The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United 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.”
The Second Amendment has been the subject of controversy only for roughly the last 80 years. Even though, as some argue, the Framers themselves argued over its wording, the almost universally accepted opinion was that it guaranteed an individual right.
It was in 1934 that the first attempt at universal gun control on a national level occurred. In 1934, the United States was at the height of the Great Depression (Kangas, 1997). In 1933, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution had ...view middle of the document...
In 1994, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which, among other stipulations, required a five-day waiting period before a purchaser could take possession of a purchased firearm. The act was named for James Brady, the former presidential press secretary who was wounded in the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan (Handgun Control). His physical limitations and emotional testimony had an effect on many members of Congress. Also in 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, A.K.A. the Assault Weapons Ban, was passed. As usual, Congress used the Interstate Commerce Clause to accomplish the ban, which banned the sale, importation, or shipment across state lines of so-called “assault” weapons.
Even today, whenever there is a mass killing, there is an increase in the support for gun control, followed by an increase in gun sales (Bump, 2013). While not much is heard from gun control advocates between gun tragedies, they never let a crisis go to waste. The phrase “gun violence” pervades our national conscience. Shouldn’t violence be referred to as what it simply is—violence, without throwing in the inanimate object used to commit the violence? We never hear the phrase “knife violence”, or any other inanimate-object-violence on a national scale. Timothy McVeigh’s heinous act is never referred to as “explosion violence” or “fertilizer violence”. We never hear about groups wanting to ban automobiles, or airplanes when mass tragedies occur, even when the automobile or airplane is the tool willfully used by the perpetrator to take innocent lives. In reality, mass killings are perpetrated by mentally ill people, not by the inanimate object they use to accomplish the deed. Mass killings are the result of mental illness or a fanatical terroristic ideology, not guns. If they do not have a gun, they will kill another way. Mass shootings are NOT becoming more common as those with an agenda would have people believe (Daily News, 2012).
In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right in D.C., not merely a collective right to arm militias (Walsh & Hemmens, 2011, pp. 66-67). This ruling did not extend to the states, however, and the door was left open as to whether the right to keep and bear arms was a national individual right.
In 2010, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court settled the argument over whether the right to bear arms is an individual right (Garrett). At least, one would think. But, because the Supreme Court is a political toy used by political parties to further an agenda, don’t be surprised if this argument comes up again when a liberal President replaces a justice of the Supreme Court and the pendulum swings back to the left again. History is replete with cases in which justices decide them, not only on constitutional merits, but also based on the ideology of the President who appointed them.
Considering McDonald, why...