Second Amendment Debate

Written by BG Howard

July 27, 2022

It has been brought to my attention that I spent many Saturdays as a child roaming the woods of rural Appling County, Georgia hunting unsuspecting squirrels, rabbits, and deer.  It’s considered something of a right of passage when a twelve-year-old is presented with his first rifle by his dad or an uncle.  However, an effort to keep weapons from those who harbor hatred for complete strangers (as the unfortunate result of some occurrence over which their victims had no control) could someday jeopardize that endearing ritual.

Since its adoption on December 15, 1791, the Constitution’s second amendment has been the center of numerous controversial debates.  The second of the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, grants each citizen of the United States the right to bear arms.  It’s an issue that has plagued virtually every occupant of the oval office since.  The topic of gun control has, again, emerged as a defining rostrum amidst the politicians charged with administering the nation.

With all the incidents of mass shootings, a general increase in the amount of gun violence and other concerns, an express focus on gun control has, again, emerged as one of the prevailing political issues.  In the face of a bipartisan Congress that had refused to pass desperately needed legislation, public pressure consistently mounted against gun manufacturers.  Then president, Barack Obama signed an executive order several years ago in effort to tighten the “loop holes” that allowed small-volume gun dealers, on-line peddlers, and those who sell weapons at gun/trade shows by way of a rarely used tool available only to the oval office.  The former president had signed an executive order aimed at applying restrictions on those who market everything from hand guns to semi-automatic rifles to anyone who is of age.  President Obama initiated the order mandating background checks on any individual who desired to purchase a weapon.  He also sought tighter regulations governing guns “lost in transit” when being shipped to perspective buyers as well as better tracking of stolen guns.

This action took shape as the result of increased shootings over a period of several years that had, to that point, claimed the lives of many innocent children and adults.  President Obama listed the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut during 2012 when twenty first graders lost their lives at the hands of a gunman.  The church shooting in Charleston, SC. was exampled along with mass shootings in San Bernardino, CA and others that had, and continue, to grip the nation.

There is some difficulty understanding why our Congressmen have such a challenge agreeing on the fact that these type incidents are grossly detrimental.  We have politicians who are supportive of gun control backed by organizations like the NRA, that seem to be adamantly against the idea of saving lives.

Granted, the second amendment does guarantee Americans the right to bear arms but it never said the privilege should be without regulation.  In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.  In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

In the twenty-first century, the second amendment has been subjected to renewed academic inquiry and judicial interest.  In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual’s right to possess and carry firearms.

To get a better understanding, I’ve taken the time to scrutinize the second; every relative amendment, constitutional article and reference concerning that legislation during the past week and-a-half.  In short, it’s mind-boggling to see the sheer complexities fostered by all the political foolery those who represent the people of this country have been shoveling concerning gun control for nearly two hundred and sixty years.

Is it really too much to ask for business owners to conduct background checks on individuals wanting to purchase a weapon that can potentially be used to snuff out an innocent life?  Instead of passing more laws, why not simply enforce those already in effect and grasp the reigns of these “freedoms” that are most often taken too liberally.  Every law abiding citizen should be willing to do whatever is necessary to protect society from the mere possibility of a dangerous radical becoming a viable threat to anyone.  I am all for the freedoms allowed by fulfillment of the American dream but liberty in the absence of law inevitably fosters anarchy.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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