The Wild West, Americans and their Guns: The American Fundamental Right to Bear Arms

Photo of Ranger John Reynolds Hughes (The Real Lone Ranger) and other Lawmen, Unknown Photographer, 1886

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Second Amendment

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.

The famous western radio and later television series entitled GunSmoke is an iconic film that perpetuated the American myth of the old west. It celebrates the quick drawing Marshall Dillon who settles justice on his own terms by shooting and killing all of the bad guys. American movies celebrate and glorify gun toting heroes, the carefree attitude of the cowboy and his gun. However, guns in reality do not always bring about such a positive outcome. GunSmoke Episode

In contrast, an NPR article by Leila Fidel from November 11, 2018 was entitled “Reporting On Mass Shootings: A Familiar Heartbreaking Script” The article highlights the recent slaughter of 12 innocent people at a bar and grill in Thousand Oaks, California, characterizing it as an “all too familiar script.” Even though these scenes are becoming common place, that does not take from the fact that innocent lives were once again taken, all too soon. People lost friends and loved ones and have to pick up the pieces and figure out how to go on living. When mass shootings take place such as the ones in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, questions and discussions resurface such as “why” and “how could we let this happen again?” Here is a list of mass shootings in US from a 2018 New York Times article

A hot button topic in the history of the United States is centered on the right of American citizens to have guns (lots of guns and as many as one wants). Supporters of gun control push for stricter firearm laws. This includes implementing more stringent background checks and longer waiting periods for those purchasing guns. They also push for mandatory child safety locks and a limit of one handgun purchase per month. They further push for raising the legal age limit for gun ownership to age 21 from the current age of 18. Advocates of gun rights argue that the above mentioned kind of legislation infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Some people read the second amendment as their American right to bear as many arms as they so wish, as long as they have a permit. With the rise in gun violence and mass shootings this has been a contentious topic. The United States is “one of 6 countries that make up more than half of gun deaths worldwide.” That is, “half of all gun-related deaths in 2016 occurred in six nations — Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala” (, 2018).

Has gun violence become a part of our identity? With the proliferation of shows like The Walking Dead and classic movies like The Godfather or even the popularity of combat video games like Assassin’s Creed violence does seem to be ingrained in the very fabric of what is means to be American. Perhaps these forms of entertainment hearken back to the romanticism of the old west and the myth of the fearless lawman, as well as outlaws who were immortalized by their quick draw of the gun. The golden age of radio and television was full of westerns that glorified the cowboy and depicted native americans as savages who deserved to be shot and killed.

Perhaps our obsession with guns comes from a rising fear of people who are different from us (Racially, ethnically, culturally or economically), what scholars call a fear of “the other.” Or perhaps it is a legitimate concern for increasingly unsafe neighborhoods and more firearms are necessary. The old adage goes something like this “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” But if people did not have access to the guns in the first place they would not be able to commit mass murders or kill people to settle a simple dispute.

This is an important topic for discussion in social studies classrooms, as future generation of citizens in the US will have to figure out how to solve the rising complexity of issues surrounding gun violence that comes in the form of: Mass shootings, African Americans being killed by law enforcement and a rise in street violence. Below are some lesson plans, articles and links teachers can use to foster lessons and discussions about the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

The Culture of Violence in the American West Myth versus Reality

Second Amendment Lesson Plan

Teaching the Bill of Rights: The Second Amendment

Interactive Constitution

California Bar Shooting Leaves 12 dead, Including Sheriff’s Sergeant, Police Say

The Terrible Numbers That Grow with Each Mass Shooting

Mass Shootings in the United States

There’s a Gun for Every American. But Less Than a Third Own Guns.

8 Charts That Explain America’s Gun Culture

American Guns in Ten Charts

How US Gun Culture Compares With the World in Five Charts



  1. Kelsey Hiller

    1. I think this is a very important issue in the world today. Gun violence has affected many peoples lives. I do believe there needs to be more laws passed in order to receive a gun. I think it is to easy for anyone to get their hands on a gun today. It is important that schools educate young students on gun control. It is sad what the world is coming to with guns.

    2. In the article you stated,”Perhaps our obsession with guns comes from a rising fear of people who are different from us (Racially, ethnically, culturally or economically), what scholars call a fear of “the other.”” I totally agree with this. I believe people are scared of other races and feel they have to protect themselves. Throughout our course we discussed racism and I just believe we have fear of people who come from different backgrounds than us.

