The Second Amendment to our Constitution reads as follows:

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.

That one little sentence may be the source of more debate than any other issue in the entire Constitution. Gun control has become a very hot topic lately. The pro-gun camp demands the right to own firearms to protect themselves, while the anti-gun folks say they won’t be able to protect themselves at all while people are carrying guns around. Both sides have arguments they love to throw around, like crime statistics, and the ambiguous wording and the original intended meaning of the Second Amendment.

I think the founding fathers were pretty clear on the issue of bear arms

The latest ruling from the Supreme Court came in 2008, in their landmark decision of District of Columbia v. Heller. They upheld civilians’ right to own firearms “unconnected with service in a militia,” and their right to use them for lawful purposes, like self-defense. But there’s still plenty of debate on the issue. Anti-gun activists say that allowing people such easy access to firearms is a recipe for disaster. Just look at our violent crime statistics – we’re leading the world in gun violence. And I actually agree with this, to a point – I don’t think any random moron should be able to walk into a gun store and walk out with a firearm without anybody asking any questions. Pro-gun people may disagree, but think about this… have you seen most of the random morons walking around on the street? Do you really think they need to be armed?

So if the problem is that guns are too readily available, then the solution is to ban them, right? If we want to stop having problems with gun violence, we need to stop selling guns, and stop letting people carry them. You can’t buy or carry a gun in England, and they hardly have any problems with gun violence. It makes perfect sense!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The fact that we have to accept is that there are plenty of guns available in this country, and restrictive laws aren’t going to suddenly make the guns disappear. The majority of gun crimes are committed using stolen guns, which means that if they want it badly enough and have the cash, ANYBODY can get a gun without a background check, without a waiting period, regardless of their criminal record… and regardless of what the law says. The people committing crimes with them are the ones that don’t mind going around the law to get them. It’s been said a million times before, but restrictive gun laws only take guns out of the hands of the law-abiding citizens.

But here’s my problem with current gun laws: Being a law-abiding citizen shouldn’t be the only qualification for purchasing a gun. Now, I’m not against guns, but you’ve got to admit that they are dangerous, ESPECIALLY in the hands of someone who is not trained to use them safely. If you’ve ever been formally trained on using a firearm, you know that the first and most important thing you learn are the rules of firearm safety. They’re drilled into you from day 1, and why is that? Because if you don’t follow them, you could very easily kill yourself or a bystander. Fatal gun accidents happen all the time, and they’re almost always because of poor judgment and failure to follow the safety rules.

But let’s go beyond safety. I may be a perfectly good, law-abiding citizen, never had so much as a speeding ticket, but if I’ve never picked up a gun before or been trained on how to use it, I’m not qualified to carry one around, no matter what my permit may say. When you carry a gun for self defense and you don’t know how to use it safely, you are a danger to everyone around you, plain and simple. What happens if you go to shoot someone in self defense, but your shot goes wide and kills an innocent bystander because you didn’t know how to handle the gun?

So many gun-related fatalities could easily be prevented by good judgment and training. The government doesn’t hand out drivers licenses without proof that the potential driver knows how to handle a car, so why should they hand out firearm licenses to people who don’t know how to shoot a gun? Guns should be legal to purchase only after you’ve completed some sort of training course, which would include training on how to fire the gun, when it’s a good idea to fire the gun, and most importantly, how to safely handle the gun. Your average Joe off the street with no firearm training is no more equipped to defend himself with a gun than a person who has never been in a car before is equipped to drive his friends across town. In both cases, the person will probably end up hurting themselves or an innocent bystander.

So yes, I support tighter gun control laws… just not the kind of laws that most anti-gun people support. I think we have to accept that no gun control law will ever stop gun violence, but the right type of law could help prevent fatal accidents caused by people who don’t know how to use their guns. I’m 100% in favor of allowing qualified citizens to carry firearms to defend themselves, I just have a problem with what the government considers “qualified.”