Home Gun Rights

Gun Rights

Gun Control versus Gun Rights

Gun Control versus Gun Rights

The debate between gun control and gun rights is one that has cultural, geographical, and lifestyle implications-it goes beyond just the mere notion of “I like guns vs. guns are dangerous.” Some of the mainstream arguments for and against gun control and gun rights-

Arguments for more restrictive gun laws
As society continues to diversify and human beings become more individualistic, we drift further apart from understanding each other. The gun control debate is not directly effected by this, but psychologically human beings fear what we don’t understand. In a society with hundreds of cultures, differences and arguments can arise out of nothing. Words are one thing but the use of firearms is an entirely different topic. With less restrictive laws on purchasing and ownership a seemingly pointless feud could intensify into murder. Guns give a man power, with power inevitably comes abuse.


There is a high rate of gun-related violence
The United States leads the world in gun violence and ownership. There is a direct correlation. This is perhaps the most obvious argument made in the gun control debate-guns kill people, most of the time for pointless reasons. Some statistics to back this argument up-The American Journal for Public Health conducted a study-Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority were handguns.
In 2005, 30,694 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths In comparison, 33,651 Americans were killed in the Korean War and 58,193 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War. Out of the 30,000+ people killed from gun violence, only 234 were considered to be justifiable. In addition to homicides and suicides more than 1,500 people perish from gun related accidents per year. 


The amount of guns in America is outlandish
Currently an estimated 38.4% of American households have guns. As of 2005 there were an estimated 290 million guns in circulation-40% which were handguns. In addition to this number, 3-5 million guns change hands in the secondary markets through illegal transactions. The market is flooded with guns and it is for the most part unregulated. This combination makes convicts and ill-equipped people prone to obtaining such weapons. 


The economic cost of guns
An often forgot about argument in the gun control debate. The first reaction is that guns take lives, but they also create negative externalities. According to the Brady Campaign-“A study of all direct and indirect costs of gun violence including medical, lost wages, and security costs estimates that gun violence costs the nation $100 billion a year. The average total cost of one gun crime can be as high as $1.79 million, including medical treatment and the prosecution and imprisonment of the shooter” This money doesn’t come out of thin air, it is paid for by the taxpayers.
Arguments for less restrictive gun laws


Outlawing gun ownership is unconstitutional
The intended purpose of the second amendment is to empower U.S. civilians against governmental tyranny-the only controversy revolves around whether that power is for an individual or collective purpose.  The second amendment to bear arms is a basic civil right given to all Americans and restricting such rights is unconstitutional. 

Self Defense 
The second amendment permits US citizen’s private ownership and use of guns to protect themselves and their property from attacks. Gun-ownership activists believed that individual ownership of handguns will control gun violence and homicides in America. If ordinary citizens are unarmed they become more susceptible to attacks because of their unarmed status.
Guns also protect those who are at risk and can’t protect themselves. A wife in an abusive relationship is a common example. Although statistics are difficult to gauge and formulate, many gun activists believe that for every life taken by a gun, 65 are saved.   

Gun ownership does not correlate with high crime

States with strict gun laws on average have higher violent crime rates than “shall issue” states. Some of the most dangerous places in the United States are leaders in gun control reform-examples include areas of Washington DC and New Jersey. The issue of violence is not about gun control, but instead about, poverty and crumbling urban environments.
Excluding inner-city violence, homicide rates in America have been steadily declining and are now at lower levels than Great Britain-who have extremely tight gun laws. Excluding ordinary citizens from the use of firearms is inefficient-those who commit violence will find a way to get a firearm, by whatever means necessary.

Recreational Use of Handguns  
A large issue of the gun control debate revolves around the second amendment and the right to use guns for hunting, target practicing, or sport. America’s settlers hunted for survival, now in modern times, the sport is wildly popular. Restricting or regulating purchases of hunting tools or shooting equipment is unjust.