    3. These resources allow students to read about the mass shootings that have happened around the U.S and see the effects it has had on people. It also gives the students the opportunity to learn about gun control.

  2. 1. Your thoughts and opinion on the issue covered in the article.
    This article is a very strong article because of how bad gun violence is looked at today in society. Today, we hear more and more about gun violence than we have ever before. After reading the stat about how much gun violence affects our nation, I feel as if there needs be strong laws on guns. There are way to many people in this world that have guns, that shouldn’t. I feel as if we are coming to a point in time where younger kids are using them and not being educated about them.
    2. Connections to something we talked about in class.
    This connects to class because we talked about how certain race are more likely to be accused of having a gun and killing people. Which is very wrong to me. I feel as if it isn’t a race issue, it is a UNITED STATES CITIZEN issue.
    3. Comment on the teacher resources and how you can use them in a classroom or educational setting.
    Educating the youth on such a big topic is very important. The articles provided are good in an educational setting because there are shooting happens at schools that are just like any other students. It allows the students to see there needs to be something happen with that. We could then have a huge talk about the pros and cons and guns and so on.

  3. Wow. This article was very thought-provoking. There are obviously sides to this debate and usually, they both feel very strongly about the issue. I have my own opinion on the issue and genuinely agree with one side of the debate. However, there are issues and flaws on either side. It is important to recognize both sides and their validity. This relates to several things that we have discussed in class. For example, the fishbowl activity discussing the controversial police shooting involving an officer who walked into the wrong apartment. I enjoyed the teacher resources in that it is important for students to make an educated decision on their thoughts and feelings on the topic. I want my students to be informed not guided to believe one way. These resources allow for students to do such research.

  4. I really liked this article because it talks about something that is truly relevant to all the students in a classroom. Everyone in a classroom will know about gun violence and how easy it is to buy and use a gun in our society today. Which is something that we have talked about a lot in the class making history more relevant to the students to make the history feel more real and like it happening today (which it is). I would defiantly some of the articles in my classroom to debate want the Second Amendment truly says and does it allow for people to have the automatic guns of today or was it made for the old type of gun of past generations.

  5. Aaron Gullett
    1. I think this article is extremely relevant for today, with all the talk about gun violence / gun control. Hearing that the United States is one of 6 countries that make up more than half of the gun related deaths worldwide, was not that surprising to me with how this country has been the past year or so. Which we have discussed in class recently on how America should go about this issue.
    2. We have talked a lot in class about how to make history seem “more interesting” and having students be more willing to participate in the activity. Making things (like gun control / gun violence) that are relevant to their lives is a way to keep them engaged into the lesson. ‘
    3. I think keeping the younger generations up to date and actively involved with how things are going in the country is great for their futures. I think the articles are a great resource for the students to educated themselves and read up on topics that are relevant to their lives now. Allowing the students to read up on the information themselves, gives them the chance to make a decision for themselves and not be swayed one way or the other.

  6. 1.This article makes good points, where I support our country’s right to bear arms, I do believe we should have stricter gun laws regarding safety, how we get guns, and our mental health upon purchasing a gun.

    2.This article relates to our class when you say, “perhaps our obsession with guns comes form a rising fear of people who are different from us.” This relates because we as a society lack education in cultural, ethical, economical, racial differences. With that lack of understanding comes fear, false words, and sadly conflict.
    3. I think a very eyeopening teacher resource would just be the Wiki page on “Mass shootings in the United States”. For the class room I would start by informing them on America’s history with Mass shootings dating as far back as you can find. I would then suggest to the administration for a gun safety program or possibly a fundraiser for those effect by these mass shootings.

  7. 1. Gun violence is a hot topic going around right now, and has been for awhile. I haven’t ever really thought about how guns really impact our lives around us; whether on the news from someone being shot, in video games or even in songs and movies. I think that the term “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is true due to the points made in this article how we are afraid of those who are different than us whether religiously or culturally.
    2. During our class when we talked about racial issues and discrimination like from the The Well and The Friendship, gun violence was brought up with the problems between the races. Gun violence is a serious issue with bad blood that still exists somewhat between races.
    3. With teaching lessons on the second amendment and gun control, it’s better to have the students be informed and answer their questions about things. It could lead into a lesson going over more of the amendments and even farther into learning and growing with different cultures to prevent violence with guns.

