical evidence that gun control can have an e ect on gun violence rates, as gun homicide rates are 25.2 times higher in America than in the rest of the world.
In 2016, America carried a gun death rate of 31 deaths for every million people, while England’s was a nearly non- existent rate of one out of every million people. Still, we lag behind other nations because of the stronghold that groups like the NRA have on our government.
When I was in eighth grade, after the Sandy Hook shootings, I was convinced that we would never act in favor of gun control. The tragedy in Parkland, Florida, seemed destined to follow the same path as every other mass shooting: a week of media coverage, politicians backed by the NRA sending their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims of violence, and then ultimately a return to the status quo with nothing done to x the problem.
As a participant in the March for Our Lives rally and an advocate for sensible gun control, I nally see a change on the horizon. The energy was electric at Railroad Park on Saturday, with an estimated crowd of 2,000 taking the streets to march in favor of gun control. Speakers that were younger than me were taking charge. I saw kids there with T-shirts that said “Voter in 2020” and young people with photos of family members that had been lost to gun violence.
There was never a moment where the protests felt dangerous or on the verge of becoming ugly; this was just a crowd who was tired of reliving the same status quo every single time there was a shooting.
It was a beautiful scene of unity. Why is it that this time, there could be a change? I believe the answer is this: America’s youth is leading the charge. For once, we won’t have to rely on our elders to make a change, because we can vote. We can have a voice, and I believe we want change in how America deals with guns.
In the words of Parkland survivor David Hogg, “politicians should get their resumes ready,” because the youth are here to stay and we’re ready to vote.
Jones Willingham, Columnist
[Photo courtesy of Jones Willingham]