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· GrassHopper
8,185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On the morning of April 19, 1775, about 80 militiamen under the command of Captain John Parker, stood their ground on Lexington Green. They were demonstrating against 700 British Regulars, who were marching to Concord to seize and destroy all arms and military supplies owned by the colonial citizens. Nobody knows who fired the first shot that day, but after the fighting began, militias from towns nearby joined in the fight and drove the British down a bloody road to Boston. The Battle of Lexington and Concord marked the beginning of the American Revolution and the first battle of the long and controversial topic of gun control.

Four years after the War for American Independence ended, the Constitution was drafted in 1787. Included in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States, among freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, was the Second Amendment:

“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.”

While this document, the Constitution, is the backbone and absolute law of the United States, this single amendment has caused controversy and has inspired legislation and court decisions throughout the decades.

According to the recent case of McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the Supreme Court ruled “...that the right of an individual to ‘keep and bear arms’ is protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.” This decision struck down the Chicago Gun Ban, thus restoring the right to bear arms to the citizens of Chicago. But, the real question is wether or not the people need the right to bear arms. Should the individual citizen be allowed to own and carry a gun? Has the law gone too far or do the people not have their full right to bear arms?

Some Americans would argue that they don’t have all their rights to the fullest extent of the constitution. The National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 limit the types of firearms that are allowed to be owned by American citizens. They outlaw owning machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, suppressors, grenades, missiles and AOW’s (Any Other Weapons) such as pen guns, cane guns, disguised firearms, and smooth bore pistols, unless they are registered and the owner paid a “Transfer Tax” of $200 per item. Some believe that, using the definition of infringe - to break or weaken, that these laws weaken their right to bear arms and thus infringes the Second Amendment and are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has yet to publish any opinion of this matter, however other citizens question why anyone would want to own such weapons.

According to George Washington, “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined but should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government”

Using this statement by our beloved First President and founding father some believe that they should have the right to own any weapon so as to defend themselves from any threat including the U.S. Government, if need be. Others simply enjoy the sport and awesome power of owning and shooting these weapons.

Some people believe that there are not enough laws governing guns because there are too many shootings. They argue that if guns were outlawed, shootings like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Tucson would have never happened. That those criminals would have not been able get a gun in order to commit those crimes. Others are in favor of limiting guns and abolishing the right to carry guns in public. They argue that some guns have no purpose but to kill people, such as handguns, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and magazines (clips) that hold more than five rounds. They argue that guns are military weapons and should not be allowed to be used by the general public.

Others argue for their right to self defense. They believe criminals will have guns one way or another, in order to defend themselves from the armed criminals, they too must carry guns. As a bumper sticker from the Patriot Post reads, “I carry a pistol because my rifle wont fit in my purse.” Or, as The Dalai Lama said, "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.". They believe that the Second Amendment is there for the purpose of self defense, that they have the right to defend themselves, their families, their fellow man, and their property from anyone who threatens them. Some even quote the Bible, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed." - Luke 11:21.

On the other hand, some believe that the current rights and freedoms are being abused. According to President Bill Clinton, “When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it.". Rosie O’Donnell believes that, “If you do own a should go to prison.".

As a result of these endless debates, some states have different laws than others, counties and cities have different laws, and even private businesses have their own policies governing firearms. Many people believe that “No Gun Zones” prevent crime and reduce the likelihood of shootings. While shootings are rare and unpredictable for the most part, some believe that these “No Gun Zones” promote and even encourage shootings. They argue that because Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Safeway in Tucson, and the IHOP in Nevada were all “No Gun Zones”, the citizens within those areas were defenseless from attack by those who didn’t want to follow the rules. As a result of these shootings, people have called out for stricter gun laws to combat the ability of criminals to acquire guns.

One person, however, argues that it wasn't a flaw in the gun laws that caused these shootings but rather the fact that the mentally unstable, and incompetent people were never reported to the authorities, and that the public let them slip through the system. This is an except from that letter to the editor of the Dysart High School Newspaper:

“The article discusses a Federal Law in 1968 prohibiting Firearm ownership by those deemed mentally unfit in the court of law. While this is true, it is not any Gun Law's fault for Jared acquiring a firearm. It is Pima County Community College's Fault for not reporting his unstable mental state to the authorities, thus misrepresenting the current gun laws... All in all, I must say that the current Gun laws do work and, with the exception of the errors made by the Pima County Community College, would have prevented a shooting like that in Tucson on January 8.”

