A school shooting in the US state of New Mexico has fired up the gun ownership debate in the nation obsessed with owning firearms. A 12-year-old boy wounded two classmates and a teacher when he fired at them with a sawed off handgun. Fresh reports have said the attack was planned.
President Barack Obama has been trying to put the leash on gun ownership by enacting federal measures. But problems remain as gun ownership advocates, powerful as they are, try to scuttle all moves to discourage gun ownership in the country of 50 states, which have different charters and political dynamics.
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “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 overbearing gun lobby in the country, which has seen many gun rampages and shootings, refuses to take the finger off the trigger. The gun culture seems to have seeped into the American cultural complex — creating a phenomenon reflecting badly on the society.
The foundation of the United States rests on freedom — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Successive US presidents have underscored the attainment of the American dream that one is meant to achieve by striving to reach one’s goals.
Strangely, the argument for gun control is countered by proponents of gun ownership who say that the answer to less shootings and gun rampages is more guns.
The school shooting shows that not only is it easy to get hold of a loaded firearm, it is also easy — and by a 12-year-old — to perpetrate a gun crime on his classmates, and a planned one at that. The National Rifle Association of America says that gun rampages do not take place because people own firearms, instead, it says they are perpetrated by people who have a sick mind. The association cites example from lives of Americans, strengthening its argument on the premise that taking away the right of people to own guns would render them vulnerable to attacks from others.
How does the argument stand? Proponents of gun ownership say that a larger number of people with guns would deter attackers for fear of being counterattacked. The debate seems to be going nowhere and the arguments are turning facile.
Though opposition to rampant gun ownership is increasing in the US, measures taken by states to pay attention to the problem have been scarce.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and the United States has to understand that this vigilance will only become effective if the state makes it harder for people to acquire and use guns.