Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's Behind the 2nd Amendment?

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?

15 comments:

  1. Hello,
    In my opinion, guns are not a solution. They are merely a catalyst. I believe they are vile creations. However, I do believe the people have a right to own them. There is no specifications in the second amendment, so the militia referred could indeed be a one-man militia. (S)he could just be trying to protect themself.
    There is no policy that could be imposed to cease the mass murders that occur. To err is to be human. As long as man exists and guns exists, the mass murders would happen. Even then, if guns were wiped off the face of Earth, murderers would resort to using other weapons, such as biological weapons or more primitive tools.
    Guns are not what is killing other people. It is people killing people. By the second amendment, those people merely get tools to more easily kill. Without guns, the mass murders would not be as large as they are, but they would still happen.
    Thank you for your time.

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    2. So mass murders are the price we pay for freedom?

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    3. Mass murder is the price we pay for being human. Before guns existed, people would go out and slay with swords. Whole villages were destroyed by an army armed with swords. Guns are not the problem here. People are.

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  2. People have the right to own guns and the 2nd amendment should not be infringed upon. Yes, murders are horrible but if we remove the right to bear arms that does not necessarily mean murders will stop. Guns are an instrument, they are not the reason people are dying. Normal people usually own guns for protection, not with intent to kill others. Besides even if we did make owning a fire arm illegal, there are other ways to obtain one. To remove our right to bear arms would only take away one of our freedoms. In the end, people are responsible for the killings, not the guns themselves.

    Brittney Young

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  3. First off, I want to mention that I was in that theatre in Aurora, Colorado just two weeks before the shooting. Not to mention that my family frequently goes there, as well as their friends, and even their students.

    That being said, I have a strong opinion on the right to bear arms issue. I believe that, indeed, people should have the right to own guns for their own safety. But I do think that we should be stricter on WHO we let have guns. I feel that the U.S should have a mandatory background, and psychological test for any person wishing to attain a firearm, and periodical check ups on people who do pass, and now own guns.

    While I cannot ensure that this method would always work, I do feel that it would reduce the potential mass killings of innocent people. Its not fair to take away a sane persons right to own a gun for safety because of in insane persons actions.

    Kaitlyn Court

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  4. Yes, I agree with the Court’s ruling. People deserve the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves.

    If we limit an individual’s rights, they have a tendency to be rebellious and cause more trouble then there was initially.
    Mass killings are the price we must pay. I believe that people are shaped not only by society, but mostly by their family background.
    The individuals who commit mass murders may be facing troubles in their lives (becoming insane) and they probably see no way out- but to create a mess, and take the lives of innocent ones.

    Guns, like any weapon, will only lead to disaster.
    A factor that could possibly make a difference is constantly patrolling neighborhoods and especially the neighborhoods known for violence.

    -Mariah Franco

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  5. I believe people have the right to carry a gun. There have been cases when the people carrying have saved their own life and others. as people have said above, its not the guns that are killing, its the people using them. Maybe there should be some sort of psychological test to own and carry a gun.

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  6. I believe that people have the right to own a gun but with this privilege comes responsibilities.I think that the shootings will never stop but can be reduced.Who ever wants to buy a gun should not have depression and should got to the psychologist to be evaluated at least once a year,and do s back round check with neighbors.Sadly people are always going to be killed by fire arms ether they obtain them legally or illegally.

    Ezri loy c.

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  7. I believe people have the right to bare arms in order to protect themselves. However, there are people who do abuse this privledge. The mass killings that occur happen because people are irresponsible with fire arms, under the influence, traumatized, or becoming insane. Even though these weapons are sometimes used for all the wrong reasons, I also do believe that they still can be used for protection as well. Due to these massive killings, more people are going to be desperate for protection. There should be a psychological and physical test a person has to take before legally owning a fire arm.

    Danielle Hazlett

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  8. I believe that no matter what the court ruled those who use guns for other than protection would continue to do so. People keep guns to protect themselves but just with anything else not everyones going to use things the way they were intended to be used. A little girl wants to play soccer and plays with a soccer ball. If another little girl grabs the soccer ball and uses it to harm someone else should the first girl have to suffer and never be able to play again? No. People are going to abuse guns wether or not they are legal. Guns aren't the issue. The issue is people and their inability to think clearly of their actions and hhow it effects others.
    -Elisa Flores

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  9. In my opinion, I believe that there is nothing wrong with the second amendment allowing citizens to having a weapon in case a criminal of any type threatens the household he/ she is targeting. Yet some people tend to over-exaggerate and end up possessing weapons of mass destruction and causes more harm than protection. I believe that the government should limit on how powerful the gun can be and if it will be capable of causing such destruction, also the government should be able to put their efforts into interfering with those who are selling guns out on the streets, since most will sell weapons of mass destruction. The second amendment just gives the right to those in need to defend their home from certain tragedies, yet the community as a whole needs to learn and acknowledge how to use their weapons without misusing them.

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  10. I believe people have the right to freely express themseleves so if owning a gun outside the militia makes them feel safe I'm for it. However there are some people that don't need guns outside the milita to be safe. It should ultimately be left up to the people on how to feel safe and secure. If the supreme court was to regualate it so more Americans could own guns a further backround check should be forced. We should't sell weapons that could hurt others to those who may be mentally ill or have a police weapon. Some could blame the mass killings are society has seen on the second amendment. However I blame it on not strict enough secuity. If someone can so easily grab a gun and kill others in a mass shooting how are we suppose to feel safe. I tried posting this comment earlier in the week but I guess it never posted.

    -Cody Palazzola

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  11. There is no way to make the world perfectly safe. Honestly there is no way to keep someone from hurting another if they truely want to. The second amendment gives protection to people but also provides an easier way to hurt others. Taking that away will only remove safety to people, not the indivudual want to hurt others.

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  12. To me bottom line people can not be trusted. Allowing guns out side a militia is asking for reckless use of them. When people have snap moment of anger and over react them having a weapon on hand makes it so easy for them to take it to the next level as opposed to a person in the same rage who doesnt have a gun lying around . If we allow any one to have a fun then it's that much easier for a criminal or just some crazy kid to have it. There's other.terms for self defense rather than a gun. Self.defense or not it's murder.

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