With recent shootings reported in the media and the increase in individuals questioning how culprits are able to get their hands on firearms, the Second Amendment still poses issues in the United States. The debate on guns and gun regulation continues to be hotly debated.
As the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America states: “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.”
This phrase has had much variability of interpretation.
“I absolutely think that the right to bear arms is important,” sophomore business major Michael Kaczenski said, with an American flag sprawled across his dorm-room wall.
Kaczenski is a native of Garnet Valley, Pa. He believes people who want to purchase a gun should be able to.
“The Constitution protects our ability to own guns, so I believe that if someone feels the need to possess a firearm, they should be able to do so,” Kaczenski said.
To some, owning a gun provides the comfort they need to feel safe.
“My dad has a gun that he keeps in the house, locked away safely,” Kaczenski said. “It provides our family peace of mind knowing that we have that extra layer of protection in case of emergency, whatever it may be. We’re responsible gun owners.”
While family’s like Kaczenski’s underwent a background check when purchasing their gun, as required through a Federal Firearms Licensee, many individuals are able to bypass this step by buying a gun online, through a gun show or through some private sales.
Freshman student Samairr Devlin shares a similar point of view as Kaczenski, but lives in a very different situation. Devlin resides in North Philadelphia, one of the most violent sectors of a city that has a crime rate more dangerous than the average crime rate in the United States. It is very different than the suburban area in which Kaczenski lives.
“Where I’m from, we call it ‘The Trenches,'” Devlin said of North Philadelphia. “Get it? Because it’s like a war zone.”
“There is a gun in my house at all times,” Devlin said. “We need it because you never know what’s going to happen next around there. Hearing gunshots in and around the neighborhood is not uncommon.”
Despite the apparent necessity of possessing a gun for the purpose of protection, many people still question the validity of anti-regulatory positions toward guns.
“I would say that I’m a supporter of common-sense gun regulation,” sophomore political science major Alex Garces said. “I don’t think people should be able to walk into a gun show and buy a firearm with no background check whatsoever, especially a military grade weapons. Background checks on gun purchases could be a useful way of deterring gun violence.”
Others had a more critical stance on the Second Amendment.
“I know that the Constitution protects the right to bear arms and I respect that as the law of the land right now,” junior English major Joseph Kramer said. “However, the second amendment was also written at the same convention that decided African Americans were worth three-fifths of a human. That kind of outdated train of thought is what makes me think that maybe we should consider revisiting the second amendment.”