  8. Kimberly Rockwell
    1. I would like to think we will teach in a country where gun violence doesn’t need to be discussed in a grade school classroom. However, in America, that is not the case. Many of our students and teachers go to school everyday with the thought that they could get killed while inside a school. That is such a sad and crazy reality for our country, and something needs to be done. Our students are practicing active shooter drills weekly, and this is the norm. I strongly believe our country is valuing the wrong ideas and commitments everytime there is another mass shooting, and no change is made.
    2. This article relates back to our class in the way that race issues are brought up. It seems like that has been the main topic of our course, the fear of the other, and a also a main point of this article. While I think that can play a role in the mass shootings we see, I think it is naive to believe that is the biggest issue at hand with mass shootings. This is an issue that needs to be improved on, especially in this day and age. But we also need to look at other problems. Mental health and improved resources within our schools for our students. Mental Health education just recently became a mandatory part of education in New York, and all other states need to follow that example. Our students need us more than we know, and we need to provide them with more than facts on history or content.
    3. I believe we need yo be as transparent as possible with our students when it comes to gun violence, especially as many of them experience training on how to handle it. I think providing them with the literature about what is happening is important. Be honest and create a safe place for our students to voice their concerns and fears and thoughts. I also think we should educate on our students on how to make a change. After the Stoneman Douglas Shooting, we saw a huge movement take over the country. We need to teach our students about that, and teach them how important it is to be the change.

  9. 1. Although I think this is a very important issue, I think it’s important to remember that guns are not the only form of violence that can be done. I truly believe that stricter gun laws will not help this situation that the United States is facing today. These individuals will only find other ways to cause destruction and harm. I do think it will slow this process down but not to an outcome that everyone is hoping for. I do think that video games and movies make it to where our minds are not affected and tend to have a sugar coat affect/ desensitize individuals that surround themselves with these types of graphics. But it’s these individuals that are the first step to solving the issue. Getting more help in schools, making it easier for a student to find help if they are needed it. School counselors being trained to recognize signs of depression and even individuals in work places making themselves familiar with the signs to look out for and get help before it’s too late.

    2. This article relates to many issues we have discussed in class but the obvious one being a race issue and the thought of being afraid of changes. The United States becoming more diverse and recognizing other cultures making it fearful for the unknown. The individuals who are resistant to change.

    3. These teacher resources would help in many informing ways. I think it would be important for my students to know how to make a change and the next steps of what needs to be done.

  10. Apart from the laws, the main difference between the UK and the US is the role that guns play in everyday life. In the UK, most gun lovers are involved in shooting sports and are mostly based in the countryside. The idea of using a gun for self-defence is generally pretty shocking in Britain, even within the shooting community, and most people believe that guns should be the preserve of the police or armed forces.

  11. I think every legal American at the age of 21 with no violence history or crimes should be able to carry a gun. Our world is crazy and it just keeps getting crazier! Safety is first in my life, and I think gun control is very important right now. I completely agree that people need to have background checks and make sure they are safe to carry a gun, we shouldn’t be giving guns to just anybody. 

  12. Guns and gun violence is a topic that deserves a lot of discussion, there is a crisis that needs to be solved. I do not feel that the answer is taking away guns or raising the age to buy guns. In my opinion the people who are doing such awful things will find a way to do awful things with or without legal guns. The people who own their guns legally and abide by the laws are not the people we have to worry about.

  13. I believe that gun violence is getting out of hand in the media today. Guns have always caused a divide in America, however, today, we live in a world were people can voice their opinions more than ever. On social media, rallies, and televised debates, it is very common for people to be arguing about guns. It is common for the news to cover these stories over and over to evoke fear in people, get their ratings up, and make people side with their views. Gun violence is an issue, and needs to be restricted but not revoked.

  14. Gun violence is something that I hope comes to an end…. SOON, but I don’t think It will. And there really is nothing to do about it. Logistically, if someone wants to harm others with a gun, they will find a way and it is the second amendment to have the right to bare arms. So, in my opinion, nobody can take the guns away, but I do agree with raising the age to 21 to be able to purchase a gun, and to have more strict background checks. It is a very sad topic that I could go on and on about, but I won’t. I just hope that one day the issue is resolved, or at least slows down…. a lot.

  15. Guns is an extremely important topic, especially in todays society. I currently believe that the age to purchase a gun should most definitely be increased to 21. Its scary to think about how quickly and easily a child, teacher, or even random citizen could come into a school with a gun. It happens so often, it’s become a norm in the United States (and I’m sure in other countries too). Gun violence is so unreal to me. I do believe that it’s necessary for people to own guns, just in case of emergencies but how much testing is done on someone before they actually get to own a gun?

