The American people have come to believe that constitutionally guaranteed rights are inalienable. I think the continued espousal of the second amendment rights means it’s time to challenge that notion. The second amendment was meant for a time when America was made up of isolated and unprotected settlements. The Wild West was a desperate time, it was every man for himself, and clearly gender equality was inconceivable. However, in the 21st century there is no rational reason to bear arms routinely. There might be a rational to take up arms in self defence but then one would have to be under threat. To be under that kind of threat one would have to be living in a failed state or a complete collapse of law and order.
There remain serious questions about the justification for not having more rigorous control of gun ownership. However, the real issue that is probably even more concerning is the mentality that drives Americans to believe individual gun ownership is required to ensure their personal safety and overall wellbeing. The idea that guns are needed to protect a way of life seems so completely out of step with modern day sensibilities. There is little or no evidence to suggest that even a significant number of people have required a gun for any form of self defence. Nor can it be said that open carry policies create anything other than an atmosphere of heightened fear and anxiety. It does appear that at this point in time gun ownership has created a less safe and more dangerous environment for all law abiding citizens.
Relaxed gun control regulation has led to the adoption of related policies that have created an unsafe environment. ‘Open carry’ policies seem a clear provocation to aggression and intimidation. ‘Stand your ground’ policies certainly hark back to lawless frontier times. It almost appeals to some sort of wild eyed savagery that is reminiscent of prehistoric times. Access to semi automatic weapons is hardly a proportional response to a desire for self protection. It all comes down to a circular argument justifying gun ownership by citing protection against criminal entities. However, criminals are so well armed because of the free access to guns, legal or otherwise. This means it’s harder for law enforcement to contain criminal violence therefore making it necessary for individuals to own weapons to protect themselves.
An inalienable right should be one that is required for sustaining individual life and dignity; as well as protecting social order. Gun ownership in modern times cannot be said to meet that standard. The mentality that puts gun ownership above a right to life is one which suggests a slide towards stateless lawlessness. The onus for law enforcement and protection of liberty cannot be solely down to individual perception of safety. For as long as it isn’t possible to guarantee that owners of guns will use them responsibly there is a need to change the mindset that everyone should be entitled to own a gun. The enjoyment of shooting cannot override the threat of innocent people being shot and murdered without provocation.