“A Constitution.Although the Second Amendment allows for people to

“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.” The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was adopted on the fifteenth of December 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. This amendment has caused much debate in the United States. Guns are too easily accessible. Too many people are killed by firearms. There are too many suicides and homicides using guns. Reducing the amount of available guns will reduce the number of deaths. Gun control laws should place restrictions on who is allowed to own firearms, what type they are allowed to own and where they are allowed to purchase the firearms. The Second Amendment was originally created to help the people protect themselves from a government that could turn tyrannical. Just like the revolutionaries who fought against the King of England, the framers of the Constitution wanted to keep their right to “bear arms” in case the new government began to take away their rights. At the time, owning guns by citizens was needed for survival. The local militia could fight off invasions and protect against Indian raids. The militia also helped with law enforcement. Most people concentrate on the “bear arms” part, but the main word is “militia.” In 1791, no-one knew if the union was going to work. Many of the States did not trust each other, and everyone distrusted a big and powerful government. Invasion was a real possibility and the Second Amendment was put in place to make sure that a citizen’s militia could defend the principles contained in the Constitution.Although the Second Amendment allows for people to own firearms, it does not prevent government regulation of firearms. Gun laws help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. They also help keep track of guns and determine what type of weapons people are allowed to own. The public should not have access to some weapons like a nuclear bomb.The tough part is deciding where to draw the line of who should be able to own what.The Second Amendment did not give someone the right to walk into a gun shop and buy an assault rifle without a single background check. The Supreme Court  ruled in 1939 that: “The Second Amendment must be interpreted and applied with the view of its purpose of rendering effective Militia.” By 2008, they had extended that to cover self-defense in the home—something that does not require a high-capacity magazine and the ability to kill everything within a three block radius (Morris). But that’s all they had extended it to: there is no constitutional “right” to carry a concealed weapon, no “right” to use armor-piercing bullets—just the right to defend oneself against intruders (Morris). It does not require a gun to defend oneself. One could purchase a security system for their home. One does not need to use lethal weapons. Opponents of gun control interpret the Second Amendment as the guarantee of a personal right to keep and bear arms. They claim that the amendment protects the general public, who were viewed as part of the general militia. By colonial law, every household was required to possess arms and every male of military age was required to be ready for military emergencies, bearing his own arms. By making sure citizens had arms, they could guarantee that the militia was armed. Standing in fierce opposition to any and all efforts to restrict gun sales and ownership is the National Rifle Association (NRA). The leading pro-gun group in the United States, the NRA is dedicated to protecting an individual’s right to bear arms. The NRA bases its view on the Second Amendment and insists that its stand is consistent with the intentions of the nation’s founders. The NRA believes that any form of gun control will eventually lead to a complete ban on the private possession of firearms.Some say that the Second Amendment is outdated and that it should be repealed. They say that the Framers and the Constitution had many flaws and imperfections. The Framers and the Constitution were wrong about race. They enshrined slavery into the Constitution in many ways, including prohibiting the Constitution from being amended to stop the slave trade in the country’s first twenty years (Cohen). They also promoted racism in the Constitution by counting slaves as only 3/5 of a person to have better congressional representation. It took a civil war to fix these constitutional mistakes. There are other faults that have been fixed such as voting and Presidential succession. The Second Amendment should be rejected. It can be done with another amendment like when the Twenty-First Amendment repealed prohibition in the Eighteenth. When the Second Amendment was composed, the Founders did not have to think about the possibility of one person killing forty-nine and injuring fifty-three all by himself. Laws like the Brady Bill, which allows for background checks on people trying to purchase firearms, are hard to enforce. Though the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is supposed to let licensed firearm dealers identify people who are not allowed to own guns, participation by individual states is strictly voluntary with many states refusing to participate.  Also, people can purchase guns privately without involving the NICS at all.There is the phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It is believed that if one goes on a killing spree that they have a mental illness. Opinion polls show that most Americans favor laws limiting access to firearms for people that have a history of violence or mental illness. Preventing people with mental problems from buying weapons is hard to enforce in many places but  many states are still pushing for harsher rules, including requiring psychological examinations for anyone whose firearm certificate has been revoked. This includes a risk assessment looking at the likelihood of suicide or violence before granting access to guns. There are potential problems with this kind of test since most methods for measuring risk of violence or suicide are usually meant for people who already have a history of violent offenses or suicide attempts.According to the National Rifle Association’s own gun safety rules, it is important to ask simple questions about how the firearm and the ammunition will be stored, and how often the gun is expected to be used, and who will have access to it. If there are children in the house, the applicant should be questioned about the safety of the children. Also, consideration needs to be taken if there are people in the house who might have access to the gun who have a history of mental problems or violence. Proper storage and preventing access to firearms can help prevent most gun-related injuries, especially when children are involved. Some states require future gun owners to do a safe handling demonstration along with completing a firearms safety class before being issued a license.  