Gun Control

Topics: Gun politics in the United States, Firearm, National Rifle Association Pages: 7 (2328 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Constitutional Law

Gun Control Paper

Gun control is undoubtedly an issue that most Americans have been exposed to. In 1989, guns killed 11,832 Americans. The National Rifle Association (NRA) members believe that it is their constitutional right to own guns, stating that guns are not the root of the crime problem in the United States. Gun control activists like the members of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) argue that guns are responsible for the majority of violent crimes that take place. They wish to instill many types of bans and waiting periods on firearms, making it nearly impossible to obtain a handgun. In fact, in 1993 the Brady Bill, which mandates a waiting period on buying firearms, was passed. Their arguments range from protecting children to saying that guns are diseases, but when one looks at the facts, though, the arguments of gun control advocates seem irrelevant and it becomes clear that guns should not be controlled.

The Supreme Court has been very careful in limiting the rights of individuals to carry firearms. They have also been debating about weather the framers intended the Second Amendment to apply to individuals, or to state militias. In U S v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875) the court ruled that laws could be passed regarding gun control. The court said "The right they're specified is that of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose.' This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, 11 Pet. 139, the 'powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police,' 'not surrendered or restrained' by the Constitution of the United States" (FindLaw). This case laid the groundwork for future gun control legislation. The court again ruled that it could limit the right to bear arms in Cases v. United States, 131 F. 2d 916, 922 (1st Cir. 1942), cert. denied, 319 U.S. 770 (1943). The court, upholding a similar provision of the Federal Firearms Act, said: ''Apparently, then, under the Second Amendment, the federal government can limit the keeping and bearing of arms by a single individual as well as by a group of individuals, but it cannot prohibit the possession or use of any weapon which has any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia'' (FindLaw). Through all of this, the court always emphasized that it must be careful not to infringe on the rights granted under the second amendment. The debate still rages on to this day over weather or not the second amendment applies to individuals or not.

Gun ownership by private citizens is protected under the second Amendment. It states that 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. The forefathers of our country meant for the people to own and use firearms, and any law or control on that right would be unconstitutional. Gun control activists essentially believe the Second Amendment guarantees only to its militia the right of arms, but the Gun control proponents have yet to identify even a single quote from one of the founders to support their claim (Silver 78). The Second Amendment supports gun owners, and hard evidence that it does otherwise is nonexistent.

I feel that the founding fathers believed it necessary for private citizens to possess firearms not only to protect themselves, but...

Cited: Bernards, Neal. Gun Control. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc, 1991. U.S
Newton, David E. Gun Control: An Issue for the Nineties. Hillside: Enslow Publishers, 1992.
National Rifle Association Press Releases and Policy Reports
Viewed 15 Feb. 2000.
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