What You Must Know About Gun Rights

What You Must Know About Gun Rights

America’s obsession with guns has been woven into our country’s fabric since before the Revolution. The second amendment (which protects the right of an individual to keep and bear arms) is the legal establishment for gun rights in America. Even though the now controversial bill was adopted in 1791, the use of guns in America can be traced back well before that.
When the country was first established, settlers were forced to hunt for food to avoid starvation. The use of guns became a rite of passage for men. Shortly thereafter militias were formed for European settlers to protect themselves against Native Americans. The formation of militias, and the necessity to hunt, made guns a crucial building block for survival and expansion in America. 
The tradition and formation of militias is crucial in understanding the origins of gun rights. During the late 18th century, America had no government or organized military to lean on. The armed citizen thus became our foundation for freedom. The militia relied on all civilians to equip themselves with weapons and ammunition. Survival and freedom was dependent on these soldiers, and it was an obligation for men to participate in the militia. The formation of militias was necessary to win the Revolutionary War.
Shortly thereafter, the use of guns gave way to western expansion of America. Ranchers, farmers, and cowboys all were proponents of gun rights for hunting, and self defense. Though there have been numerous alterations to gun rights, the weapon itself has long been a staple in America’s culture.
After independence was won from Great Britain, American’s began to question the rationality behind the second amendment and gun rights for individual use. During the Jacksonian era (1828-1850) the first individual gun right interpretation of the second amendment took place. Bliss vs. the commonwealth of Kentucky (1822) questioned whether or not the second amendment including the right to conceal a handgun for individualistic self defense. The courts found that the “right to bear arms is absolute and unqualified for individual purposes.”
Roughly 20 years after this ruling, a collective gun right interpretation of the amendment was challenged in Arkansas. In state vs Blizzard (1842) the legislative court interpreted the second amendment as a political gun right and not an individual one-the right to bear arms is for the well being of the militia, and can be regulated by state doctrines. This dichotomy laid the groundwork for the following 175 years of 2nd amendment interpretation. Are the gun rights of the second amendment and individual right or a collective right?
As America embarked on such issues as slavery and the subsequent Civil War the critical debate revolved around black slaves and their individual gun rights. Is a gun right a privilege? Are black slaves considered citizens and thus entitled to the bill of rights? The court decision in Dred Scott v Sandford concluded that Negroes were not full citizens and were not entitled to such gun rights. This ruling dissolved shortly after the civil war with the institution of the 14th amendment, but the ambiguity over gun rights remained.
  
Following the conclusion of the civil war, gun rights began to face constant questioning. As our society evolved and our views shifted to the left, we began to adopt new rulings and legislation. The time line below will outline some of the more momentous hearings in regards to gun rights.
1871-The NRA (national rifle association) was founded by Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate. A pro-gun right movement the NRA encouraged rifle shooting for scientific and constitutional reasons.
1934-National Firearms Act-President Franklin Roosevelt passed this law to curb the use of machine guns in American society. Following prohibition, the mafia and other lawless people flooded the streets, which eventually forced government to step in to dissipate the sale and use of dangerous firearms. Automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and silencers were targeted for elimination. Gun manufacturers and distributors were slapped with a hefty tax for the sale or creation of such weapons.
1938-Federal Firearms Act-Gun traffickers involved in selling and shipping were forced to obtain a license and publish records to all individuals they sold to. This helped prevent criminals from obtaining weapons. 
1968-Gun Control Act-Following the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and Robert Kennedy the federal government outlawed the practice of mail order guns, and required stricter rules in regards to licensing, record keeping, and transportation over state lines.
1994-Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act-Federal background checks, waiting periods, and stricter licensing requirements for the purchase of handguns. 
The above laws have been fundamental in altering an individuals gun rights. As society continues to develop, and the use of guns becomes more controversial, the laws and restrictions attached to them will continue to advance. 

Know The Republican Platform

Know The Republican Platform Since its
inception, the Republican party has prided itself on maintaining the individual
freedoms of the American citizen. Arguably it’s most fundamental principle,
Republicans believe that a smaller government with less regulation is the most
efficient means to run a country. This political stance does not waver in
regards to gun rights.



