May 23, 2019 | 66° F

CASTELLI: 2nd Amendment not gun issue, but defense issue

Opinions Column: Conservative Across the Aisle


What is an AR-15? This is a simple question, yet many advocates of gun control are unable to answer it correctly. Among the many false facts being fed to the public, a common one is that an AR-15 is a semi-automatic assault rifle, a contradictory statement. Without getting too technical, AR stands for ArmaLite rifle after the company that developed it in the 1950s. While it is similar in appearance to the M16, a military rifle, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, meaning it fires only one round each time the trigger is pulled. This is not to be confused with the bullet, which is the mere metal projectile that leaves the gun. A single round, though, includes the bullet, powder and primer encased in an outer shell. Assault rifles, or machine guns, have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.

It is semantics, but misusing terminology, sometimes out of ignorance but often with malicious intent, negatively affects the public perception on firearms. When the Second Amendment discussion comes up, sides are divided not necessarily by political affiliation but by region. Rural Americans are more likely to own a gun than their urban counterparts. This distinction is important. Those who tend to live in urban or suburban areas have relatively quick access to the police if they are threatened in their home. But those living in the country do not have the luxury of relying on the police, who may arrive in twenty or thirty minutes due to people being few and far between. By the time police do arrive, they are little to no help as the intruder accomplished whatever they sought to do. In order to hold off until the police arrive, some type of weapon — in this case a gun — is needed.

The seemingly benign claim that those in favor of gun control want to protect others is darker and more catastrophic. Upon meeting at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that small militia forces could not be relied upon for national defense, yet the prospect of having the federal government establish standing armies was a threat to liberties of the citizens. The Second Amendment stems from the right to self-defend against those threatening your liberties, which include the government.

It is a little surprising then, that more women support gun control than men. Men are typically physically stronger and able to overpower women, so most women's option to protect themselves is a gun. Pepper spray is useful, but only if the assailant is within 10-feet. Besides, a mugger or rapist will back down fairly quickly if they see that their potential victim is carrying a weapon. To advocate for gun control under the banner of women’s rights assumes that women either do not deserve protection, are weak and fickle creatures deserving of protection or cannot be expected to learn how to use a gun because it is too complicated — all contradictions for feminists. A counterclaim to this is that society should teach others, particularly men, to not be violent. It is an optimistic, even utopian thought, but fails to recognize the innate aggressive and violent tendencies of human nature. Let me be clear, aggression in and of itself is not bad, but when unharnessed, is deadly. One needs to be aggressive if they are to survive the harsh, chaotic world. When feminists claim that they wish to select out aggression from the gene pool, they doom the world to an infantile state that is unable to deal with the unpredictable cruelness of the world.

Limiting the access to guns (or even more extreme, the confiscation of guns), not only defeats the purpose of protecting the helpless, but infringes on the rights of those who have not done anything wrong. Persecute the person who committed the crime and find out why they did it. Gun control not only curbs the issue, but fails to deal with the issue at hand. That is, a culture that is more depressed and anxious than ever. 

America has a deep-rooted history with gun rights, one that is based in the fact that every citizen should be able to protect themselves against forces that seek to destroy them or their liberties. To take away that right is to run the risk of having your freedom taken away, if not from your government, then from your neighbor. 

Giana Castelli is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. Her column, "Conservative Across the Aisle," runs on alternate Fridays.


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Giana Castelli

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