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics only 8% of violent crimes were committed with a firearm, and that number has been declining ever since 1993. A violent crime involving a firearm is already rare in and of itself. Some argue that there are bigger threats to the safety of society, such as automobile accidents, drug overdoses, medical negligence, DUI’s, and other fatal accidents. It is argued that these issues are responsible for a greater loss of life than firearms and should therefore be at the fore front of legislation and preventative measures, not guns.

Overall the statistics on firearms have shown that their use in crime has been declining for years. Most would be led to believe that the current gun laws are working, however, some believe that they aren’t working well enough.

The Modern Media has been on the front lines in the battle of swaying opinions. They seem to broadcast events such as Columbine, Tucson, and now the IHOP Shooting and leave out the statistics, backstory, and the several defensive shootings that happen weekly. They tend to portray the shooter as a “regular” person who decided to have a shoot out, that anyone who has a gun could turn on the general public at any time. Some say that while this point of view is not entirely wrong it is very unpractical and unfounded. Looking back on the past shootings like Columbine and the Tucson shooting, both of the perpetrators in both shootings were mentally unstable. They had tell tale signs and threats before the shootings that they were willing and/or able to commit those crimes. The school and other organizations failed to report their suspicious behavior and thus were unable to prevent the incident otherwise. One could argue that the media is to blame for the current frenzy of gun laws to restrict the purchase and use of firearms.

Some of the frenzy over gun laws have nothing to do with crime. Hunting has a rather large community in the United States, and most of them feel that a lot of the gun laws restrict, and sometimes prohibit their right to provide food for themselves and their families. Hunting has been, and still is, a way of life for many Americans. Lots of citizens don’t have access to modern food sources or choose to exercise their right to not go with the status quo. They favor game meat as opposed to factory processed foods. They argue that it is more economical and helps the ecosystem work by keeping the animal populations in check. While poaching is a big issue, the majority of hunters are law abiding citizens who obtain all the proper permits and licenses to practice that way of life.

· GrassHopper
8,185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Others believe that hunting is outdated and unnecessary in today’s day and age. They don’t see any reason why people can’t buy their food from the supermarket and be happy with that, just like millions of Americans do all the time. They believe that all guns should be illegal regardless of hunting rights. Others simply want to limit the types of guns that can be used on hunts, with magazine limits, lead-free or specialized ammunition, and maximum caliber sizes.

Not only do these hunters believe it is not fair that they have such restrictions on their God-given right to hunt, but they also generally defend their rights to self defense and to bear arms.

Without any doubt, the forefathers of our nation and the writers of the U.S. Constitution wanted the American people to have the right to bear arms. The simple fact of the matter is that the right to bear arms is a guaranteed constitutional right, however, in an effort to reduce crime and violence, laws have been made that limit that constitutional right. Regardless of the efforts to remove guns from the hands of criminals, outlaws still acquire firearms and still commit crimes, while the general public is left with no ability to protect themselves. As Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We can never get rid of crime, and getting rid of one of our rights is not the answer. Only you can protect yourself, the Government can’t do everything for you. That is why the Second Amendment reads, “It is the right of the people...” and not ‘It is the responsibility of the government...’.

(Written by Maxwell Herzog, may be used with proper credit given.)
342 Posts
"right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

If we have so many restrictions on guns its not even funny. They have to be a certain length, some imports are restricted and some types have to have a certain percentage of US parts, can't be full auto and made after a certain date, etc, etc. In addition to that you have to be a certain age to buy and even some adults(ages 18-20) can't buy handguns, you have to be in perfect standing with the government to pass a background check and maybe need a permit...

Ideally anyone at anytime should be able to obtain any firearm they want.

· Registered
13,458 Posts
Sadly, this great country of ours has a history of sending kids to war, who back home would not be considered old enough or responsible enough to vote or own guns.

And a history of bickering, under the guise of freedom of expression.


· Slightly Opinionated
234 Posts
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