It is difficult to compare the lives of our country’s most beloved historical figures, but if there
were one factor that connected the lives of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, John F.
Kennedy, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King Jr., it would be their swift deaths by portable firearms.
These events have left permanent impressions on the United States’ culture and have significantly affected
the views of many people concerning gun violence. Other events such as the shootings at Virginia Tech,
Columbine High School, and the Beltway sniper attacks have further catalyzed outrage and debate over gun
control in our nation. Sadly, this debate is still very heated and our country does not have a definite solution
for our huge problem regarding civilian ownership of weapons. The fact that what happened in 1865, when
President Lincoln was murdered, could still happen today should send a shiver of fear up every American’s
spine. There are many loopholes in the legal system regarding how one may obtain a weapon.
Unfortunately, these laws just aren’t good enough. The “homicidal rate in the United States…is higher than
that of other developed countries, with firearms used to commit 68% of the 14,860 homicides in the United
States during 2005” (wikipedia.com 1). Firearms were used in 16,907 suicides in the United States during
2004 (1). The gravity of these statistics should greatly change the opinions of the National Rifle
Association, the main opponent in the fight for gun control. Through its infiltration into the political
system, bribery, and misinterpretation of the second amendment, the NRA has poisoned the minds of our
society. My goal is to protest the idea that every citizen has the right to bear arms, and in doing so, I will
battle the NRA’s outrageous justifications and will hopefully shatter the ignorance that is the pro-gun
The beginnings and basis of the gun debate rests in the 2
Amendment of the Bill of Rights,
which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” (opensecrets.org 1).
This right does not
“extend to ownership of military-style firearms that are otherwise known as assault weapons” (1). The
amendment also declares "a well regulated militia" as "being necessary to the security of a free State"
(wikipedia.com 1). The NRA uses these passages to their advantage, claiming that the laws restricting gun
ownership infringes on the people’s right “to keep and bear arms”. However, the Bill of Rights, like most
historical documents, can only be studied in its historical context. It was written by and for frontiersmen