The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Gun Control Restricts Constitutional Rights

3 min read
By DREW FREAKLEY In my mind, nothing says America quite like “guns.” In recent news, there has been a lot of talk about gun control.


In my mind, nothing says America quite like “guns.” In recent news, there has been a lot of talk about gun control.

This argument has always been a hot-button issue ever since the fatal Columbine shootings, but it has once again started to gain momentum due to many recent events.

Just in the last two years, there have been major occurrences of gun violence, such as Jared Loughner’s rampage in Arizona in 2011 and James Holmes’ shooting at a Batman movie screening earlier this year. It seems to me that, now, with all this national media attention, it is time to seriously discuss our gun laws.

I, like any other American, want to be able to walk city streets safely and feel secure in my home. We Americans also want our Constitutional rights protected, and to have the ability to defend ourselves against the erosion of our civil liberties. In particular, everyone wants free and equal treatment under the law, as our Constitution guarantees. In that sense, we must remember that America’s millions of gun owners are people too. Those of us who don’t own firearms don’t understand this restriction of liberty like those who do own firearms.

Law-abiding citizens do not and should not need to ask anyone’s permission or approval to engage in a peaceful activity. Gun ownership, by itself, harms no other person and cannot morally justify criminal penalties.

All this talk of restriction and “stricter” gun laws reminds me of the same rhetoric that was thrown around during the prohibition era. Those who argue for gun control are much like the prohibitionists of the early 20th Century.

Their attempt to outlaw liquor did nothing but make bootleggers go outside the system to obtain their goods, resulting in a rise in criminal activity. The same would happen to those looking to obtain a firearm. By adding a criminal element, gun restriction would actually make firearms exponentially more dangerous. By making liquor illegal, the government spawned organized crime across the country and corrupted the criminal justice system. Today’s war on drugs has had exactly the same results.

Prohibition didn’t stop liquor use, the drug laws don’t stop drug use, and making gun ownership illegal will not stop gun ownership. When we start restricting this constitutional freedom, the only victim is the honest citizen whose civil rights are thrown out the window.

We must always remember that people must be held accountable for their actions. Gun ownership goes hand in hand with personal responsibility. If an individual acts responsibly, then what cause do we have to restrict their constitutional right to bear arms?

If a person commits a crime with a gun, then I too support the severest penalties for them. It is the role of our judicial process to hold the perpetrator of a crime responsible for their own negligence.

That is why it is important that, rather than banning guns or putting restrictions in place, our government and local police encourage gun education and training programs. A responsible, well-armed and trained citizen is the best protection against domestic crime and the threat of foreign invasion. America’s foundering fathers knew that, and it is still true today.