Abusing the Second Amendment

Victoria Zawitkowski
Staff Columnist

Gun-rights activists claim open carry laws can help resolve public safety issues, but their intent is obscured by their overdramatic demonstration tactics. I support the Second Amendment. I do not support the overzealous tactics. We must take charge of our own safety. We cannot rely on authoritative figures for our protection at all times.

The Richmond chapter of the Right to Bear Arms had a demonstration with semi-automatic weapons. According to their Facebook page and an interview with CBS 6, the Right To Bear Arms Richmond’s “Freedom Walk” was intended to educate the public on their Second Amendment rights. The Right to Bear Arms said they do not want other people to be victims of gun violence because they are not aware of their right to carry.

The group recently walked through Creighton Court, a public-housing neighborhood that experiences gun violence far too often. Marilyn Olds, the Creighton Court tenant council president, said in an interview with CBS 6 that residents of that neighborhood hear gunshots on a daily basis. The last thing they need, Olds said, is more guns, and Creighton Court did not invite this group into their neighborhood. The negative reaction from a neighborhood riddled with violence should be a hint to those gun-rights activists that their methods may have gone awry.

While the group says their intention is to educate citizens on their rights, there are better ways of protecting our Second Amendment rights than walking around with rifles, especially in a neighborhood where they are not wanted. Walking through a neighborhood brandishing assault-style rifles is more intimidating than educational.

Most Americans are aware of their right to carry a gun, but do not find it necessary to carry such powerful weaponry at all times. Just as there are restrictions on the lengths of knives citizens are allowed to carry, there are restrictions on the amount of rounds and style of gun we are allowed to tote around. You can stop an intruder with a handgun; you do not need an uzi.

Virginia has more than 280,000 concealed-carry permits. However, many gun-rights activists are proponents of the constitutional carry law, which allows any 16-year-old to carry any type of loaded gun, either openly or concealed, without any permit or training. Virginia has not passed this law, but Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming already have.

Supporters of the constitutional carry law think that gun carriers can regulate themselves. The statistics tell a different story. Around 600 people are killed every year and more than 17,000 are injured in gun accidents.

The Second Amendment helps the average citizen protect their home and family. A U.S. National Crime Victimization study found that defending against criminals with a gun helps victims 65 percent of the time and makes the situation worse only 9 percent of the time.

Our Second Amendment right, while important, should not be taken advantage of because guns can cause serious harm to others.Regulation is necessary to prevent self-injury, accidents and the violent population from using guns to hurt others. Should groups opt to protest that regulation, there are ways to do so without terrifying those who prefer not to openly carry firearms. Gun-rights activists should start a dialogue with other citizens and explain their rights, perhaps while carrying a simpler handgun — not a rifle.

These drastic open-carry demonstrations may make the gun holders feel safe, but frighten the rest of the population. The NRA supports open-carry laws and stand your ground laws that allow an individual to react with deadly force if they feel threatened. Wouldn’t a person surrounded by citizens with assault rifles feel threatened?

These in-your-face scare tactics are not fighting for our freedoms. They are perpetuating the violence in our society. Serious fire power should not be required to feel safe in your home or on the street. Carrying powerful machinery that is only used to hurt or kill others is frightening to the rest of the population. Those of us who do not carry guns now feel unsafe.


  1. While I agree that this particular group made a bad decision by demonstrating in Creighton Court, I still support their right to do so. Probably worth noting that they were able to walk through one of the worst crime areas of the city with little to fear because they were open carrying.

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that open-carry demonstrations "frighten the rest of the population." There is a big difference between open-carry and "brandishing" a firearm. Openly carrying a firearm in VA is legal(for law-abiding citizens), while brandishing one is illegal. These people did not brandish their weapons, or they would have been arrested.

    "The NRA supports open-carry laws and stand your ground laws that allow an individual to react with deadly force if they feel threatened." This might be news to you, but open-carry and stand your ground laws have NOTHING to do with being able to defend yourself with deadly force if you are threatened with grave bodily injury or death. If you threaten me with a knife, by law I am allowed to defend myself by whatever means necessary(hammer, knife, karate, AK47, etc.) to eliminate the threat.

    I suggest you brush up on self defense laws and definitions before your next attempt at slandering the second amendment.

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