  16. I thought this article was very strong especially since it touched on gun violence. Gun violence is the biggest issue in our world today. In today’s world we hear about gun violence then ever before. I think the gun violence laws need to be stricter or have them be strong laws on guns.

  17. In your introduction paragraph, you state something very powerful, “American movies celebrate and glorify gun toting heroes, the carefree attitude of the cowboy and his gun. However, guns in reality do not always bring about such a positive outcome.” This statement is so very true, because the media and different social platforms portrays gun violence as something that is suppose to happen, but in reality this is not true. Then when you state, ” glorified the cowboy and depicted native americans as savages who deserved to be shot and killed,” it becomes all too real. In my personal opinion, Americans (myself included) forget that we “founded” this land by taking from others and brutally murdering, raping, and attacking innocent lives. America was built off of violence and will continue to grow if actions/laws are not placed against guns.

  18. This article makes you ponder the different sides of gun violence. I am a firm believer in that guns should strictly be used as means of survival (hunting for food or self defense in something like a home invasion). I agree to the idea that gun violence, especially the rise in it, has to be taken extremely seriously and is beneficial to no one to lose life. Video games and certain movies/tv shows have desensitized the importance of human life. Games where the goal is to gain “as many kills” as possible has no significant learning goals for it’s players other than to kill or be killed. Unfortunately, today’s society has seen/felt/experienced the effects that some of these media platforms have potentially caused. As the times evolve, so must our gun laws in order to protect the rights of the American citizens while also making them feel safe and protected.

  19. Respectfully, I disagree with any gun control legislation—period. I do find your thoughts regarding nature of violence to be deeply rooted into our culture to be interesting. I think you give good evidence to back up these claims, specifically with how the Old West is romanticized and with how popular violent video games and media is. I think that over all, this article was fairly balanced, which is something that is rarely seen regarding the second amendment these days. You are correct, gun control is a hot button issue for most Americans, but I think it should be discussed more civilly by both sides of the political spectrum.

  20. I think that this is a very important article because of all the current events that are going on with this. There are two sides of the debate but coming from a background of having a military member in my family I think that the process of getting your conceal and carry and being able to purchase a gun should be more thorough. I think that having more strict protocols are important but in reality people are going to do what they want to do and sometimes no matter what strict protocols can even make things worse. Personally, I wish this wasn’t a problem but having people that can protect our country can help keep this under control.

  21. I think the historical context of any aspect of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is something that must be understood by a voting population. I have my own preconceived biases on the subject of gun ownership but it is important for citizens to understand the Constitution is a living document that can and will change based on the needs of the society. Opportunities to teach and learn through articles like these are crucial.

  22. I found this article interesting and I like that it was informative rather than opinionated. I do have an opinion on this argument; however as a teacher I wouldn’t express my opinion to my students. I think it’s important to teach my future students about arguments like this one that are currently going on in the world. I feel that it’s important to be informative to students and let them make their own educated opinion on the situation, rather than telling them what you think is right.

  23. I love this article mostly for starting off with the second amendment. Many people just feel like those who want gun control just want to “take all the guns away”, which is NOT the majority case! The second amendment was written when guns took minutes to reload after shooting one bullets, and there wasn’t a strong national military and the country relied on citizen’s guns for protection from both people and other governments. It is outdated and needs modification.

  24. As a avid enthusiast, and owner of may varying types of firearms I am against most forms of gun control because its authoritarian, unwarranted, and holds varying degrees of success or failure that may not make it worth it. I think gun violence is less related to gun culture such as movies and games, and more so related to poverty and the depravity of man. The right to gun ownership is fundamentally granted in the Bill of Rights and believe even despite homicide rates that it should not be infringed.

