Dueling Op-Eds: the Second Amendment
February 5, 2022
Revising our way out of gun violence
The need to use “self-defense” guns is often caused by their own presence.
In August 2020, 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse left his home in Illinois, armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic rifle, and traveled to Kenosha, Michigan, claiming to protect local businesses from protestors. Instead, he killed two people and injured a third.
To understand the impact this situation has on the longstanding debate about the Second Amendment, acknowledge the details of the shooting:
Acknowledge Rittenhouse killed his first victim, unarmed 36-year old Joseph Rosenbaum, because Rosenbaum charged at him in an attempt to take his gun. Rosenbaum would not have done this if Rittenhouse were empty-handed.
Acknowledge his second victim, 26-year old Anthony Huber’s “life threatening weapon” was a skateboard. Huber attempted smashing it on Rittenhouse’s head because Huber witnessed him kill Rosenbaum and wanted to disable the active shooter.
Acknowledge Rittenhouse only shot his third victim, 26-year old EMT Gaige Grosskreutz, because Grosskreutz pointed his own “self-defense” gun at him. Grosskreutz testified he hesitated because he could not bear to take another’s life.
Obviously, Rittenhouse didn’t have the same personal dilemma.
When James Madison first wrote the Second Amendment in 1791, it was because he believed a centralized standing military gave too much power to the federal government. He wrote the amendment so citizens could resist violent oppression by the government.
Now, it is misinterpreted as a justification for civilians to own guns. While repealing the amendment may not be effective gun control, it could be revised to fit modern society.
The Second Amendment could be reworded:
“The right of licensed adults who have been subject to government-mandated background checks and mental health screenings to keep and bear arms no larger nor more powerful than a handgun shall not be infringed unless the individual has ever used their gun(s) as a form of offense instead of only a form of self-defense against similarly-armed threat(s), and has been found guilty of this in a court of law.”
It is not unethical or un-american to strip someone of this constitutional right. By restricting the Second Amendment for some, we strengthen the rights of others to feel safe in our country.
People like Rittenhouse, who killed two unarmed protestors, should not enjoy the Second Amendment.
People like the officers who shot unarmed Jacob Blake, who were the reason the Kenosha protest occurred, should not enjoy the Second Amendment.
And all other people who walk free after maiming or killing others without viable justification should not enjoy the Second Amendment.
Inevitably, some guns will slip through cracks and into the wrong hands. However, revising the Second Amendment contributes towards a reasonable goal: making firearm-related deaths rarer and rarer.