The Right to the Protection of Life Itself

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     Since the framing of the United States constitution the Second Amendment has been extremely controversial in the way it is interpreted. This is due in part to many arguing that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own firearms, and that the government should not restrict this right. Other argue that the Second Amendment was meant to apply to states’ rights. Many have also argued that the high levels of violent crime in the United States is due in part by the high levels of gun ownership in the United States. Even though the majority of violent crimes are committed by people who legally can not own a firearm. The fact of the matter is that statistics show that the majority of violent crimes are committed with illegally acquired firearms.

     The majority of firearm owners have firearms as a means of defense for themselves, their family, and their property. At its most fundamental level, self-defense is recognized as a natural pre-existing human right that everyone is entitled to without it being specifically granted by law. This fundamental ideology dates back to the ancient Roman Empire, which recognized an individual’s right to defend himself and his property as morally proper and irrevocable by the government. A sixth-century AD entry in the Roman law code known as Codex Justinianus read as follows: “We grant all persons the unrestricted power to defend to themselves, so that it is proper to subject anyone… to immediate punishment in accordance with the authority granted to all. Let him suffer the death which he threatened and incur that which he intended.” Modern American laws are direct descendants of these early justice systems, and concepts of self-defense as a natural right and the inviolable sanctity of one’s home endure in American legal statues today.

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     Most violent crime in the United States is committed by individuals who legally can not obtain a firearm. In 2013 the FBI reported that violent crime has fallen 14.5% since 2004. At the same time firearm ownership rates have increased. 71% of gunshot victims have priors. 64% of those gunshot victims have also been convicted of a crime. Individuals in that percentage also have an average of eleven priors. 73% of that group also knew their assailant to some extent. Very simply put most violent crimes are between criminals. Legally obtained firearms in the hands of responsible law abiding citizens though help prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes every year or 6,849 a day. An average of 400,000 life-threatening crimes are prevented with legally obtained firearms in the hands of responsible citizens every year as well.

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     There are people who see firearms as the disease plaguing America, but the truth is guns are the cure not the disease. Firearms are a deterrent, statistics show that of the 2.5 million crimes a year that guns help prevent the majority of these result in the gun never being fired and no blood being shed. There are people who believe imposing heavier restrictions to even banning guns would cause crime to drop. In the U.K. where private ownership of firearms is practically forbidden, criminals have and use guns regularly, and sometimes even build their own. The U.K. even with extremely restrictive firearm laws has still seen a 35% jump in gun violence.

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     For violent crime to drop we need to push for more responsible law abiding citizens to be allowed to carry firearms. As the evidence very clearly shows, the more guns the less crime. As common sense shows, no criminal is going to commit a crime if they know they are surrounded by armed law abiding citizens.

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