  25. The ongoing debate over gun control is an exceptionally difficult one that has lasted many years. This debate is a perfect example of what we have been discussing in class recently and reading about in the Sensoy text that everyone has an opinion and that opinions are not the same as informed knowledge. This is where we see people forming arguments with the use of anecdotal evidence- and where informed knowledge is especially critical and needed in both sides of the argument. There are many variables in this debate and people can get really fired up because they allow this anecdotal evidence that they use to back up their arguments and they feel so strongly that their opinion is fact that when challenged they get very upset and defensive. Some interesting information that I pulled from the article and its links were that 75% of gun owners believe that owning a gun is essential to their freedom. Another interesting statistic was that 4 out of 10 people live in homes with guns. The article mentions that one of the reasons gun violence is so high in the US is because American culture celebrating and glorifying gun toting heroes. I disagree; I personally do not think that our culture is a central cause of gun violence- there are other countries where movies and videogames are violent and glorified such as the godfather, walking dead and shooter videogames but they have less gun violence or mass shootings. I also personally think that making gun laws stricter will not have a significant impact on gun violence. My logic, which I’m not suggesting is fact, purely my opinion, is that there are already so many weapons in circulation and that there are so many ways to get them whether through legal or illegal channels, that if someone really wants a gun, they will get one regardless of the proper channel. My take on the situation is that it is so far from being in control I do not have much faith that it can be resolved. It makes the most sense that one solution, although it wouldn’t provide short term results, would be to educate our youth the best we can on the second amendment, what its original intentions were, causes of gun violence and its’ effects and what gun control means for the people.

  26. This is such a touchy subject in today’s society. I’ve grown up around guns ever since I was 10 years old. Coming from a family being surrounded by guns and even owning several for myself, I don’t feel that as citizens we should lose our guns but maybe have stricter gun processes. I’m even okay with the age of owing guns rising from 18 to 21. I feel that there are issues and flaws to both sides of this debate. I really think that the term “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is true to some of the points made in this article about how we are afraid of people who may look different than us whether religiously or culturally.

  27. This article was very well written to bring forth all ideas, and make the reader question along. Last year in the spring semester I attended a school located in the center of a small town. A towns person got on campus and was holding a large object and weapons believed to be guns to hunt squirrels on our campus. Students immediately felt unsafe because a week before a school shooting happened in a different state. Everyone was texting and calling anyone they knew on campus and telling them to go to safety. I was in the science building a building that never locks. Students in the building went to the only room with a keypad lock on the top floor. A couple of guys pushed a book shelf against the door. No one knew if we were endanger or not, about a half hour later a email was sent from the school calling a lock down. In the end, no one was harmed and authorities took the towns person away. After this experience I feel the right to bare arms is best for protection.

  28. This article hit home for me. I have own multiple guns and firmly believe that a human has the right to own a gun. However, the amount of shootings and terrible things that happen because of guns is outrageous and disgusting to me. Along with that I do not believe that gun control is going to help us. The real problem is people and their wicked hearts. We need to make rules about crazy people owning guns. The real problem lies in the hearts of people and not in the weapons they use to wreck lives.

  29. Gun violence is an undeniable epidemic in American society today. Innocent people are being murdered by gun-toters daily, and it is the responsibility of both the government and citizens to take a stand against gun violence. The issue with the “right to bear arms” defense is that it is a misinterpreted version of the Second Amendment. This amendment constituting the right to a well-regulated militia with the freedom to keep and bear arms was made to limit the power of the government. The right to bear arms is to keep the government from controlling the people. Furthermore, there are not strong enough regulations for purchasing and owning a firearm. There are not strong enough background checks for mental health, and there are no regulations on purchasing firearms from a gun show. There are also illegal black market gun trades that must be investigated and stopped. In order for America to be safe, we have to take a stand against organizations such as the NRA that heavily promote gun ownership and use.

  30. The article was very well written. I however do not agree with the opinion that is presented. The media provides a skewed view of gun ownership. They make it look like you can go into a store and walk out with one just by handing over cash. They discuss all these mass shootings that are happening in gun free zones. In any area that is a gun free zone this is just asking for criminals to commit crimes there since there won’t be any punishments. In reality the people pushing for stronger gun reform are only punishing the law abiding citizens the right of protecting their self. Criminals don’t follow laws putting more into affect will only hurt and stop those who follow them.

  31. I think gun violence is a huge issue in today’s society. I’m not a gun hater, however, I do feel gun laws should become more strict to help prevent guns falling into the wrong hands. More precautions should be used when giving people a permit to carry or even buy a gun. I don’t necessary think guns are the only weapons we should be concerned or precautious with, however it is the biggest threat when it comes to mass murders and other violent incidents.

    This article connects to our class because it goes back to certain races being accused of crimes more often than others. Which is not always the case. Society thinks we just need to worry about specific races and aren’t as timid when giving a white man a gun. Guns are a problems in the hands of any race with the wrong intentions.

    Because of the rise in gun violence I think it is important that we educate students on guns at a very young age. Learning the background on gun laws and becoming familiar with the bill of rights is a great way to introduce this topic. Students also need to be educated on the damages guns can cause, and the tragedy’s they have caused because of careless people who abused their power to own a gun. I would use all of these resources listed above.

