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. Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment II (1791)
Our founding fathers adopted the Second Amendment to put the people on the same footing as the government… to have the same weapons and defensive capabilities so that our own leaders wouldn’t take advantage of us. As one writer put it—It’s a “when all else fails,” clause.
The phrase “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was first used in the text of the United States Bill of Rights quoted above, although similar legal wording can be found in the Constitutions of several states and the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which states “Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence”.
The anti-gun lobby often cites statistics that it claims show America is the most violent place on the planet. The truth is quiet different.
According to FBI crime data from 2011, rifles (of which the misnamed “assault rifle” is a subset) were used in only 323 of 8,583 firearms murders. This is a continuation of a long-established trend in which the rifle is the least-used of all firearm weapons involved in murders. Rifle use as a murder weapon even ranks below knives, blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) and hands and feet.
The anti-gun lobby holds Great Britain up as a model of what happens when guns are banned. The truth is Britain is the most violent country in the European Union. Since the imposition of the country’s gun ban following the Dunblane school massacre in 1996, recorded violent attacks have soared by 77 percent. The violent crime rate there is 2,034 per 100,000 residents.
Contrast that with the United States, which has a violent crime rate of only 386.3 per 100,000. That’s about one-fifth the rate of violent crime in the U.K. And this has trended down since the ban on “assault weapons” ended in 2004.
In the U.K., the weapon of choice to use in a violent crime is the knife. In 2006, there was one knife crime committed in Britain for every 374 people. In the U.S. in 2006, there was one gun crime for every 750 people. In other words, a person was twice as likely to be a victim of a knife crime in the U.K. as he was a gun crime in the United States.
Since the “assault weapons” ban in the United States ended in 2004, gun crimes in the United States have decreased. Not only that, but according to statistics by the Department of Justice, as the number of guns per 1,000 U.S. citizens has increased, the number of serious violent crimes per 1 million population has dropped.