Pro-Gun Rights

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“Shall Not Be Infringed”

“When Governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” (Beck 35). This quote is from one of the greatest men in the history of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, the father of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. The validity of his statement is not only historical, but as pertinent today as it was when spoken anew. It is learned in schools across the nation, although the importance of the words depends on the teacher, school, and region of the country. During the revolutionary period, King George learned this same concept the hard way, “…an armed populace is a populace that will not be pushed around.” (Beck 35). One of the rights that have been afforded to law abiding Americans is the right to bear arms. There are many arguments regarding gun control laws in this country. From the founding of the United States, these arguments have been debated. Many objections to owning guns are based on lack of research, or believing someone who has an agenda to end the right. Precious few defense stories have been offered by the media reporting on how gun ownership helps protect property or has saved a life. Division regarding individual gun ownership has been a conflict since 1789, when discussions and subsequent inclusion of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States (Tindall 204). “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.” (Beck 35). These words are second among the ten basic rights that are listed in the Bill of Rights, following only freedom of speech, religion, and expression. These twenty-seven words are arguably the most powerful, but also the most debated. Within the construction of the Second Amendment the “Militia” is specifically mentioned in the preamble. Many of those who advocate gun control say that this bill is strictly directing gun ownership for the purpose of a militia. These individuals are considering the preamble without looking further to review the actual Second Amendment wording. With further investigation of the text in the Second Amendment, there have also been several discussions that regard the wording of preambles of any laws. In Arguing With Idiots, Beck states: “In announcing one influential English decision in 1716…, the judge called the idea that a preamble can limit or redefine the operative text ‘a ridiculous notion.’ The reporter noting the decision even wrote that ‘his Lordship’ rendered his decision ‘with some heat.’” (36). Even when addressed in court, those who would disagree with the limitations based on a preamble were met with opposition and argument. In the context of the Second Amendment, the preamble says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” (Beck 35) There is neither a limit to the lawful possession for protection, nor type of firearm owned. In the mid-nineteenth-century a legal treatise stated, “When the words of the enacting clause are clear and positive, recourse must not be had to the preamble.” (Beck 37) This interpretation further indicates that the preamble is nothing more than an introduction, and not to indicate the entirety of the laws written. In other words, if the enacting clause, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (Beck 35) is clear then the preamble is of lesser importance and does not limit the rest of the power of the law. A more modern example of this same precedent: “’In a radical break from 70 years of Supreme Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even through the amendment clearly links the right to service in a “militia.”’”(Beck 36) The decision made by Justice Scalia was in...
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