Generally speaking Republicans believe that every
American has the right to own, carry, and use a firearm.  Their firm
beliefs on gun control can be attributed to three chief ideologies, which
revolve around interpretation of the constitution, culture, and philosophy of
the party.  

   
Republicans have interpreted the first 10 amendments as the undeniable rights
for the individual American. Like the other nine amendments, “the right to
bear arms” is included in this interpretation of individual rights.
Conservatives pride themselves on their patriotism and upholding the freedoms
that act as America’s foundation. Changes in sociological behavior have no
bearing on the freedoms outlined by the bill of rights.



Republicans feel that
Government regulation over firearms is unconstitutional and an infringement on
an individual’s basic rights. The chief point made by Republicans in congruence
with the second amendment-one should always be given the right to protect
himself, his family, or his property. This is not to say that Republicans feel
as though every citizen in America should own a gun, but instead, a belief that
the right should not be altered through government intervention. 
   
The conservative stance on gun control can best be explained through cultural
upbringing.  Most “red” states are located in the Midwest, bible
belt, or deep south of our country.  These regions unlike the Northeast,
or west coast have fertile grounds for hunting and recreational shooting.
Conservatives have long honored the American tradition of hunting and other
shooting sports.



The Republican party under George W. Bush consistently fought
for the creation of more hunting grounds, and widening access for shooting
clinics. The first settlers in America used hunting as a means for survival-without
guns people would have starved to death.  Destroying this rich tradition
of America through government regulation and red tape is un-American.  
    
 
If the previous two reasons for loose gun control were combined into one
broader justification, the Republican ideology would come into form.
Conservative philosophy revolves around individual and historical basis points.
For many Republicans government policy can become invasive, if it interferes
with-a religious occurrence, historical event, our constitutional rights, or a
resource that was used to build our foundation.



The restrictions or red tape
placed on various sectors of the gun market is a direct violation of two of
these three variables. The Republican position on gun control doesn’t simply
revolve around a fondness for firearms, but instead a fundamental principle to
uphold the rights that our nation was built on.
       

Understanding 2nd Amendment Arguments

Understanding 2nd Amendment Arguments

One can argue that the 2nd amendment has raised more questions, controversy, and court rulings than any other law or right in US history. The 2nd amendment reads as follows-“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.”
Federal courts have further defined the amendment as-not applying to the states, a collective right, pertaining to the militia, and protecting only those situations where it can be proved that an individual possessing a firearm has some relevance to a well-regulated militia. Although this ruling has been documented, a more recent ruling (2008) defined the right to bear arms as an individual right. The opinions and interpretations seem to vacillate based on society or decade.
The controversy revolved around the interpretation of this right revolves around a few basic questions-Does the 2nd amendment mean that I as an individual have a right to carry a gun? Does this amendment only reflect gun control and gun rights of a militia or for the individuals in that militia? How does this amendment extend towards my right to carry a gun in regards to concealment?
There are three basic interpretations of the 2nd amendment
The civilian militia interpretation-The 2nd Amendment is no longer valid today because a militia system does not exist. It’s simply an archaic and obsolete passage in the bill of rights. 
The individual rights interpretation-The right to carry a gun is an individual right, and should be held in the same order as free speech or trial rights.
The median interpretation-Gun control and gun rights is an individual issue, but the 2nd Amendment slightly restricts it by implementing such rights only for militia purposes.
The ambiguity and complexity that revolves around the 2nd amendment is attributed to its varying interpretations. Usually, ambiguous laws or amendments have supreme court rulings which act as precedents. In the case of the right to carry a gun, or gun control and gun rights, the precedent has yet to be established.
The first Supreme Court ruling that focused primarily on the “true” meaning of the 2nd Amendment was U.S. vs Miller (1939.) During this hearing the Court ruled Miller, the Court confirmed a median interpretation, holding that “the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, but only if the arms in question are those that would be useful as part of a citizen militia.” Unfortunately this ruling did very little to further elaborate on the true laws towards gun control and gun rights. 
Just recently there was a ruling that will help establish the right to carry a gun in the United States. In 1975, the Firearms Control Regulations Act prohibited residents in Washington DC from owning handguns (excluding those who purchased their firearm before 1975.)
This law which was considered revolutionary in regards to gun control and gun rights, was later overturned in 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Parker vs Washington DC. The Supreme Court later upheld the ruling in 2008 citing that the city’s handgun ban violated individuals’ 2nd Amendment right to own a gun.
This ruling in essence helps clarify the right, but it still does not solidly answer the interpretation questions. Ambiguity still exists because states and cities can and have passed laws outlawing a citizens right to carry a gun, or by altering gun control and gun rights.  

