POINT/COUNTERPOINT

Chris Kok

Guns are unnecessary

Back when the Second Amendment was written, a trip into town was much different than it is today. Settlers had to walk through wilderness, constantly on guard for attacks by criminals and from Native Americans who were defending the right to their land. People also didn’t go to the grocery store to buy a steak; they hunted for their food. In the early history of the United States, the possession of a gun was a life or death matter.

Today, when people go to town, they hop in their cars. The chances of being robbed, attacked or murdered on the trip are insignificant. Also, most people do not hunt for survival; they buy their meat at the local grocery store.

The guns available when the Second Amendment was written were rather similar; single-shot rifles or muskets. Now guns include semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Also in terms of arms, there are now WMDs, tanks, fighter jets and so on. There also are non-lethal weapons such as stun guns. The weapons available are completely different than when the Second Amendment was written.

Because of changes in society and technology, the Second Amendment is outdated and is in need of change.

Gun rights activists will make many arguments for the Second Amendment: hunting, self-defense from criminals and self-defense from government.

As far as the hunting argument, I see no reason why hunters should not be allowed to have weapons for hunting.

For self-defense, guns work. One problem is sometimes they work when they are not supposed to. A household with a gun is four times more likely to lead to an accidental shooting than to be used in self-defense. Using guns for self-defense is dangerous and with the presence of non-lethal weapons in the market, guns are not needed for this purpose.

Guns can be used to defend oneself from the government. When the Constitution was written, this was a particularly effective strategy. With the development of new weapons, this is not the case today. Although I could probably afford an M-16, I cannot afford an F-16. I think we all know which weapon would win in a battle. Weapons that are affordable to the general population are ineffective against the weapons a brutal government would have access to.

Also, if an oppressive government took gun rights away, that does not mean guns will disappear. If people are rising up against an oppressive government, weapons will still be available. The government would have a hard time enforcing a weapons ban in that situation.

Third, look at the example of the former USSR. This government had access to amazing amounts of weapons it could have used to attack its citizens when they revolted against the government. In fact, it had used those weapons in the past. But when the people stood up, the government had no choice but to step down. The guns were not enough to keep these people down.

Guns are no longer necessary for survival in the United States. The Second Amendment is therefore not important and can be changed. Not all weapons should be banned, but we should work for gun control.

Chris Kok is a senior international relations major and point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]