This issue brings up a wider discussion of the term "original intent." Much debate has taken place over what our Founding fathers intended for the Constitution and whether their original intent is being followed by our current politicians. But did all our Founding Fathers agree on the original intent of the Constitution and if so can we accurately decipher what that intent was over 225 years later? Additionally, is their original intent still relevant to us in 2011?
With that said, what was the original intent of the founding fathers regarding the 2nd amendment and our right to bear arms? Here is what the 2nd amendment reads:
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.
Does this amendment refer to our personal rights to bear arms or is this a right from a bygone era where states were responsible for raising an army and protecting its people with militias.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court has not made many rulings on the 2nd amendment over the course of our history but most significantly, it did rule in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that individuals have a personal right to bear arms in federal enclaves (Washington D.C.) outside the jurisdiction of a militia. The Court will soon rule on whether individuals have that right in the 50 states.
But what would our Founding Fathers say about the status of guns in society in 2011? Would they hold true to their 18th century beliefs or would they see a need to adjust to the needs of our current society? Do we need to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government in the same way our ancestors did in the 1700s?
Current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argues that our Founding Fathers would support gun control.
Original intent: Federalist #29 on the militia.
Here is your task:
- Can you accurately determine what the original intent of the Founders was on the issue of gun rights? Be sure to cite your information.
- Do you believe the Founding Fathers would approach the issue of gun rights the same way today? Explain and defend yourself.