argument top image

How do we think about the George Floyd murder?
Back to question

Changing gun laws will eradicate colonial roots of gun violence

The roots of the Second Amendment rights in the US constitution emerge from colonialism. Changing gun laws will eradicate the colonial roots of gun violence.
< (3 of 4) Next argument >

The Argument

The second amendment in the US Constitution has colonial roots. It is where native Indians’ land was invaded and taken. Colonial settlers organised militia to raid communities to take over, and as native communities fought back. As a result, in Virginia, the first colony formed, no man could travel without arms. By 1658 households were ordered to bear functioning arms at home. Government loans would be given to those unable to afford them. The use of guns, therefore, has roots which enable the oppression and repression of minorities, institutionally.[1] Guns have enabled slavery as the slave patrols used to bear arms to police African Americans, with rewards being given to those capturing slaves up until the end of the Civil War. The KKK replaced the slave patrols and gave great significance to the second amendment.[2] Around 74% of gun owners are white.[3] When reasonable debates to regulate guns emerge, it is countered with second amendment rights which are often cited as providing protection from governmental tyranny. Better education of the roots of the second amendment needs to be present in the debate so that the second amendment is not seen as this sanctimonious right, but rather a tool of oppression that has institutionalised racism through colonialist beliefs. This may allow for reasonable gun control measures to be introduced.

Counter arguments

The demand for gun control is transitional based on demand. In colonial times, guns were used to take over land and suppress any uprisings, then to control slaves. After American Independence, it transitioned into an industry, and the features of guns began matching their purpose and demand at the time. The needs transitioned to hunting and national defence. By the 1960s around the time that JFK was assassinated, the gun control debate re-emerged, which echoed demands from the 1930s to reduce gun violence. At the time, African Americans also found it necessary to arm themselves against the brutality of the police and white mob violence. Armed demonstrations took place in the late 1960s by the Black Panthers leading to Regan enacting control measures. Thereafter in the 1970s, the reasons for the right to bear arms became self-defence.[4] Marketing for guns is aimed to appeal to white males. Approval for firearms is disproportionately refused to minorities. It is found that states that have looser gun controls enforce penalties against the possession of illegal weapons more harshly, usually against minorities. Factors such as the social and political landscape at the time, the gun manufacturer interest and influence have an impact on what regulations if any come in.[5] Possession or dispossession can negatively affect minorities. Lack of possession makes them victims to gun violence with the lack of approval, and possession brands them as criminals, even if in defence. If demand is transitional, then like the Black Panther armed protest event, the legal structure may change around it to exert control depending on the political agenda at the time.


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 23:07 UTC

Explore related arguments