The Right to Bear Arms; Shall not be Infringed
Gun control has been controversial for many years. However, it hasn’t been very influential in politics given it hasn’t been ratified since around 1939. That is, until June 26, 2008, in District of Columbia v Heller when it ruled several things about what exactly the second amendment stood for. In light of the recent tragedies, including several deadly school shootings, people are up in chaos again about what rights that 2nd amendment should or shouldn’t give to individuals. This controversy is often fueled by emotion and less often fueled by knowledge and open mindedness. Keywords: Gun control in America, 2nd amendment, 2nd amendment rights, bear arms The Right to Bear Arms; Shall not be Infringed
“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.” That is the current reading of our second amendment. There is some discrepancy on the degree to which individuals may possess firearms and what types. The United States first make a ruling on the interpretation of the second amendment in 1939 and then not again until 2008 in District of Columbia v Heller. During this trial, the court ruled that the Constitution renders an individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense. It further dictated, that two of the District of Columbia provisions violated these personal rights. One was a ban on handguns. People who support stricter gun laws believe that by limiting the availability of guns, violence will be reduced. However, current research doesn’t show that to be true. Many also believe that reducing gun availability would reduce mass shootings such as the current school shooting tragedies. Lastly, they believe it would lead to less accidental shootings and make homes safer. Less Guns, Less Violence
Many leaders and citizens believe that violent crime is caused by the widespread availability of firearms and that by limiting the availability, the violence would be limited. It is undebatable that the United States has a violence problem. In 1998, there were approximately 14,088 total homicides and around 9,000 of those involved a firearm (Jacobs, 2002). For this reason, it is easy to jump to conclusions and say that guns equal violence. The United States has a higher violent crime rate, with and without firearms, that the other Western societies (Jacobs, 2002). Rape, robbery, and aggravated assault incidents are much higher, but most of those do not involve a gun. In fact, 90% of violent crimes are committed without any weapon whatsoever (Jacobs, 2002). Research strongly suggests that most violent crimes in America do not involve a gun. For example, only 1.4% rape crimes involve a gun. Furthermore, homicides do not occur randomly throughout the population. Many people who commit homicide have criminal records and often times so do the victims. The greatest number of crimes occur among a criminal subculture. In addition to this, many times African-Americans are the victims and perpetrators of homicide more often than European-Americans. And while it’s easy to attribute all of this crime to lack of gun control, an accurate explanation of deadly violence would have to consider the socioeconomic status and cultural norms of areas with high rates of crime. Using international statistics, Gary Kleck has shown that the violent crime rate is not a function of gun availability; removing the United States practically erases the correlation. In the United States, there is no significant correlation between rates of firearm ownership and rates of firearm homicide at the state or city levels (Jacobs, 2002). Another inconsistency to the notion that gun ownership contributes to violence is the fact that private gun ownership has steadily increased over the last 40 years or so and the crime rate has fluctuated during that time with no...
References: Grossman, D. C., Reay, D. T., & Baker, S. A. (1999). Self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries among children and adolescents: the source of the firearm. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 153(8), 875.
Jacobs, J. B. (2002). Can gun control work?. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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