September 19, 2019

Protecting Our Rights…and Our Safety

By: George Calle ’14

The second amendment of the United States Constitution is under fire;
with increasing concern regarding gun safety, institutions from the size of the
American government, all the way down to SCH are aiming to take precautions in
order to ensure safety. Over the past few months, the fundamental idea that every
American has the right to bear arms has come under some scrutiny. Weapons are
modernizing, resulting in many violent murders involving high-powered guns.
In July, 70 people were shot at a late night showing of the new Batman movie in
Aurora, Colorado. Just in December, 26 children and teachers were shot and killed
at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These mass shootings,
among others, have caused Congress and the President to take a close look at gun
laws. While many still believe in the right to bear arms, the President is attempting
to regulate gun laws and promote safety. In accordance with current events and
questions circulating Washington, many schools, including Springside Chestnut Hill
Academy, are establishing new safety procedures.

Our school is also creating new procedures in response to this conflict. SCH
has started becoming much stricter in locking entrances and making students
swipe their ID cards. Also, whether or not you actually remember what the code
is, all are aware of the new password lock on the math building. As annoying
as these precautions may seem, they result in a safer campus and help prevent
unwanted visitors from entering the school. Other schools are following this trend
too. Various high schools across the country are securing more entrances and are
trying to regulate who comes in and out. Some schools are even enacting a more
extreme reform. Last week, a school district in Arizona stated they are in the process
of training armed guards to stand outside and protect their schools (from other
gunmen). But while reform can be beneficial for our safety, isn’t there a time to
draw the line?

While investigating any political controversy (including gun control), many
tend to blame the Constitution and question the relevance of such an old, seemingly
antiquated document. However, the Constitution itself is still very relevant in
American law and society. It is the framework that holds us together as a nation,
but the document must be interpreted. Politicians need to look past the semantics
of the text, and be able to apply the document to a more modern world, for so
much has changed since the Constitution was written in 1787. When the words,
“the right to bear arms shall not be infringed,” were written down, arms consisted
of simple hunting rifles and bayonets, not AK-47s and Uzis. Many scholars view
the Constitution as a living document and because of this they believe lawmakers
should be able to interpret the Constitution in order to create the laws most suited
to modern-day society.