Political Standpoints At A Glance

Political Standpoints At A Glance

Democrats have generally adopted a strict stance in regards to the regulation of guns in America. The majority of significant anti-gun legislation has been passed by Democratic presidents or congress. The most notable provisions passed by Democrats, which regulated the use, sale, or possession of weapons are: The National Firearms Act of 1934, The Gun Control Act of 1968, The Brady Bill of 1993, and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.
The series of legislative documents instituted bans or strict restrictions on the use, production, and accessibility of various firearms. Although generalized to an extent, the sentiments towards guns, expressed by the democratic party, can be revealed through the electoral college. If one were to review each state’s political history and their corresponding gun laws an obvious relationship would surmise. 

Gun Rights Made Easy

Gun Rights Made Easy

“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.” These 27 words, which make up the America’s obsessionpoliticalrepublicansdemocratsinterpretation of the 2nd amendmentgun rights versus gun control
     The civilian militia interpretation
The Second Amendment is archaic. With a powerful army behind us, civilian militias are now considered obsolete. The amendment is simply outdated, however, the rights to bear arms for hunting purposes and sport should not be heavily regulated.  
     The individual rights interpretation
The right to carry a gun is an individual right. Like the other amendments in the bill of rights, the right to bear arms is a direct freedom given to all American citizens. 
     The median interpretation
Gun control and gun rights is an individual issue. The Second Amendment should not be interpreted as an individual right, but should also not be considered archaic. State laws and circumstance should dictate gun laws.
The various interpretations of the 2nd amendment are crucial in understanding the stances taken by both the republican and democratic parties. The conservative platform revolves around a smaller government, with less regulation or restrictions for the American citizen. Like the other amendments under the bill of rights, Republicans feel the 2nd amendment stands as a direct individual right for all Americans.
Protecting ones family, property or possessions should not be regulated or prohibited based on the activities of unlawful citizens. Guns are a necessary resource for recreational sports, and self-protection, not inflicting crime on society. Regulating or impeding an individual’s right to bear arms is unconstitutional. This sentiment becomes tangible when viewing the gun laws of most red states.
Part of what makes America unique is the breakdown of governing bodies in the country. Although the federal government imposes a set of broad rules governing the purchase and use of guns, the majority of laws are found on a state level. Regions in America generally run or populated by conservatives have adopted extremely casual stances on gun laws. States in the South, Midwest, and great plains commonly require no permit for purchase, license of ownership, or registration of any sort of firearm. Guns are accessible to the average citizen, and the rights associated with use, carrying, and possession are lenient. 
The issues revolving around the gun control debate have been fortified through centuries of cultural beliefs. Gun rights are a sensitive topic to many, because of the sentimental nature
 
States that are commonly considered liberal have a very different stance on gun laws. Unlike republican regions, areas such as the Northeast or West Coast generally have rigid stances towards gun rights. Possessing, purchasing, and carrying a handgun in these areas requires a lengthy application process, background checks, and various permits. Many liberal influenced regions are congested environments.
Hunting grounds are uncommon, and the nostalgic tradition regarding firearms is not present. To many democrats handguns create violence and nothing more. The following legislation passed by the democratic majority will help elaborate on the party’s stance towards guns.

Gun Control Act of 1968
passed in response to the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. This bill altered federal law to help broadly regulate the firearm industry. It made guns by mail illegal, (Lee Harvey oswald the suspected killer of JFK got his weapon through the mail) and strictly enforced the transfer of firearms across state lines. 