  32. This article makes great points regarding the beliefs many Americans seem passionate about. The Constitutional purists seem to lean entirely too much on the amendment, and it seems although it was important in that time, it now poses a real detriment. Acts of violence against the greater public means we need to reevaluate how we regulate and control guns and who can have easy access to them. I for one, feel extremely unsafe and uncomfortable near people who are carrying weapons in public. I don’t know who they are or what kind of judgments they make. I feel violated that they can bring a weapon into a public place, regardless of if they have a license. I do not trust someone who feels too unsafe to interact in public spaces without a gun. They are anxious..and over alert which could cause a disaster, especially with a weapon that will make it easy to harm another.

  33. Guns are an extremely important topic, especially in todays society. I currently believe that the age to purchase a gun should most definitely be increased to 21. Its scary to think about how quickly and easily a child, teacher, or even random citizen could come into a school with a gun. It happens so often, it’s become a norm in the United States (and I’m sure in other countries too). Gun violence is so unreal to me. I do believe that it’s necessary for people to own guns, just in case of emergencies but how much testing is done on someone before they actually get to own a gun?

  34. With this article, comes the question on how gun control affects what’s happening in the world. When we think of the gun related crimes in the US, we can’t help but wonder if these suspects, had their guns legally? I don’t think that it’s gun control, but more gun safety. Taking away guns is NOT going to fix the problem, because if someone wants something, they’re going to do whatever they can to get that one thing. Also, if we put a control on who gets a gun, then when someone walks in with a gun, who is going to either protect themselves and others?

  35. The Wild West, Americans and their Guns: The American Fundamental Right to Bear Arms-I thought this article was very strong especially since it touched on gun violence. Gun violence is the biggest issue in our world today. In today’s world we hear about gun violence than ever before. I think the gun violence laws need to be stricter or have them be strong laws on guns.

  36. This article is really good. Gun control is something that is hard for me. I don’t believe gun control would do anything for us as a nation. Even if guns are more regularly monitored, bad people with bad intentions would find a way to get guns and use them for bad things. The problem we have was mentioned in this article: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It is a problem that lies within the hearts of humans. Our hearts are sinful and this causes humans to do bad things. The problem won’t be solved until the good Lord comes back.

  37. I think that it’s important to teach students about gun laws, and gun safety since guns are so prevalent in today’s society. As a mother and a home owner where guns are present, I do agree that guns should have mandatory child safety locks. However, I am not sure that changing the gun laws will have any effect on mass shootings. I feel like the people who commit mass shootings will find any way they can to get their hands on these deadly weapons. I also do not think that video games and pop culture influence violent tendencies, to an extent. I do think that children can learn about violence through video games and pop culture, but it is a parent’s responsibility to monitor their behavior.

  38. With the current issues arising with gun violence I think this was a good article to read. The decision on what to do when it comes to gun control laws is not something to be taken lightly and I can see why it is such a heavily debated topic.

  39. I believe this article is very eye opening. I already thought that violent video games and violent t.v. shows helped bring violence to this world, however, I never thought about history such as the wild west having a role. I think that each year everyone who owns a gun should have to go through training and take a test to renew their license. I see both sides of the Gun Control Movement as well. I see the side that people want guns to protect themselves and their families from anyone or any animal, but I also see from the side that if guns are banned the likelihood of a mass murder or shooting is slim to none.

  40. Some would say that America holds its 2nd Amendment right in such high regard out of fear. Fear of different peoples and cultures. I would disagree. It was born out of fear yes, but it wasn’t fear of a religion or race, instead out of fear of a king. Absolute power and unchallenged authority is the catalyst of its creation. One thing our country is really good at is not letting anyone forget. I get it; those who forget are doomed to repeat, but how is it that we are willing to forget our history and yet remember our hate and harbor blame? Don’t think for a moment we, 200+ years later, are immune to the whiles of those who would seek to pit us against one another in order to control us. Some may say we no longer need the right to bear arms. We’re civilized and we have a right to free speech. My friends, what good is a mouth with no teeth to bare? Don’t let the acts of outlaws and the infirm sway your decisions. Repealing the right may, however unlikely, find some reduction in crimes in the short term, but what of the day when you find the need to bare your teeth only to reveal soft pink gums? The right to bear arms has been abused, but it’s intended purpose is to keep the ‘honest’ government honest and to ensure our freedoms are not contested without recourse.

