Constitution should better reflect culture

Picture this: It’s 1791 and you are in a new land — America! The country has finally won the Revolutionary War and is trying to get back on its feet while also protecting itself from surrounding world powers such as Britain, France or Spain that are eager to expand their territories.

If you’re a man, you might be worried about getting drafted into the makeshift army America has put together. You also are expected to know how to shoot a firearm.

While you are mediocre at packing and loading your firearm, you know someone who is exceptional at it and can fire three whole rounds in one minute. You need to practice with your firearm more just in case your home or town is invaded by another country’s more experienced and established military.

These were the conditions under which the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, was ratified. The country was still finding its footing among countries that had more sophisicated militaries in place.

America’s Founding Fathers were afraid the new country would be defeated by one of the surrounding countries. The best way to establish a military was to let any citizen own a firearm.

That was 227 years ago. Things have changed.

Today, an AR-15 can hold about 30 rounds and a practiced shooter can fire upward to 45 rounds a minute.

AR-15s seem to be the weapon of choice for mass shooters over the past few years, including the most recent at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17.

While the AR-15 and similar weapons were banned in 1994, the law expired. In most states, it is relatively easy to buy a weapon like this if you are over 18.

With the spike in mass shootings and gun violence in America over the last few years, there seems to be no reason why this law should still be a part of the U.S. Constitution.

When the Constitution was written, the writers had no idea the types of weaponry to which we would have access  200 years later.

As phones, texting, social media and the internet have all become prominent aspects of our culture, the government has made adjustments to still protect our First Amendment rights while acknowledging that there are types of speech that are not protected.

Why can we not do this with the Second Amendment?

Stricter laws and regulations need to be put in place in our country to better adapt the Constitution to the current state of our culture and technology.

About Alexandra Applegate


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