The Right to Bear Arms

Paul Garro
Section 6
The Right to Bear Arms, They Haven’t Taken it Away, (Yet)
Throughout the years there have been many attempts to take away a citizen’s right to own a gun. From topics such as the original intent of the Second Amendment or the current practices surrounding guns, people on both sides of this issue believe the arguments are in their favor. Gun control supporters most likely will not stop trying to get the Second Amendment repealed. While this issue is still heavily debated in the court of public opinion, the United States Supreme Court has, many times, affirmed that the Second Amendment to the Constitution does indeed guarantee an individual’s right to own a gun.
James Madison, who is one of the original drafters of the Constitution, strongly believed in the people’s right to defend their homes. This may be the primary reason he is credited with actually writing the Second Amendment. Madison was concerned the government would seize the citizens’ weapons, rendering them defenseless. Madison never intended the Second Amendment to include only the militia, but rather every individual’s right to protect his or her family and property. Therefore, any individual who chooses to own a gun should be able to do so without government intrusion (Wilson).
Some studies have shown that relaxed gun laws have actually deterred criminals, because they didn’t know if their victim had a gun or not. Just knowing their victim has the right to own a gun seemed to be enough to discourage potential assailants (Lott). Since police cannot be everywhere to protect everyone, responsible people should be able to own a gun for the protection of their own liberties, should they desire it.
In an article by Ballaro and Finley, they call for, “A stringent system of gun registration for weapons and their owners, similar to the systems in place to register motor vehicles and license drivers, would also pose no threat to law-abiding gun owners.��? While this may be true, ultimately, it serves no purpose other than to give the government a list of all law abiding gun owners. After all, it is unreasonable to think a criminal would take the time to fill out a registration card for a gun.
Gun control supporters often argue that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to provide local militia with the means to protect the community as a whole. While this may be one purpose, it is not its only purpose. The Supreme Court ruled, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes��? (“The Right��?). The gun control supporters are ignoring the rights of citizens with their narrow point of view. While the Second Amendment does provide for the arming of militias, it also provides for an individual’s right to own a gun.
Those who advocate for full gun control will have to settle for their small victories, such as registration. The Supreme Court has stated that the individual does have the right to keep and hold guns, but this does not come without responsibility. The responsibility is to safely use and keep guns. Therefore, the Court reserves the right to regulate, and even prohibit, firearms in some instances. However, in a landmark decision and a major victory for all law abiding gun owners, the Supreme Court upheld the Second Amendment recently by stating, “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct��? (“The Right��?). There will undoubtedly be more attempts to have the Second Amendment abolished, but for now it still stands.
Ballaro, Beverly, and Laura Finley. “Counterpoint: Gun Control Saves Lives.” Points of View: Gun Control (2009): 3. Points of View Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime And Gun-control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Print
“The Right to Own a Gun Is Guaranteed by the Constitution.” Is Gun Ownership a Right? Ed. Kelly Doyle. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.
Wilson, Brian. “Point: The Unrealistic Goals of Gun Control.” Points of View: Gun Control (2009): 5. Points of View Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.