The right to bear arms

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Aside from abortion and the death penalty, gun control has been among the topics that make even the most timorous of political party members’ blood boil.

Whether or not one has the right to keep or bear a firearm has meant the turning point in elections, inspired multi-million dollar documentaries and remains a distinct dividing line between stout political values.

Bradley McCartney, a first class airman in the Air Force, holds a particular point of view because of the time spent in the armed forces and the arrival of his son into the world six weeks ago.“Guns save our country and they can save a person’s family,” said McCartney.

A 12 gauge shotgun shell (center) took the life Justin Martin and protected the widowed mother and her son from harm. MCT Campus.

“When used right, they’re the best protection we have. Cops can’t sit outside everyone’s house watching for the bad people, but we can be inside our homes with our own protection,” McCartney said. “As a protector and provider, I believe I have the right to protect my country and my family with a gun.”

Circumstances such as those on New Year’s Eve of this year when Sarah McKinley was left to defend herself and her 3-month-old son, make it hard to argue any other way.

As two men armed with a 12-inch hunting knife searched the doors and windows of her home attempting to gain access just one week after her husband died of cancer, McKinley faced a difficult choice: the perpetrators or her son.

As the men identified as Justin Martin and Justin Stewart proceeded to break down her front door, the 18-year-old single mother had the wherewithal to take the infant and bolt into the bedroom, securing the door as she dialed 911.

Unsure of her rights, McKinley asked the operator if she was allowed to shoot the men if they got inside.

In a moment when nothing remained but raw maternal instinct, as the men broke through her bedroom door then lunged toward her, McKinley shot Martin dead and sent Stewart fleeing for his life into the freezing night. She made the choice to end one man’s life in order to protect her son.

This, in itself, is justification of owning a gun. Situations beyond people’s control  can plunge them into the position no one in their right mind would want to be, on the firing end of the trigger.

Laurie Moore, who is serving her second year in the Navy said, “I think she had every right to do what she did … especially keeping in mind that she wasn’t just alone. She had her baby with her.”

Moore described the anger and fear she is taught to feel  as unnecessary, “My house has never been broken into and I’ve never been attacked, but you’ve got me twisted if you think I don’t have a gun underneath my pillow.”

“It is a classic case of self defense that, in my opinion, justifies shooting another person regardless of personal moral opinion under the Second Amendment,” Moore said.

Although it was made 200 years ago and under entirely different circumstances, the meaning it holds for people like Sarah McKinley and her family is profound.

When options are weighed, it becomes apparent how important it is to use the rights given and invest in protecting ourselves before the unimaginable occurs.

It is the constitutional right of responsible American citizens, excluding violent offenders, to own a gun so they will be able to protect their own.

Not that anyone should rationalize Wal-Mart updating it’s inventory of assault rifles, but it’s increasingly important for single people and unmarried women to become responsible owners of a sensible firearm to protect themselves should an unthinkable situation happen.

Handgun regulations are in place for specific and respectable reasons, but it should serve as a wake-up call when a single mother, still reeling from the loss of her husband, is forced to take action.

Author: Katie Maze

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