  41. The comparison between the wild west and what is happening with gun violence in the US today is a far stretch I think. We have become a more sophisticated country since these times. The gun laws are something that need to be changed. No person needs to own assault rifles or 10 or more guns in my opinion, that’s just ridiculous. However I think it’s going to take more than just making gun laws more strict. It’s not only about how easy it is to access these weapons, it’s also about the people who feel they have to commit these horrific acts because we push aside the issue of mental illness and they feel they have no other way of being heard.

  42. There is so much to be discussed/debated about our war on guns. In my opinion, I view this as a cultural issue opposed to a racial one. Now of course, that’s my opinion and is not based on scientific data. Even though we have the right to bare arms, I still think that revisions are required to the laws in order to impose more strict control over the sales and carry permits. Now, we all know that the illegal bearings of arms is out of the common man’s control; only our law enforcement agencies can help control the illegal use/sale/trade of firearms. In regards to the instances of mass shootings, is there really any way to pre-empt this from occurring? Wouldn’t there have to be psychological testing completed on a person in order to deem if they are within a normal range to own/carry a gun? I don’t foresee this happening and don’t anticipate a way that we can avoid mass shootings from happening; we’d have to take away everyone’s guns, wouldn’t we? I honestly don’t see an end in sight regarding the gun issues.

  43. In my opinion, the right to bear arms is more of protecting themselves from government tyranny, which was a very big worry of the framers of the constitution in the 1770s.  They did not want to be like Britain and wanted to protect themselves with the muskets of the era.  While it is important to let Americans be able to protect themselves from criminals, it is also important to balance that freedom with an extensive background check. 

  44. When people advocate for more gun control many times they do not even know what “more gun control” means or what it would look like. I, personally, am happy to finally know what the constraints on it are because I feel like that part is not as well known and helps me choose a side on the issue a little bit easier. I agree with most constraints for more gun control, besides raising the age to buy a gun to 21 because I feel like that is completely unnecessary. I think as future teachers this is also an important issue to be aware of since school shootings are becoming more and more common.

  45. In my opinion the original intent of the second amendment does not correlate with its supporters’ arguments today. The amendment was written to provide a right for citizens of the United States to form militias and for these militias to have the right to posses weapons. The amendment was not written to provide citizens with the right to uncensored individual gun ownership.
    I agree that a partial explanation of the rising occurrence of gun violence is the fear of ‘the other’. Take the recent mass shooting in El-Paso, for example. A white man was fearful of Hispanic immigrants, so he took a gun into a Walmart and killed 22 people.

  46. If it were up to me, I would abolish guns completely. Since it is not and because I understand that that idea is easier said than done, I would settle for stricter gun legislation. I truly believe that having guns so readily available, both in reality and in video games, is making us numb to the danger and the violence. For example, when my step-brother began playing the video game “Fortnite” he started getting significantly more angry and aggressive. We are living in a world where mass shootings are no longer a surprise, and that in itself should be enough.

  47. I am a strong supporter of the second amendment and the rights for all legal law biding citizens to own them. The very reason for the right to bare arms now is the same reason it was placed in the bill of rights over 200 years ago. Our founding fathers knew all to well what a oppressive regime can do to a unarmed population, you can see it anywhere you look, on every continent a people have been mercilessly murdered not able to defend themselves. Some people will say that the american government would never do this and its ridiculous for you to have a semi auto rifle. But hear this the Jews lived a nice quite life until Hitler rose to power bans guns and death marched across Europe. The citizens today of South, Central America, and Mexico fight there own battles empty handed as the Cartels, who have guns murder anyone who stands in there way making it impossible for people to improve their lives and their countries. Gun rights should be the right of all peoples on the world because everyone should have the right to feel safe and protect there family and their property.

    That aside I do believe the guns are tools that can be used to good and evil but not having them in the good people doesn’t mean they will be out of the hands of bad people. I believe people who meaninglessly take the life’s of innocent people are despicable and should not even be remembered as that is a form of memorization. I don’t have any idea on how to curb mass shooting as they have a reason and you cant control something that happens for no purpose. The best thing I can say to help prevent mass shootings is to teach people not to devalue human life and to take people who report peoples online profile behavior more seriously. I cant tell you how many times they show a mass shooter on TV and they show their Facebook which is filled with death treats and strong political extremes on both sides.