Continuing education is also important to make sure that gun owners keep their gun skills sharp and to make sure that they are informed of any changes to laws and regulations tied to owning and operating a firearm. Gun owners need to be aware of federal and state laws pertaining to gun use and also need to be aware of their responsibilities if they travel with a gun. Many gun owners crossing the border to other countries or even other states are often shocked to find that they are breaking the law by having a gun in a district in which their license isn’t valid. Most formal risk examination measures aren’t going to be effective since they are developed for people who have a history of violent offenses or mental disorders. Someone without a history of criminal offenses or suicide attempts will not show any of the basic warning signs of potential violence.  Still, there are things that evaluators can watch for including whether the person being evaluated has signs of emotional distress or is having significant stress due to something like job loss or divorce. Simply being diagnosed with a mental disorder should not automatically disqualify someone from owning a gun since most forms of mental illness are not really related to risk of violence or likelihood of misusing a gun.  Still, people who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or problems with impulse control need to be questioned about what they plan to do with the gun they purchase.  This also applies to drug or alcohol abuse, especially if there are criminal offenses relating to substance abuse on record. In 1996, Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement after a mass shooting in April of that year. In that incident, a twenty-eight-year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed 35 people, and injured eighteen others, in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre (Kiely). Under the 1996 law, Australia banned certain semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns, and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. It also instituted a mandatory buy back program for firearms banned by the 1996 law. During the buyback program, Australians sold 650,000 prohibited firearms to the government, and voluntarily surrendered about 60,000 non-prohibited firearms. In all, more than 700,000 weapons were surrendered, according to a Library of Congress report on Australian gun policy. One study says that the program reduced the number of guns in private hands by twenty percent. In 2002, Australia further tightened gun laws, restricting the caliber, barrel length and capacity for sport shooting handguns (Kiely).Few people think the easiest way to cut down on violence is to just ban all guns. Not everyone needs a gun. Australia has done it and there has not been a single massacre yet. Also, homicide in Australia has been on the decline over the last 25 years. It is currently at a new low. But America is not Australia. People that believe that everyone has the right to own a gun means they can own whatever type of gun they can get their hands on. People say that they need the guns for protection. There isn’t much a gun is going to protect. A gun isn’t going to stop a tyrannical government. The government has way more advanced weaponry and technology. There are other ways to protect a home. Most people in the United States agree that some sort of restrictions should be placed on what firearms one is allowed to own. The legal ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens inevitably leads to many unnecessary and tragic deaths. Legally held guns are stolen and end up in the hands of criminals, who would have greater difficulty in obtaining such weapons if firearms were less prevalent in society. Guns also end up in the hands of children, leading to tragic accidents and terrible disasters. Gun control should mean a recurring cycle of background checks and training, a cap on the capacity of a magazine, and no armor piercing bullets.This issue cannot be solved state by state so it absolutely must come in the form of national legislation. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation but Nevada, where the shooting on Sunday occurred, has some of the most lax. The states share a border and there aren’t exactly a ton of checkpoints. This should not be a partisan issue. More than ninety percent of Americans say universal background checks are a good first step.In fact, seventy-two percent of NRA members agree.Where one can buy firearms should also be restricted. It is so easy to get a gun in America. One could walk into Walmart and purchase a gun. A background check is conducted only in store purchases. There, gun buyers have to fill out a form from the ATF, or the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. But gun buyers don’t have to go through a background check when they make a purchase at a gun show. Gun shows are easily accessible marketplaces for people who don’t want to be subject to a background check to find non-licensed gun sellers.Gun control laws should put limited restrictions on who is allowed firearms and what type of firearms. Both sides need to compromise. Gun control is about saving lives and making people feel safer. People should not be scared to leave their homes. Gun control can help prevent unnecessary deaths. People that are mentally ill or have had drug or alcohol abuse should not be allowed to own a firearm. Background checks need to be more common. It is too easy to get a gun. Places like Walmart should not sell firearms. Gun shows need to be better controlled.  The Second Amendment might need to be updated. Times have changed.


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