An Endless Debate

by Zoë Perry

A list published by Time Magazine in 2012 stated that 15 out of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States, followed by Finland with a total of two shootings.

After the Newtown massacre, the gun-policy debate started all over again. Many Europeans can’t understand this. For them the much disputed second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution incorporates rights and regulations, whereas U.S. opinion is mostly polarized between either just giving rights or just regulating.

“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.”

However, the argument over the interpretation of this one sentence has been going on for decades. There are only a few Supreme Court Cases (e.g. District of Columbia v. Heller or United States v. Miller) concerning it and even those are much debated.

One fact is clear: The second Amendment does not preclude gun control, even though that is what the National Rifle Association (NRA) tries to make everyone believe. Their strategy ranges from their slogan “Stand and Fight” to an impudent video in which they accuse Obama of being “just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security”. The right-wing pro-gun advocates cannot be convinced of the contrary because they accommodate every situation to their world-view.  A massacre in an elementary school? Well, that’s just what happens if you don’t have armed teachers. An 8-year old who kills his mate with his father’s Glock pistol playing Cowboys and Indians? We have never denied that you have to keep your gun in a safe place.

Taking this into account, it would be wrong to start asking again how many more mass shootings have to happen until the majority of the Americans will opt for stricter gun-control. The U.S. has seen 15 in the last 50 years and it has not changed the situation drastically. In the U.S., liberty is sacred. Sadly, it is so sacred that many people would rather take the risk of (their) kids being shot by a mentally ill individual than backing off and letting a tiny fraction of it go. The gun rights debate has been going on for a long, long time. Why should it end differently this time?

Photo courtesy of Joseph Durning/Durning 3D



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