The Second Amendment
The Second Amendment has raised many debates throughout the founding of America. The Amendment states that ?A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed?. When the amendment was written it was meant to allow Militia?s to have guns when being used for the ?security of a free state?. Basically the shortened version of this Amendment states, the right to keep and bear arms. People now look at that and take it literally. They believe that anyone can possess a gun at anytime, regardless of past records, age, and other important factors. During the founding, the gun situation was much different then what it is today. Today guns are much more deadly, and readily available.
In the recent article, ?Dueling Scholars Join Fray Over a Constitutional Challenge to Gun Control Laws?, by William Glaberson of the New York Times, this debate is touched on many times. The article is based on the verdict of a federal judge relieving a Texas doctor of possible gun possession charges, and the debate between two professors. The judge used Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm?s book as evidence in deciding the verdict. The main point that Professor Malcolm brings about is that the Second Amendment is an individual right because of what is stated in the English Declaration of Rights, and that the constitution was based upon that declaration. However, the views of Professor Malcolm are greatly opposed by Professor Lois G. Schwoerer. Professor Schwoerer, who has studied the English Declaration of Rights in depth, says that the declaration gave the right to bear arms but limited it by class and religion, therefore, not making it an individual right. This debate has and will go on until the Amendment is reworded to eliminate any confusion, but that may never happen with all the people who have such strong beliefs in this subject. Also the right may never be taken away or modified because of the strong groups like the National Riffle Association.
There are basically two sides to this on going debate. One side who believes that under the Constitution every person has the right to bear arms. But on the other hand there are the people who believe that this right should be limited in many ways, and should not be so much of an individual right. There have been many laws passed supporting the idea that this amendment should be limited, but the amendment has not yet been changed. In 1968 a law was passed called the Gun Control Act of 1968. This was focused on the fact that use of guns would be limited toward ?convicted felons, fugitives from justice, illegal drug users or addicts, minors, anyone adjudicated mentally defective or having been committed to a mental institution, anyone dishonorably discharged from the military, illegal aliens, anyone having renounced U.S. citizenship?.# Also, most states are now performing back round checks on anyone who wishes to purchase a gun. An addition was also made to the Gun Control Act of 1968 by James Brady called the Brady Act. This established a waiting period for anyone who wished to purchase a gun. This is a very important Act. If someone all of a sudden wants to do something irrational, they would then have to wait a certain amount of days before the receive a gun. This would give the person time to think about whether or not they actually wanted to go through with it. Another important addition to this Act is that proof of residency idea. This stops anyone from buying a gun outside of their home state. There are also the firearm tests that, right now, only five states have. This requires a person to pass a test before handling a gun on his or her own. In class we have discussed many of these ideas in limiting gun control, all of which are good ones. We brought up most of the factors of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and even the Brady Act as well. There will always be the people who believe that anyone should be allowed to posses a gun. The government is taking good steps in altering the Amendment without actually rewording it. When the Amendment was written the guns that were around were much different then the guns today. Therefore now some additional laws have been be made limiting this Amendment, but not entirely taking away the right.