Second Amendment and Gun Politics in the United States

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“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them.” – George Washington

Throughout the years, guns laws have always been a debate between the political parties. Some may say that we need to remove all guns to ensure safety, but does that really keep anyone safe? Others say that we need to do deeper and more thorough background checks to be sure guns do not end up in the wrong hands or situations. As Americans, we have the right to own and bear arms to protect ourselves, families, and use them safely and appropriately as we please. Though there has been devastating acts of violence with guns that has created debate about guns, it is important to remember, it does not matter what type of gun a person could use, it is the type of person using a gun.

The United States Constitution was officially signed on September 17th of 1787. The amendment that was created about gun rights is the second amendment. The second amendment is defined as, ‘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’ (Cornell). There have been many cases of people challenging the dialogue of the second amendment, such as the collective rights theory. A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that, “Citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.” (Cornell).

There have also been many collective rights theory cases that have been taken to court such as United States vs. Miller, District of Columbia vs. Heller, and Mcdonald vs. City of Chicago. In the United States vs. Miller case, they were challenging if a sawed-off shotgun should be regulated. They ended up determining that it did not have a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated Militia.” (Cornell). In the District of Columbia vs. Heller case, they were challenging the handgun ban that had stood for 32 years. The ban ended up being lifted after going back to the details of the second amendment exclaiming that it is an American individual’s right to own and possess a firearm. Lastly, in the Mcdonald vs City of Chicago case, they tried to challenge the new handgun law. Into further investigation of the Fourteenth Amendment, they could not change the new law so it remained the same. (Cornell). Though the Second Amendment exclaims that the people are able to keep and bear arms, sometimes guns get placed into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, the number of mass shootings over the years has significantly increased. Last year in the United States, the number of mass shootings was a sickening 346 incidents. (NBC). So how do we fix these climbing statistics? How are we going to keep our fellow Americans safe? Some say that all guns need to be banned to prevent more shootings and others may say that it’s just a matter of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. On November 5th, 2017, 26 people were killed at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (NBC).

David Patrick Kelley was the sick individual that committed this heinous crime. This individual had access to guns even though he had two charges of assaulting his spouse and child. He was also was given a bad conduct discharge in 2014 from the United States Air Force.(NBC). He was armed with a AR-15 when he entered the church in Sutherland Springs. What most people don’t know is that he was stopped by a man who resided across the street who came to the rescue with his own personal AR-15. This goes to show that it doesn’t matter what type of gun is out there, what really matters is the person using the gun. The hero who saved many lives by defending himself and the others is named Stephen Willeford. In an interview with Willeford, he stated, “People need to understand that we both used the same kind of gun and the difference was the difference of heart. There is evil and good in this world and that is the difference. It is not the tool.” (Stinchfield).

As said in the Second Amendment, individuals have the right to own and bear arms. Instead of our guns being taken away, why don’t we make background checks tougher so guns don’t end up in the wrong hands to possibly create mass destruction? In an article published on opensecrets.org, 84% of Americans support expanding background checks including private firearm sales and purchases at gun shows and events.(West). Instead of punishing gun owners that have guns for personal/family protection and recreational uses, do further investigating on who you are selling a firearm to.

On news.gallop.com, there are a number of statistics I found regarding gun related questions answered from 1962 to present day. According to this website, in 2018, 42% of Americans reported having guns in their home. (Gallop). Branching off of that question, people were also asked, “In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as the way they are now?

The results were as followed: 61% more strict, 30% kept as now, and 8% less strict. (Gallop). I agree with the 61% that said the laws should be more strict in certain ways. If there were more thorough background checks and a mental health assessment, there would not be as many guns being put into the wrong hands which would result in less shootings and gun violence. Another question that was asked in this credible survey was, “There are many reasons why some people choose to own guns and others do not. What are some of the reasons why you own a gun?” (Gallop). The three most popular answers were personal safety/protection at 60%, hunting at 36%, and recreation/sport at 13%. This poll shows that 60% of people are arming themselves and their families.

Lastly, there a question on the survey that needs to be investigated more by the agreeing parties. The question asks “Suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against a law that would- Reinstate and strengthen the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994-2004?” 56% of people voted for a law that would strengthen the ban on assault weapons. (Gallop). The 56% of those people probably were unaware that handguns are the most used weapon in shootings in the United States. The definition of an assault weapon according to Merriam-Webster is, “Any of various automatic or semiautomatic firearms”. (Merriam).There are semi automatic rifles, semi automatic shotguns, and semi automatic handguns, so banning “assault weapons” essentially means banning all guns. Just as what was stated above by Willeford, “There is evil and good in this world and that is the difference. It is not the tool.”

“You can have all the gun control laws in the country, but if you don’t enforce them, people are going to find a way to protect themselves. We need to recognize that bad people are doing bad things with these weapons. It’s not the law-abiding citizens, it’s not the person who uses it as a hobby.” – Michael Steele. Gun law debates will be a hot topic in politics and everyday life for a lot of people because so many people have one sided opinions. It is important to look into both sides before creating an opinion and and backing it up with facts and statistics. Guns do not need to be regulated or taken away in order for shootings and violence to change. What needs to change is the way people get guns.

Most people can go to a local hunting store and purchase a gun in less than an hour. There needs to be a thorough background check that people need to pass before purchasing any sort of firearm. This background needs to include their job history and any criminal records. I also believe that there needs to be a mental health assessment before purchasing a gun for the first time. It is extremely important for the government to pass laws like these to reduce gun violence in America and keep guns in the hands of people who want to protect themselves and their families and be able to exercise their Second Amendment in a respectful and safe manner.Though there has been devastating acts of violence with guns that has created debate about guns, it is important to remember, it does not matter what type of gun a person could use, it is the type of person using a gun.

Works Cited

  1. “Assault Weapon.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 2018, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assault%20weapon.
  2. Gallup, Inc. “Guns.” Gallup.com, 2018, news.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx.
  3. LII / Legal Information Institute. 2018. Second Amendment, Nov. 2018. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment
  4. Stinchfield, Grant. “Stinchfield | 11/09/2018.” Take Back The Truth, Nov. 2018. www.nratv.com/episodes/stinchfield-season2-episode-222.
  5. “Texas Church Shooting.” NBCnews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 2018, www.nbcnews.com/storyline/texas-church-shooting
  6. “Weapons Used in Mass Shootings in the U.S. 1982-2018 | Statistic.” Statista, www.statista.com/statistics/476409/mass-shootings-in-the-us-by-weapon-types-used/.
  7. West, Geoff. “Gun Rights vs Gun Control,” OpenSecrets.org, Feb. 2019. www.opensecrets.org/news/issues/guns.
  8. ‘WISE OLD SAYINGS.’ Curiosity Sayings and Curiosity Quotes | Wise Old Sayings. N.p., 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2018 http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/gun-quotes/.

Cite this paper

Second Amendment and Gun Politics in the United States. (2021, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/second-amendment-and-gun-politics-in-the-united-states/

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