You may have heard about the recent tragic shooting sprees that have occurred across the country recently: one in NY City, another in Wisconsin, and of course the one in Aurora, Colorado this summer. These tragic shooting events bring up discussion about how far our rights under the 2nd amendment should go. How do we limit these senseless shootings? Do we impose gun control regulations? Or do we deregulate guns further, allowing people wider access to guns?
Allow me to add some quick background information: the 2nd amendment was one of the amendments added to the US Constitution in 1791. The 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.
The key to this phrase hinges on whether an individual has the right to own a gun or whether gun ownership was part of a larger duty to perform defense responsibilities as part of a local militia.
Guess who determines the intent and ultimate meaning of the 2nd Amendment? The folks over at the judicial branch get to interpret the law. The 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller ruled that the 2nd amendment protects an individual's right to own a gun outside of service in a militia for lawful purposes.
The only way to overturn the Court's ruing in "Heller" is by having a future Supreme Court overturn it or to pass a constitutional amendment, both are slim possibilities.
Here are your discussion points: do you agree with the Court's ruling that people have the right to own a gun outside of service in a Militia? If the Supreme Court is going to allow Americans to posses a wide range of guns (lawfully), what public policy do we implement to limit all the mass killings that have occurred in our society and that will probably continue into the future? Are mass killings the price we pay for having the 2nd amendment?