Gun Rights and Violence in America

The Vermont and US Constitutions are clear. The right to bear arms is protected for our citizens. The purpose of these constitutional provisions was to ensure the existence of a citizen militia to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. This purpose remains valid, although the existence of a functional citizen militia may be lacking. And, there are many other valid reasons to own a gun or weapon. Marksmanship, gun collection, hunting are amongst the multiple safe and reasonable purposes for gun ownership.

Some politicians are opportunistic to use acts of gun violence as a means of gaining popularity and votes. They seek to benefit from the emotional empathy voters share with victims of crimes. In fact, they even try to spread this feeling further, attempting to make you feel the pain those immediately affected feel. These politicians create a new paradigm for vote-getting by jumping on these feelings . Taking advantage of empathetic voters in this way is its own act of violence. It is emotional bullying. We are all victims through this empathy and taking advantage of the victims is a violent and unethical act.

Killings and mass killings using automatic weapons and other guns do seem to be on the rise in the past decade, but the guns are not at fault. Societal and mental health issues are the roots of these acts of violence and the elimination of legitimate gun ownership will do little to correct these issues and stop the violence. The violence will continue with illegal guns, other weapons or means of harming and killing people. The restriction of legal gun ownership will not stop the violence, but will increase the population that is vulnerable to such violence. More restrictive gun laws may actually cause more acts of violence.

Our society should ask the question, “How can this sort of violence be stopped?” There is an organization called “Wave Trust” that offers some thoughts on the causes and prevention of violence in America. In an article found at Wave Trust identifies too essential conditions that lead people to commit acts of violence: a propensity for violence and a trigger. The propensity for violence is the result of a lack of empathy, frequently resulting from childhood experiences. The propensity violence is prevented in a nurturing family environment, and can be corrected later in life with specific actions. Wave Trust offers a specific plan of action for reducing the incidence of lack of empathy.

 The triggers for violence include: alcohol consumption, violence in the media, overcrowding, and a person being disrespected. Of course, there are many more. Our society can make changes that would reduce the incidence of triggers to violence. Prevention of all sorts of violence should be our government's role, but we should be treating the causes not the symptoms.

Violence in America is a problem and it can be reduced. The taking or restricting the use of guns will do nothing to curb violence, it will only change the type of violence. The bearing of arms and keeping of arms for personal protection, hunting or any other legal purpose does not contribute to violence. It is the means by which America gained its freedom.

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