Gun Control and the Second Amendment

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The Second Amendment to the Constitution says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (Agresti, 2009, para. 2). Based on a simple reading of this, it would seem that people do have the right to own and use firearms. So why are so many people trying to ban guns? Maybe it is because they do not understand what the Second Amendment actually means. Maybe it is because the media only reports the crimes committed with guns and not the lives saved with them. What would happen to the crime rate in the United States if guns were banned altogether as other countries have done? While some people think guns should be banned, it has been proven that criminals will still find ways to obtain them and the crime rate will rise.

The Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. Some people may wonder how that conclusion can be made because the Second Amendment refers to the militia. What does the word militia mean? A militia (n.d.) according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.” This means that every man who is able can be called to duty in an emergency. Does this mean they are in the armed forces? That answer is clearly no. What this means is that if there is an emergency beyond the military’s capabilities, regular, ordinary citizens may be called to help. Because ordinary citizens need to be prepared in case of an emergency, they need to be allowed to own guns.

People who are against the right to bear arms are trying to redefine the word militia. Their claim is that the militia refers to the armed forces, such as the Army Reserves or the police force. While the armed forces may be part of the militia, so are ordinary citizens. Citizens also need the ability to protect themselves and their families in case of an emergency. Some people argue that is what the police are for. After all, it is their job to protect the people. It is true, the police do have a job to protect the people. With massive budget cuts over the last few years or so, cities across the country have had to cut back on the number of officers while the population still continues to grow. For example, According to Hall, in Police, Fire Departments see shortages across USA, she states there were 400 fewer police officers in 2004 than in the 1990s (2004). How can a police force protect a growing city when the number of officers is going down? There is no way that they can protect everybody from every crime. Their response times are sometimes too slow in some cases, which is why people need to have the ability to defend themselves.

While the police do have a job to protect the citizens, they cannot be held responsible for not doing so. In Bowers v. DeVito, it was determined that police have a responsibility to protect the general public, but not individual members (American Bar Association, 2010). In Bowers v. DeVito and DeShaney v Winnebago County Department of Social Services, it was determined that ‘“The Constitution is a charger of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services’’’ (American Bar Association, 2010, p. 11).

In June 2008 in Washington D.C., the Supreme Court ruled that citizens do have a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. That ruling “overturned the District of Columbia ban on handguns” (Greenhouse, 2008 para. 2). With this new ruling, there have been more challenges to hand gun bans across the country. When that ruling came out, Chicago was another city that had a gun ban. After the Washington, D.C. case, McDonald decided to go to court to see if they could get their ban dropped, since it was decided that the Second Amendment does allow for guns to be used for self-defense. They used the following...
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