The Debate Over The Second Amendment In America

Whenever the subject of gun control comes up in a conversation, things always get heated. But, reactions to mass shootings and terror attacks have caused the debate over the second amendment to escalate towards such a direction where strict policies are needed. The second amendment states that “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The reason why debates over this specific amendment have been escalating is that buying and owning a weapon has become very really easy. Furthermore, as access to firearms makes killing quite easy, the background checks that gun control has, decreases crime rates across the country.

The United States constitution is one of the most extraordinary inventions of all time. It provides certain rules and regulations which are applied to every single American citizen. The constitution also grants rights to citizens by carrying firearms to defend themselves. But lately, owning firearms has become extremely complex and gun-related violence has increased as there are some states in the U.S., where purchasing a gun has become very convenient whereas, gun control laws have already been enacted in other states and purchasing guns is quite hard. For example, in Missouri, buying a gun is a piece of cake and gun-related crimes in states such as Missouri are higher. While in Connecticut, gun-related crimes are lower as not only one has to wait for a long time to buy a weapon but, crimes are relatively lower.

Since the constitution of the United States was created over 250 years ago, the context of the second amendment was quite relevant at the time. Due to the lack of gun control policies in the U.S., tensions have increased in the 21st century, and as a consequence, many innocent individuals have lost their lives. Following the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and John and Robert F Kennedy, one of the first gun control policies were established (Blocher 2014). These assassinations made Americans think that policies should be enacted in order to protect civilian and authoritative figures. After the killings of these popular figures, the Gun Control Act of 1968, which is in fact still a primary federal law in the U.S was passed. However, overtime the Gun Control Act was diluted and the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act on November 30th 1993 was passed. Since gun control policies have always been hard to make, during the Clinton Administration, this policy was passed which allowed unlicensed individuals to wait for at least 5 days to receive firearms. The Brady Act was also implemented so that suppliers can conduct background checks on American citizens.

Many individuals across the country have been concerned about the recent killings. One of the worst shootings in American history was the shooting of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, which exacerbated many Americans. Even though the Brady Act was still a policy, a new policy was to be made after this horrific attack because the Elementary school shooting became a tipping point for most politicians and civilians to talk more about policies which would protect American citizens from these kinds of mass shootings. A natural response after any attack is fear, and as fear was instilled in many minds, the response of some law-makers in the country was to push for a certain type of legislation which would actually ensure that people with mental illness would not have any access to guns.

The concerns over gun-related terror attacks among Americans have increased as according to one research, an average of about 100 people lose their lives every year (Krisberg 2018). Gun violence is a public health crisis which needs to be under control in order to prevent attacks like Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut. This violence can be controlled by policy makers who can make certain types of policies where background checks allow the suppliers to check if the customer has any criminal history. Since most weapons are sold by retailers to the public, federal legislation makes it almost impossible for the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF) to revoke gun owners ' permits. The reason behind this is that, Democrats want and support gun control policies whereas, Republicans actually prefer policies where law-abiding citizens can carry firearms whenever they please.

There have been certain situations in the America where the Supreme Court has had to decide if owning a firearm is the right of the people. For example, in the case of United States v Miller (1939) the judges of the Supreme Court told Jack Miller and Frank Layton that the Second Amendment states “it does not guarantee an individual the right to keep a double barrel shotgun as the defendants argued that the police violated their rights according to the Second Amendment when they confiscated their weapons” (Oyez 2019). The United States v Miller case proved that a lot people in America misinterpret the Second Amendment and use it as a means to keep their weapons. The Second Amendment is only for those who have no other choice but to protect themselves with firearms.

Ever since the case of United States v Miller, the Second Amendment of the United States of America has been constantly recognized as an individual right. So, whenever the debate of taking away one’s right to own firearms comes up, most, if not all Americans feel threatened as they will lose their guns and the right to protect themselves. The firearm debate has always been a powerful tool in the U.S for the supporters of the Second Amendment as it backs up their claims of gun rights. As a famous ambassador to the holy see; Mary Ann Glendon has observed that whenever the rights of owning firearms comes up the American people have just one philosophy” The language of rights is a language of no compromise” (Blocher 2014). Meaning that no one can take away their rights to own a gun.

Even though the Second Amendment of the constitution of the United States does mention that every individual who feels that it is necessary to protect themselves can do so with the help of owning firearms, recent studies have shown that due to the mass shootings across the country, many Americans feel very differently about this issue. The shootings at Sandy Hook and Columbine have encouraged most if not all Americans, to urge policy makers to make laws and policies where American citizens are safe from these terror attacks. However, it is quite unfortunate to think that there are still talks about gun control and America’s easy access to guns has led to many deaths in our societies. Moreover, as recent gun violence has shown, Americans now want policies which will protect future generations and that they would not have to live in any kind of fear.

14 May 2021
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