Our 2nd Amendment Rights
I have been involved in marksmanship all my life. A significant portion of my youth was spent on a ranch in west Texas where I was either target shooting or hunting various game. When I was nine, I immediately took to competitive marksmanship as I joined the Kendall County 4-H Rifle Team and participated in many competitions. In eighth grade, I joined my school’s rifle team so that I could continue practicing my skills.
As an eighth grader, I became the top shot on the team and helped coach others to shoot and appreciate the safety required when handling a firearm. Based on my experience, I was promoted to the captain of the rifle team my freshman year, and because of my long-term involvement in shooting sports, as a sophomore, my Commandant asked me if I wanted to apply for the National Rifle Association Youth Education Summit. I immediately said yes and awaited the answer to my application. When I heard I was accepted, I was ecstatic, because I knew that I would feel right at home with other kids that felt just as strong about the Second Amendment. During the summit in Austin, we toured amazing museums and the Capital, heard personal insights from well-respected guest speakers, and debated current issues. On the final day of the Texas summit, I was one of four delegates chosen to represent Texas at the National YES that would occur that summer in Washington D.C.
This program was jam-packed with amazing opportunities to learn about our national government, meet many important leaders, and debate against other teams from all over the country. I will never forget the day we went to Arlington National Cemetery where I was chosen as one of the delegates to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was one of the most humbling experiences that I have ever participated in.
As I mentioned before, I participated in multiple debates; one of which was very important to me because it was on the Second Amendment. In this debate, I defended the position that the National Firearms Act is ineffective. I was very lucky to be on this side of the argument, because I truly believe that any sort of control on firearms for law abiding citizens is unnecessary. The NFA requires citizens register with the federal government, not only machine guns, but also rifles and shotguns with barrels under sixteen inches, destructive devices, and suppressors. The process to register this type of firearm with the federal government is lengthy, and if you want to buy one, it’s even longer. However, the last time I checked, law-abiding citizens aren’t the people that need to be regulated. We have the right to defend ourselves, our property, and our family with firearms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, so I don’t see the benefit of having us go through such a delaying process, when criminals are never going to comply with these same laws.
The biggest problem I see with the NFA is how it defines the term “machine gun”. It’s an extremely vague definition, which provides an opportunity for a potential gateway of future inclusion of other firearms. What is to stop the government from stating that any firearm that’s semi automatic is this type of firearm? What’s to stop it then from classifying any
firearm that’s not a bolt-action rifle in the same way? The concern here is the way the NFA defines things is a slippery slope that could lead to citizens having their firearms taken from them. An example of this already happening is the recent ban on bump stocks. Bump stocks don’t turn a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle. The only rationale I can see for this ban is that there is confusion on how bump stocks actually
work. They simply increase the firing rate by using the recoil energy to reset the trigger. However, if you look at the rate of a modern fully automatic rifle versus the rate of a semi-automatic rifle with a bump stock, you will see that a machine gun fires at a rate of almost double that of the semi-automatic rifle with a bump stock. Much of the gun control we see today is a result of people not understanding firearms. I do not want to see the Second Amendment eroded. I am very proud of the fact that I help feed my family with the game I harvest and it’s my right to do so.
Jack Basil is a high school junior and a new Republican voter in 2020.