This article was written by 13-year-old Amanda Embree and
submitted to the Free-Market.net
Liberty Essay Contest. As a result, Amanda won a prize -- a KeepAndBearArms.com
Life Membership. She's our newest and youngest Life Member. Feel free to send
her a note to welcome her to the team. --Angel Shamaya, KABA Founder/Executive
Guns: A Wrong or Our Right?
by Amanda Embree
The second amendment to the constitution of the United States of America says
that "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." Many argue that this is a collective right given to the
National Guard, and not the individual citizens. Webster's collegiate dictionary
defines militia thus:
"A body of citizens enrolled as a regular military
force for periodical instruction, discipline, and drill, but not called into
active service except in emergencies. In the United States, it includes all
able-bodied male citizens between eighteen and forty-five . . . "
the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Verdugo that when the Constitution and its
amendments use the phrase "the people" it can always be interpreted
"individuals." This would include "the right of the people to
keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The U.S. Code defines militia
in Title 10, section 311 as "all able-bodied males at least 17 years of
age...." The second amendment means the citizens.
With their first argument debunked, gun control advocates would have us
believe that guns are dangerous and that anyone owning one is a potential
criminal. They insist, then, that we must keep guns only in the hands of
policemen and the military. One major problem is that criminals, by definition,
disobey the law. According to The New American magazine, during one period of 10
years, about 16,000 guns were stolen from U.S. Military arsenals, and in one
year enough rifles, machine guns, bullets, gas masks, grenades, etc. were stolen
from the Los Angeles National Guard to arm a combat unit.
Even supposing we could get all guns from everyone including the police and
military, criminals could make their own. Home-made guns, also known as
"Zip" guns, can be made from readily available materials such as radio
antennas, gas pipes, rubber bands, door latches, and nails. At a high school in
Jerome, Idaho, in June of 1988, a 15-year-old boy died when he was accidentally
hit by a gun he had made from a music stand and a ball bearing. In the Marion,
Illinois top security penitentiary, officials found "an extremely
sophisticated zip gun made from metal tubing, tape, a light bulb filament,
flashlight batteries taken from a radio, and a toggle switch." The gun's
hitting power was reportedly equal to that of a .25-caliber pistol (Parade
magazine, September 28, 1980). Two murderers escaped from a maximum security
prison in San Quentin, California using a machine gun they had built while
serving time. The list goes on and on.
If we can't prohibit guns, then control lobbyists will suggest waiting
periods. The problem is that waiting periods do not prevent crime and can keep
protection out of the hands of those who need it. The Kansas City Police
Department found that, on average, murder stemming from a domestic dispute was
committed after the murderer had already visited the victim five times. Murder
is usually planned ahead of time, so a waiting period won't prevent it. A
Hollywood actor named David Rappaport committed suicide 15 days after he bought
a .38-caliber revolver. The 15-day waiting period in California didn't stop him.
Guns have been called "the great equalizer" with reason. The
elderly and invalids can handle them and protect themselves from stronger
attackers. Robert J. Kukla said in his book Gun Control (Stackpole Books, 1972),
"Prior to the development of firearms it was the most muscular and brutal
-- the man with a club, ax, or sword who ruled our roads and streets and at
their whim terrorized our homes. Today, a paunchy intellectual or a dainty and
delicate woman, with courage and determination, is more than the equal of any
brute who ever trampled the sands of a Roman arena. The difference is a
In 1982 the head of households in Kennesaw, Georgia (except convicted
criminals and those with religious objections) were required to own at least one
gun and ammunition. That year incidents of burglary dropped 73% in Kennesaw. In
1991 and 1992 combined there were three robberies, and from the passing of the
law until ten years later there were no murders. A University of Massachusetts
study found that criminals' fear of armed citizens halts an average of 50,000
crimes each year.
The fiercest criminal from whom individual citizens need protection is a
government which becomes overbearing. We are free in America today because the
colonists fought against King George's tyranny using the guns that the king
tried to take from them. The Alamo defenders used their own weapons when the
Mexican government violated the Constitution of 1824 and started to take away
the settlers' freedoms. More recently, our government used force to take Elian
Gonzalez by overcoming his unarmed protectors and dispersing unarmed protesters.
There is no guarantee that it won't happen again, because a government can do
whatever it wants to if the citizens are unarmed.
If we are to keep our freedoms we must keep our guns.