Introduction to The Second Amendment
The Second Amendment is the right to “bear arms.” A common misconception about the 2nd amendment is that it only grants the right to own a gun. This, however, is not the case. The second amendment also allows for the people’s right to assemble and petition the government. It protects against unreasonable search and seizures of property without due process of law, as well as being an indictment on slave labor or involuntary servitude.
What is The Second Amendment
The right to bear arms is the second of the five amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, and James Madison created it.
- The amendment reads: “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.”
- Many experts believe that the amendment’s first part, known as the “militia clause,” was initially intended to require that citizens must be alert and armed so they could help defend their communities against invasion or insurrection.
- The “right of the people” phrase is believed to be an affirmation of fundamental individual rights.
History of The Second Amendment
The Second Amendment is one that was passed in 1791. This amendment can be found in the Bill of Rights and governs and protects the gun rights of Americans. The firearm symbolizes power and liberty for many Americans, and it is deeply rooted in American society. It is owing to this symbolism that it has been challenging to regulate gun control. But, many of the recent shootings have made it clear that we need stricter regulations on guns.
It is essential to know the exact text of the Second Amendment before we discuss its implications. The amendment states: “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.” This statement is divided into two clauses with a comma. The first clause gives a reason for gun rights to be protected, which is because having an armed militia keeps us safe from threats within or outside our country’s borders.
In this clause, “militia” refers to civilians who are brought together as soldiers for our nation in times of need. In other words, it doesn’t just mean those that have been conscripted into military service but also those who fight under a leader in an organized group. The second clause gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms, which we will discuss later.
Ramifications of The Second Amendment in America
According to the National Rifle Association of America, over 81 million men and women have been trained by NRA-certified instructors. In addition, five new shooting ranges are established every day around the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union reports that ordinary citizens used approximately 258 million guns in 1993. The Congressional Research Service says that today at least 200 million firearms are owned by civilians in this country. That means about three out of four families have a gun – even if they don’t hunt or shoot, just as a matter of protection against criminals who might attempt to do them harm.
An article published on January 21st by Dr. Michael Siegel for NBC News states: “A gun is present in 39 percent of all US suicides, increasing the likelihood of suicide by five times when a gun is used.”
Doesn’t that sound like an urgent problem in the United States? Dr. Michael Siegel continues: “Gun-owning adolescents who commit suicide are not more likely to have suffered from mental illness than non-gun owners. Also, most adolescents who committed suicide using a gun were not intoxicated at the time.”
This clearly shows that guns don’t cause depression or any other illness in children or adults. However, they make it easier to take one’s own life. The point here is that firearms in their homes do not protect depressed persons with access to them. Instead, they provide opportunities for tragedy and death – for both their owners and others.
The Second Amendment and Mental Health
The NRA has also lobbied to end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control because it studied firearm injuries in addition to motor-vehicle fatalities, suicide attempts using common methods including suffocation, poisoning by gas inhalation, non-fatal fall-related to alcohol use, poisonings related to illegal drugs, poisonings related to prescription drugs, drowning, fires started with flammable liquids, burns from touching hot objects including stoves and radiators or burning in bed.
The NRA wants the American people to believe that guns are not the problem; instead, it is caused by alcohol abuse, drug use, and mental health issues. That’s offensive to millions of Americans who don’t abuse these substances but still suffer gun violence at the hands of criminals or out-of-control police officers.
I cannot blame gun supporters for wanting easy access to weapons because they truly fear that their government will wage war against them one day – any day now! So what are my concerns about this issue? I worried about law enforcement assuming power to decide who is crazy and who isn’t. But more importantly, I am concerned about our society’s lack of understanding of what it means to be truly sane.
The Second Amendment and The Law
When it comes to changes in how the Second Amendment is presented, there needs to be a distinction between the right of citizens to have arms versus the right of civilians to keep and bear arms. In other words, Congress can regulate what sort of firearms people own but they cannot infringe upon a citizen’s rights due to possessing a gun. This means that even though Congress can pass stricter gun control, they cannot prevent an American from owning a firearm altogether.
If we think about this more in-depth, we realize that it would be similar to restricting one’s First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, because someone had spoken before. This is why there needs to be some alteration made on how the Second Amendment is presented. Therefore, Congress can regulate gun control laws based on what types of firearms are allowed to be owned but they cannot affect the individual’s rights who purchases one of these firearms. They can’t turn a law-abiding citizen into a criminal by passing strict legislation.
The second part is about restricting civilians from owning certain types of firearms that have been deemed too dangerous or deadly for human beings to possess. The Supreme Court has decided that it goes against an American’s constitutional rights if they cannot own something because it seems like it would be more harmful than good in some circumstances (for example, Heller vs. District of Columbia).
People say this decision was made because there was not enough evidence to prove that handguns caused crimes; however, this is not entirely true. It is true that firearms are used more often in suicides or maim, but it didn’t stop the Supreme Court from making this decision. They were saying through their decision that people have a right to own things like guns and knives if they aren’t causing harm to others and therefore restricting them because of their “deadly” nature cannot be passed.
This is important when discussing how citizens can still own semi-automatic weapons even with stricter gun control laws. Semi-automatic weapons refer to firearms where one bullet comes out each time you press down on the trigger (the trigger must be pressed down every time). Automatic weapons allow shots to come out continuously while the trigger is pressed once because a mechanism within the firearm compels it to keep firing. Even though semi-automatic weapons should be restricted, the Supreme Court has decided to allow them in some circumstances.
This is because when people talk about automatic weapons, they refer to fully automatic weapons banned from civilian use since 1934. They were barred because of their reputation for being very easy and cheap to obtain (i.e., criminals and drug lords). Let’s go back to the Heller decision. We realize that even though handguns were used more often in crimes it didn’t justify banning them entirely because they could also be used for self-defense or hunting purposes; therefore restricting an American’s constitutional rights (the individual right of owning a gun).
If we put all of this together, it is clear that Congress can regulate what types of firearms people own, but they cannot cause citizens to lose their constitutional right as an individual because of holding a gun. This means that semi-automatic weapons can still be used for any legal purposes, and restricting them would go against the Heller decision.
The Supreme Court has also made it clear that fully automatic weapons should not even enter into public conversation as a possible choice for Americans to own because they are dangerous and easy to obtain by those who want to cause harm from the shadows.
Semi-automatic weapons do have a purpose within American society as long as they are used appropriately, which is why stricter gun control laws should not apply to them. However, there needs to be debate about stopping the production of semi-automatic weapons for civilians. Still, it should be directed towards closing legal loopholes that allow these firearms to exist (not by passing stricter gun control laws).