Brady Bill of 1993
Instituted mandatory federal background checks on all firearm purchases in the United States. Also, prohibited the transfer or sale of weapons to individuals who are mentally unstable, addicted to drugs, a fugitive, has been discharged from the US army, illegal aliens, court ordered, convicted of domestic violence, or any person who has been convicted of a criminal crime.


Federal Assault Weapons Ban
part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 this provision instituted by Democrats prohibits the sale of assault rifles and certain semi-automatic machine guns to citizens of the United States.
The debate over guns rights is indeed a rich one. Possessing multiple layers, and deep-seeded cultural implications, the sentiments of both sides possess cultural and societal implications. The dichotomy is controversial in nature. Guns kill in urban environments at an alarming pace, yet they provide a nostalgic and recreational use to many living in our heartland.  

Be Informed About Barack Obama on Gun Rights

Be Informed About Barack Obama on Gun Rights

Like most Democrats, Barack Obama believes hand gun laws should be strictly enforced. The following Obama quotes will elaborate on this political stance of tight gun laws.
Barack Obama’s Interpretation on the 2nd Amendment: “As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it.”
Barack Obama’s Stance on Licensing and Registration of Guns:”I think we can provide common-sense approaches to the issue of illegal guns that are ending up on the streets. We can make sure that criminals don’t have guns in their hands. We can make certain that those who are mentally deranged are not getting a hold of handguns. We can trace guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers that may be selling to straw purchasers and dumping them on the streets.”
Barack Obama’s Feelings Towards the Attempted D.C. Handgun Ban and his Thoughts on whether it was a Violation of the Second Amendment: “I think we have two conflicting traditions in this country. I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families.
We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions.”
Barack Obama’s General Stance (Enforcement Must Be Separated Between Hunting Weapons and Handguns): “What we can do is provide some common-sense enforcement. The efforts by law enforcement to obtain the information required to trace back guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers. We essentially have two realities, when it comes to guns, in this country. You’ve got the tradition of lawful gun ownership.
It is very important for many Americans to be able to hunt, fish, take their kids out, teach them how to shoot. Then you’ve got the reality of 34 Chicago public school students who get shot down on the streets of Chicago. We can reconcile those two realities by making sure the Second Amendment is respected and that people are able to lawfully own guns, but that we also start cracking down on the kinds of abuses of firearms that we see on the streets.”
Barack Obama likes to refer to his stance on gun ownership as a “common-sense enforcement.” The President wants to uphold the rich tradition of hunting and sport, while eliminating loopholes, and enforcing background checks on all handgun purchases. The President believes there are two classes of weapons. The legal side, which upholds Obama’s beliefs that the Second Amendment should be interpreted on an individual basis, and the use of guns among law-abiding Americans is legal for hunting, recreational, and protection purposes. 
And the non-legal side, where handgun violence is a major issue in America and background checks and permit processes should be strictly enforced to prevent criminals from obtaining such harmful weapons. Obama also believes all assault rifles and machine guns should be banned regardless of use. Barack Obama’s stance is a median interpretation of gun rights that is weighted towards the liberal side. 
  
  

Second Amendment Arguments

Second Amendment Arguments

The “right to bear arms” is arguably the most controversial and complex liberty found in the United States Bill of Rights. The center of the gun control debate revolves around the ambiguous text found within the 2nd Amendment.
Although only 29 words, the 2nd Amendment’s wording has spawned three different interpretationsUnited States Supreme CourtImportance of Second Amendment in Drafting Laws:semi-automaticfully-automaticvarying state lawsUnited States vs. Heller (1939) the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment does not trump the National Firearms Act of 1934, and does not allow an individual to transport an outlawed weapon between state lines.
Heller argued that the 2nd Amendment protects his right to commit such an act, while the Supreme Court ruled that it does not extend such powers to the individual. More recent outcomes, however, have upheld the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of civil rights. The D.C. handgun ban was ruled unconstitutional in 2007, and District of Columbia vs. Heller solidified that an individual may carry a weapon for lawful purposes (self-protection) in congruence with the 2nd Amendment.