Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Second Amendment in 1776 and Now Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 words

The Second Amendment in 1776 and Now - Essay Example English common law has recognized the significance of proper arms control for a long time. The founding fathers believed that citizens have a right to own arms when working in the militia. Such right ensures the presence of maximum protection and security since people can defend themselves whenever need arises (Cornell 10). The Supreme Court of the US has upheld the amendment in its three decisions in the years 1876, 1886 as well as in 1939. Therefore, the founding fathers advocated for collective rights interpretation whereby people were allowed to own arms only when in a group such as the militia but not individuals. The founding fathers had in mind the dangers of permitting individual citizens to purchase and own guns in the society. According to them, such permission would promote weapon related violence, and thereby make the society an unsafe place to live in. This collective right interpretation had prevailed in America for over a century, and therefore, it had been recognized and used in three Supreme Court rulings (Cornell 15). However, this meaning remained no-contentious until in 1960 when an additional individual right to bear arms for self-defense was recognized. Therefore, the assertion of the individual right has made Americans to currently consider that the Second Amendment warrants their right to own a gun (Charles 27). The individual rights model has either undercut or blocked passage of laws that regulate purchase and use of guns over the last twenty years. For instance, the assault weapons prohibition of 1994 was permitted to expire after ten years due to intense pressure from gun rights activists and organizations (Doherty 31). Even though the gun’s lobby persistence that the long common laws and traditions have existed supporting an individual’s right to own and use weapons, the English law has regulated guns from the 14th century (Gonzales 45). This is because of the existence of Game Laws that restricted ownership of weapons only to the wealthy people who had substantial income and owned huge lands (Baron 3). Therefore, the middle class as well as peasants were not permitted to own or use weapons such as guns. Currently, gun lobbyists argue that the English Bill of Rights presented to the monarchs by the House of Commons in 1689 guaranteed everyone to own and use weapons (Anderson and Horwitz 35). However, the law restricted the ownership to Protestants who were of the right social class. Further, the Bill of Rights acknowledged the need for the law to regulate weapons. In this regard, the Bill of Rights does not recognize ownership and use of weapons among the middle class as well as the common citizens (Labunski 53). The privilege to possess and use weapons—more so, guns—was left to the wealthy people in the society. In Britain, the law on gun control has been maintained while in the US, there has been growing resistance to regulation of possession and use of guns. The most recent case occurred in March 2007, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recognized the individual rights model (Smith 36). It decided that the ban on handguns since 1976 in Washington D.C. has been in violation of the Second Amendment that guarantees the right of an individual to own and use guns. According to the

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