Throughout history, Americans have always prided themselves on the constitutional rights they have as citizens of this country, but the right to bear arms is part of the constitution that is abused too often within the United Sates. Fear, safety, and power motivate individuals to purchase guns; however, the disadvantages tend to outweigh the advantages. Guns are dangerous and should be taken seriously within society. In “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” Richard Wright focuses on a young man’s misconception about guns ownership as a definition of what it means to be a man.
Dave feels that in order to prove himself and be seen as more than a little boy, he has to purchase a gun. The narration provides insight to his thoughts: “Ah ain scareda them even ef they are biggern me!” (899). It is ironic how he is implying that he is not scared but still feels the need for a gun because he believes a gun will help his peers and mother see him as a man. He wanted to feel a sense of power over people and establish himself as a man. “… feeling a sense of power. Could kill a man with a gun like this. Kill anybody, black or white” (903). Dave wanted people to respect him, look up to him, and see him as an authority figure, a man perhaps. His mother received his pay from his employer and everyone in town knew about it, even the store owner Joe: “Your ma letting you have your own money now?” With the shame and the feeling of vulnerability from everyone knowing he is not trusted with his pay, he was tired of it and wanted to establish his confidence through a gun (899).
Dave wanted their respect. “One of these days he was going to get a gun and practice shooting, then they couldn’t talk to him as though he were a little boy”(899). He wanted to be seen as a man that should be taken seriously. Dave’s definition of a man required a man to have possession of a weapon. His mother had seen that through Dave’s argument. she said “Lawd knows yuh don need no gun. But yer pa does” (902). He saw his father as less than a man because his father did not own one himself. Dave’s mother thought that Dave had a point but thought the dad should have the gun instead.
In the constitution, the second amendment says we have the right to bear arms, and it should not be taken lightly. Just because someone has the opportunity to purchase a lethal weapon doesn’t mean they should obtain it without the proper knowledge and comprehension of its usage. There should be proper regulations and background checks to prevent future tragedies. As a result of the gun tragedies in American society and the recent gun violence stories in the news, politicians and advocates have argued for gun law reform. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says “…to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, people with criminal background, people who is mentally unstable” (Bernie Sanders 1:17-1:24). Trying to keep guns out of the hands of individuals that are bound not to abuse its power, using it for massive destruction other than protection.
If there is no order or rules being reinforced and people being accounted for, this country will be in trouble. Having no gun control means that any little argument could result in death. If something as important as guns is not being taken seriously, what would the future of America look like? Proper precaution should be taken in order for someone to bear arms. The fact is that despite most Americans have the right to purchase a gun, it is not keeping our country safe. People may abuse this law. With gun control there should be a limit not just to who can own a firearm but also the number of guns, ammunition and the type of guns. “I have a big problem with a disturbed young man…being able to buy six thousand rounds of ammunition and a high power assault weapon” (Jesse Ventura 3:58-4:09). Piers Morgan made this point while debate between Jesse Ventura saying “people kill people” (Jesse Ventura 3:17-3:19). Both sides make very strong arguments and this why it is a huge debate. We have people that believe their rights as citizens should not be taken away and others that believe serious precautions should be taken as to who purchase and own guns.
The audience should take away that guns are not toys. People abuse gun rights by not taking it seriously enough. Society makes it seems that in order to be seen authoritative you must own a gun. A man is considered a man by the role he plays in society not so much how much firearms he own, that’s something Dave struggled with and he learned it the hard way. While it is the rights of Americans citizens to own a gun, it is a serious matter that we know the people’s background and mental state of mind before issuing them a firearm.
Bernie Sanders on Gun Control The View. YouTube. YouTube, 10 Feb. 2016. Web. 4 March 2016.
Jesse Ventura VS Piers Morgan on Gun Control. YouTube. YouTube, 27 Dec. 2012 Web. 4 March 2016.
Wright, Richard. “The Man Who Was Almost a Man.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Eds. Nina Baym and Robert S. Levine. 8th ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton, 2012. 899-907. Print.