By William Kerrigan

The ability to purchase and keep firearms has been around since this country won its independence from England after the American Revolution.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution says, "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."

Infringed? What does that mean?

The definition of infringing is "to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the right of another."

Now that we are up to speed, let's get on topic.

Every state in the country has its own set of laws when it comes to the possession of firearms. Some are more strict than others, like California for example.

California is considered to be one of the most strict, if not the strictest, states when it comes to guns. When purchasing, you must wait 10 days after you pay the gun store to be able to get what you purchased. This is only if you buy a long gun, which are either rifles or shotguns.

When it comes to handguns, you are required to wait 30 days after purchase and take a firearms safety course. Once you complete that, you are subjected to other rules such as magazine capacity and pistol grips — things some probably have never heard of before.

All of these rules that states make, like California, assume that just because someone says someone can't do something will mean that they won't do it.

Confusing, but true. If there was a mad man wanting to get a hold of full-automatic military grade weapons, he would do it no matter what. A law doesn't stop bad people from doing bad things.

Good people stop bad people.

But, if you take the ability for good people to counter the bad away, there is nothing that these good people can do.

Those who disagree with the Constitution and the Second Amendment believe that there is no need for legal gun owners to have the ability to shoot 30 rounds in a matter of seconds.

I believe they would disagree if they were faced with someone who didn't follow the law and had 30 bullets compared to their 10 or none at all.

It really isn't that hard to understand that the constitution gives Americans the right to own firearms, and that there will always be bad people wanting to do evil things to others.

There are no laws in place to stop people from being born evil.

Let the good, law-abiding citizens of America protect their families and property the way that the founding fathers intended — with a firearm and however much lead they desire.

Guns are a part of what makes this country great. They give us the ability to protect those we love. There is no way to take them out of the hands of good people, unless you want to see another civil war.

If you, as an individual, want to see the government attempt to take guns away from the good people of America, I have one thing to say to you all.

Molon Labe — come and take them.

Counter Point:

By Caitlin Burke

Gun laws in this country have remained behind the times for too long, and given the recent overturning of the high-capacity magazine law in California, it seems to be that gun laws in the United States are going backward.

In early April, a ban on high-capacity gun magazines in California was overturned for being “unconstitutional.”

In the court case that determined the ruling, Duncan v. Becerra, this statement was made in support of overturning the ban: “In one year in California (2017), a population of 39 million people endured 56,609 robberies, 105,391 aggravated assaults, and 95,942 residential burglaries. There were also 423 homicides in victims’ residences. There were no mass shootings in 2017.”

This is the same type of rhetoric that made it possible for Stephen Paddock to legally purchase the weapons used to kill 58 people at the Las Vegas massacre in 2017.

Paddock was a law-abiding citizen who had purchased 12 semiautomatic rifles and bump stocks without any interference from the law.

After all, it would be unconstitutional to infringe on his right to bear arms.

According to the judge on this case, Roger T. Benitez, “Mass shootings are tragic. But they are rare events.”

The FBI defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four or more people, not including the suspect, are killed. According to gunviolencearchive.org, there were 340 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2018. For Judge Benitez to say that mass shootings are rare events is insensitive to the 14,731 people who were killed in 2018 due to gun violence in this country.

Allowing the civilian use of high-capacity magazines will only raise this number. The ability to purchase ammunition of this caliber will not be for the use of self-defense in the event of a home invasion, it will rather be more likely to play a role in allowing school shootings to easily occur.

Considering the ruling was made on the constitutionality of the ban, the defendant Becerra quoted as evidence, “Fortunately, the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep and bear firearms. The Second Amendment provides: ‘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.

“As interpreted in recent years by the Supreme Court, the Second Amendment protects ‘the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.’”

Becerra argued that in the cases of two home invasions that were halted because of the amount of ammunition present, those homeowner’s right to use arms in defense of the home was being infringed upon with the ban of high-capacity magazines in California. And the judge agreed.

Retailer Palmetta State Armory this week posted on Facebook to celebrate the ban being removed by saying, “We are getting prepared to send a whole lot of freedom to our friends in California.” Maybe I’m in the minority here, but the meaning of freedom and owning an arsenal of ammunition are not the same thing in my book.

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. has seen an increase in mass shootings arguably since Columbine in 1999. Within those 20 years, gun-related technology has evolved and gun regulations have not.

A good guy with a gun will not stop a bad guy with an arsenal of 30 semi automatics equipped with pistol grips, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

Creating an arms race is not the answer, and it never will be.

The U.S. needs stricter gun regulations, and if that means changing the Second Amendment of the Constitution to actually reflect modern times, then that’s what is necessary.