Are Gun Rights more important than my Life?

BY GORDON SILVER

In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers avowed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” These are powerful words for they help to establish a platform upon which all democratic societies may be built and suggest we are all entitled to a certain quality of life.

However, my right to stay alive is in serious jeopardy by gun slingers who claim to have the right to bear arms according to the second amendment. The idea of gun rights was for a standing militia, and it is clear from these mass shootings that self-appointed militia have developed in our country. This conflict manifests itself over and over in the senseless mass shootings that seem to occur with regularity. The USA has more mass shootings than any other advanced country. In one study, it has been estimated that 31% of public mass shootings occur in the U.S., although it has only 5% of the world's population. And every time a mass murderer strikes, he deprives numerous law-abiding folks of their unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.

The love of guns in the United States has been well documented, as have multiple mass shootings across the country such as those in Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown, and Virginia. The ease of access to guns in American society comes at a shocking cost.

Mass shootings drive headlines and political responses, but they comprise only 2 percent of gun deaths. Every year in the USA, a firearm is used in nearly 500,000 crimes, resulting in the deaths and injuries of more than 110,000 people. But the gun-lobby has effectively silenced the information on national gun violence research by encouraging legislation that restricts data collection of gun violence. Therefore, they deprive us citizens, policymakers and public health experts of potentially life-saving facts, which is our unalienable right.

The motor vehicle, like the firearm, is a quintessential American object. It expresses values of freedom, individuality and power. And like guns, automobiles were once a major threat to public health and safety. It is time to insist that we ought to probably test people and make sure there is as much licensing and regulation around a gun as there is around an automobile.

After the Charleston church shooting, President Obama said, "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency." After the December 2015 San Bernardino attack, Obama renewed his call for reforming gun-safety laws and said that the frequency of mass shootings in the United States has "no parallel in the world".

“The right to keep and bear arms” from the Second Amendment of the US Constitution is the regular defense of current gun laws. This right is inherited from the militias who rebelled against the British during the American Revolution, and it allows Americans to own and use a firearm to this day.
The Founding Fathers wanted to protect their newly independent nation from the tyrannical rule of the ‘old world'. With the constitution in one hand and a rifle in the other, pioneers claimed the Wild West, and a new kind of citizenship was born.

But this gun culture was then exaggerated by the National Rifle Association, which has helped stoke sales of guns with a series of sensational fear-mongering ads aimed at taking 'gun owners' rights down to gut level.' The ads used garish photos, inflammatory copy, and hyped headlines to push for the use of firearms for self-defense. Typical captions included: 'Should you shoot a rapist before he cuts your throat?' and 'If you're attacked on your porch, do you want your neighbors to be opposed to gun ownership or members of the NRA?' It’s about time for us to demand from the NRA and their stooges, the gun manufacturers, what we demanded from the big tobacco companies. Legislation which would force them to advertise gun safety and the dangers of not reporting mental illness or identifying unsafe behaviors.

But every US citizen who acquires a gun claiming his second amendment right is also taking away my right to remain alive! A citizen’s right to life has greater merit than anyone’s right to own property, especially a gun. It’s time we choose to honor our forefathers Declaration, that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.