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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 The amendment is simply outdated, however, the rights to bear arms for hunting purposes and sport should not be heavily regulated.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. 
  
  

Understand The Democratic Platform

Understand The Democratic Platform The
democratic stance in concerns with gun laws has long been a rigid one. Many
liberals have stated that homicide and crime will severely mitigate if more
stringent gun laws are enforced.  The democratic stance on gun control can
be correlated with state interpretations of gun control.  Historically
speaking, most liberal states have a higher Brady scorecard than conservative
ones.  The Brady scorecard is a comprehensive scoring system used to
evaluate the strength of state’s gun laws.  The scores are from 1-100 (1
being the weakest gun laws and 100 being the most strict), and they are listed
below with a political affiliation attached to them.  For this chart we
will only use states that have consecutively voted “red” or
“blue” for the past 4 presidential elections.    


Conservative states and their Brady Scores



Alabama-16


Alaska-2


Georgia-6


Idaho-2


Kansas-7


Kentucky-2


Louisiana-2


Mississippi-6


Montana-4


North Dakota-4


Oklahoma-2


South Carolina-2


South Dakota-4


Tennessee-8


Texas-9


Liberal States and their Brady Scores


California-79

Connecticut-53


Delaware-22


Hawaii-42


Illinois-28


Maryland-52


Massachusetts-55


Michigan-24


New Jersey-73


New York-50


Pennsylvania-25


Rhode Island-45


mean Brady score for red
states=5.06                                             



mean Brady score for blue states=45.66


The contrast between the sides is startling.  To further elaborate on the
democratic stance on gun control one can look at all of the provisions passed
through liberal majority votes.

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.  The Brady Bill has blocked the sale of over 2 million
firearms since 1994.

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.

National Firearms Act of 1934

Passed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in response
to growing concern over the infiltration of fully-automatic weapons on society.
During the prohibition era, powerful automatic weapons often wound up in the
hands of the mafia and criminals. These weapons not only created havoc, but
instilled fear on communities. Fearful of societal unrest, FDR passed the
National Firearms Act in 1934, which effectively placed ban on all automatic
weapons. The act made the obtainment of weapons nearly impossible and
instituted a federal stronghold on the production and purchase of such weapons.


Democrats commonly correlate gun use and the acquisitions of firearms with
homicide and other violent crimes. The liberal interpretation of the 2nd
amendment is not a direct right for individuals to own and use guns.  In
general democrats do not have a no-tolerance stance towards guns, but instead a
“common sense interpretation.” This simply means that long guns or
guns used for sport are permissible for societal use, while “violent”
guns such as handguns or semi-automatic weapons should be strictly regulated.


   


Sentiments towards gun control are strongly based on culture and background.
This can be connected to political parties as well.  Most people in the
North East, in big cities, or on the west coast affiliate themselves with the
Democratic Party.  Conversely, many republicans are found in the deep
south, rural areas, and bible belt.  Guns are obviously used more
frequently for hunting purposes, recreation, and protecting one’s land in these
areas.  Democrats will tend to lean towards stricter gun laws because of
their state’s greater population density’s, urban environments, and ideology of
the region. 



For and Against The Second Amendment

For and Against 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.” Although only 27 words long, the 2nd amendment is a source for fiery debates and critical interpretation. 
Sentiments and cultural background are deeply en-routed in an individuals interpretation of the 2nd amendment. There are two distinct interpretations in terms of the 2nd amendments “true meaning.” One side (which is generally a more conservative stance) believes that the 2nd amendment directly offers an individual the right to bear arms for self defense and recreational purposes.
The countering side (generally more liberal, advocates for stricter gun control) believe the 2nd amendment is an archaic interpretation that revolves around the formations of militia. This side stresses that the militia has become obsolete with the formation of the US army, and that the right to bear arms no longer applies. There is a median interpretation present, referred to as the “common sense stance.” This following attempts to regulate handguns more stringently and uphold the use of recreational firearms such as shotguns or rifles. For clarity’s sake we will divide the two sides, eliminate the median, and detail such arguments.

Those who interpret the 2nd amendment as a militia’s right
Interpretation of the 2nd amendment revolves only around the formation of militia. Since the constitution was written over 200 years ago thoughts and stances are bound to change. Back then, militias were essential for the formation of our country. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”
America didn’t have an organized and powerful army like we do today, so regular citizens were forced to arm themselves and protect their rights. Hunting was also a means for survival during revolutionary times-without guns many settlers would have starved to death. Guns were an important aspect of life during those times, but the world has greatly changed. We do not need to rely on guns to protect ourselves from a controlling monarchy or as a means to feed ourselves.
The 2nd amendment also specifically states uses words such as “militia”, “security of a free state”, and then mentions “right of the people”-there is no mention of an individuals right to bear arms. It is interpreted as the “right of the people” within the militia have a freedom to bear arms.   

Those who interpret the 2nd amendment as an individual right
The 2nd amendment can be found in the bill of rights. These 10 amendments in the constitution all pertain to individual rights so why wouldn’t this particular one do the same? The 2nd amendment helps protect the freedoms found in the other 9 amendments and that is the basis, meaning, and interpretation. Every citizen has the right to protect his/her property, family, or loved ones. Every citizen also has a right to protect oneself from government tyranny. Stripping the right to bear arms from individuals creates a vulnerable and defenseless society. 
More than two centuries later the 2nd amendment has still not been interpreted exactly. Meaning simply depends on what side of the gun control debate you’re on.

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. 

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.