  48. Although this article was written and posted in 2018, the topic of guns and violence still reigns in todays news. It’s so sad to see that more families are affected by senseless tragedy’s that have occurred through horrific forms of terrorism. With the recent shootings that we have seen many news outlets have opened the question of whether or not games like Fortnite, COD (call of duty), Halo, and etc. influence mass shootings. I would love to see correlations that have been discovered between video games and violence.

  49. I thought that this article was very timely, even if it was written a year ago. The sad part is this article could be written at many given points of time in the past few decades and the most recent mass shooting would come to mind. It is becoming a “too familiar script.” In the past few weeks there were two mass shootings in Texas alone. It will be interesting to see how the Democratic Debates continue to address the issue. Beto O’Rourke brought up an interesting point in the debate when he said that he would do a buy back system of AR-15s and AK-47s. I think that we do romanticize the idea of guns too much; maybe it makes us feel more safe, more dangerous, or that we are someone else. I don’t think that there is an easy answer on how to stop violence, but I find it hard to believe it has anything to do with more people having guns.

  50. Gun control has been a super major topic in media for the past few years. No one is arguing that gun violence in the United States is not an issue as well, even those who oppose gun control. There are many aspects of the problem and looking at each one poses a solution. For instance some could say that the general public has access to firearms that are completely unnecessary and think the solution is to limit the amount of ammunition a firearm available to the general public can hold and fire with one pull of the trigger. This is one solution and would definitely reduce the body count if a mass shooting were to occur or even eliminate the shooting entirely by discouraging the shooter. Another aspect lies in the mental health of Americans. The argument here is that we live in a society where our culture glorifies guns and gun violence through music videos, movies and video games. This is true but limiting these things could then be a violation of the first amendment but could seriously positively impact the status of this issue in the United States. In my personal opinion no matter what you do there will always be bad people in the world and these people will kill people with or without guns (ex. use of homemade bombs, knives, and motor vehicles). The only thing that can be done is reduce the amount of bad people in the world through promoting mental health and discouraging bad people from doing bad things by reducing their access to tools of destruction.

  51. The article makes very valid points. However, I do not agree with gun control. I agree with the article where it states that gun control is infringing upon the second amendment. Criminals are going to find a way to get their hands on a gun somehow, so I believe good people with guns can stop bad people with guns. Guns are essential to America. Without guns, we literally would not have the freedoms we do now. People need guns to be able to protect themselves and to provide for their families. I grew up going hunting and getting our dinner from the wildlife in the backyard. Without guns, growing up would have been totally different.

    This article was very informative, rather than opinonated; however, owning a gun makes me feel safe in a world that is not.

  52. American gun culture is a very unique and interesting one. The second amendment and subsequent calls for gun control have become a contentious topic in the American political arena, and for good reason. Countries with stringent gun control see far fewer gun related deaths than the United States does, as our country routinely experiences mass shootings and gun violence on the street. The gun has become something integral to the American identity, for better and for worse.

    Why does America have this fascination with firearms? Surely it has much to do with our being born of a revolution, an association with a sort of paranoid anti-government sentiment that runs deep in American culture. We must also remember that professional, full time police were not yet fully present in the states at its founding, coupled with a general suspicion of standing armies, and one can see why citizens may have wanted own a rifle. The American frontier likely also heavily influenced American gun culture. Not only was this land nearly lawless and thus dangerous, it was also ripe with animals to hunt, necessitating gun ownership.

    It is hard to say what should be done with guns in modern America. Firearms have evolved rapidly since the bill of rights ratification in 1791, should our gun laws not evolve as well? One easily gets stuck between a rock and a hard place in this debate, as the number of guns currently in the hands of the American population is so large that one wonders whether any gun control laws would make much of a difference. Regardless, this is a great topic to bring up in social studies classrooms, and I look forward to hearing students debate about it in the future.

  53. Wow! The size and content of the list of mass shootings is heart wrenching. Our country definitely needs to come up with a solution to this problem. No, we don’t want to lose our right to bare arms, but we absolutely need to figure out how to keep them out of the hands of people who intend to use them to do evil deeds. The problem is that criminals don’t usually get their guns legally in the first place. A lot of people think the violence in our country has something to do with the video games, movies, and music, but I’m not so sure that’s it. In my opinion, it’s deeper than that. Most of the mass shooters have a troubled past which involves abuse and/or neglect. Maybe instead of focusing on the gun laws, we should focus on making sure people who have been subjected to abuse or neglect get the psychological help they so desperately need.

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