Every year the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund (CRDF) sponsors its Youth Essay Contest. Students from kindergarten to senior year of high school are encouraged to submit a writing sample to a competitive and thought-provoking contest. The theme for the 2015 essay submission was, “What Does the Second Amendment Mean to You?” Students from across the United States were eager to answer this question in a personal, yet fact-based manner and then cross their fingers in hopes of being a Youth Essay Contest winner.
The contest was open to all students who were enrolled in elementary, junior high or high school for the 2014-2015 school year. Home-schooled students of equivalent grades were also welcomed to submit their essays.
Let’s take a look at what the Senior winners (grades 9 through 12) had to say about the Second Amendment:
The first place Senior winner was Bianca Antunez of Miami, Florida. The 17-year-old senior opened her winning essay with this:
“In order to be truly free a person must feel secure, not only from criminals but from tyrannical governments as well. Having lived under a tyrannical government, the founding fathers were aware that freedom could only be maintained if the populace was armed and could resist if the government overstepped its bounds and became unbearable to live under. The world is a very unsafe and unpredictable place, the Second Amendment is very important to me because it gives me some measure of security and self-reliance especially in dangerous and unexpected circumstances.”
Second place was awarded to Jaycey Beard of Eagle, Colorado. Jaycey, a senior during the time of her essay submission, concluded her winning essay with this:
“My number one choice isn’t the most upscale college I have seen….The biggest reason it’s my number one choice is the people. People with common sense. I have my hunter’s safety card. I learned to safely handle guns and shoot when I was 5 years old. I have helped harvest big game and small game animals. I want to be able to protect myself if attacked on campus or anywhere else. I don’t want some male student to have to walk me from the library to the dorm (although that would be nice)! I don’t want to have to rely on that. To me I have chosen a school that wants to protect its students and wants the very best for us—and that is a huge plus for my parents and myself.”
Ian Nathaniel Peterson of Sharpsburg, Georgia, took third place in the 2015 CRDF Essay Contest. As a 16-year-old in 11th grade, Ian had this to say about what the Second Amendment means to him:
“I believe the all-important Second Amendment allows for both national protection and private gun ownership simultaneously. The Second Amendment plays a vital role in defining the United States of America as a free nation. It also allows for the right to protect ourselves, our property and our loved ones because we have a right to life. From my perspective, the Second Amendment is not an either/or argument.”
Fourth place was won by Joshua Hano of Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The 18-year-old high school senior made an interesting comparison to the Second Amendment:
“The Second Amendment is like the keystone of an arch to the Constitution. It is not there simply to take up space. It is there to hold up everything around it. Without the keystone, the arch of a bridge is nothing. And without the Second Amendment, the other inalienable rights outlined in our Bill of Rights evaporate.”
Congratulations to all our winning writers and great job to all the other talented students who submitted their writing samples!
The Defense Fund is accepting essays for the 2016 school year. All submissions must be postmarked by December 31st and the essay contest winners will be selected and notified early in 2017. For more information, please visit the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund website.
If you’re a writer and have a love of the Second Amendment, we hope to announce you as one of the winners for next year!
For our junior essay contest winners, click here!