The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Ashes Roy, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.
In an astounding turn of events, two journalists were shot dead by an unidentified gun man, while reporting live for a local channel at Roanoke, Virginia. While the motive behind the killing remains unknown at the time of writing this post, but this brings back the much debated topic of the Gun Control Act of the United States into the limelight and its repercussions.
Gun control act and the politics behind it, has been a major headache for the lawmakers of the US Senate. It originates from the second amendment of the US constitution, where it states 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.
A research poll by Rasmussen Reports in 2013 claimed that 65 percentage of Americans believe that the second amendment gives them the right to posses a weapon, for the purpose of self defence, against tyranny. This again originates from a different school of thought where it’s proclaimed that holding arms is the last measure against the government supported tyranny. The logic holds back to the days when a colonial America was under the rule of Great Britain and gave birth to the concept of civil war and gaining independence. Various gun rights supporters champion this cause by citing the example of the holocaust victims of the third reich. Being unarmed due to the gun control act regulated by Nazi Germany, the unfortunate victims were unable to provide resistance during the second world war. This theory is one of the most opinionated thoughts of the gun right supporters, the others being self defence.
On the other hand, there have been numerous incidents which include shootout at schools, movie theatres ,suicides where many innocents have been killed by gun wielding assailants who turned out to be people of the same strata, compared to radical terrorists. The advocates of the gun control act argue that a free-for-all firearm ownership increases this fear among the society where nobody feels safe. The logic of self defence is belittled by the fact that now when everyone holds a gun, none of them will be willing to believe that they are safe from one another, knowing that the other person holds a gun as well. Other than the above incidents, there has been many assassination attempts on the US Presidents, of which the most famous victims are Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy. These incidents gave birth to the National Firearm Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 which regulates the firearm industry and the firearm owners.
Of late, this debate between gun control supporters and the gun rights supporters has turned into a major fiasco as none of the parties believe the interpretation of law is correct when it comes to holding a firearm. They argue that a law abiding citizen will feel safe holding a firearm where as the same firearm held by an anti-social shall make the society an unsafe place to live. It’s an important decision that needs to be made by the people of the United States that whether they want to live in a society where every single person suspects the person standing next to him or they want to live in a society free from gun toting madcaps. And whatever the people decide, let that become the law.