SecondAmendment and Guns
Underthe United States second Amendment the constitution upholds andprotects the rights of individuals to bear and keep arms. Theserights are vested on the right of the individuals and not on acollective basis (Bogus113).This right offers United States citizens the unlimited and neitherprohibits individuals from owning a firearm or such similar devices.There have been several reviews concerning these individual rights inthe US Constitution in the wake of irresponsible misuse of armsleading to fatalities. In the recent times, due to rising incidentsof gun deaths an increasing criminal incidence there has beennumerous heated debates in the political, gun rights movements andother organizations concerning the gun rights. These debates havepitted the liberals, conservatives, religious, civil and the gunrights movements in different fronts concerning gun regulations.National wide courts have maintained the stance that the right topossess firearms by individuals is justified as stipulated in the U.Sconstitution and as a way of preventing gun deaths and injuries(Doherty 122).Although there have been several litigation and debates concerninggun rights, this issue remains contentious and there as variousunanswered questions on the essence of the Second Amendedguaranteeing responsible use and possession of firearms.
ConstitutionalChallenges that impeded the banning of handguns in Washington, D.C.and Chicago, Illinois
Aclassic example of litigation challenges that have been encounteredfor challenging the right to own handguns was depicted after thebanning of shorthand guns in Washington D.C, Chicago and Illinois. Inparticular, the Supreme Court ruling on Chicago case was thatindividuals maintain the ‘right to keep and bear arms forself-defense.’ as protected by the Second Amendment (Tushnet131).The court of appeals had upheld the Chicago decision to ban shorthandguns and other gun regulations. However, a petition by the areaAttorney influenced the Supreme Court to change the Appeal Courtruling citing infringement of the fourteenth Amendment by localgovernments (Tushnet133).The Washington D.C banning on shorthand guns case, on the other hand,was ruled as ‘unconstitutional.’ A Federal judge ruled that theWashington D.C residents were legally allowed to possess firearmswhether in public or their residential areas. These two litigationcases against gun ownership just explain how challenging it is to banor restrict gun ownership in the United States (Doherty125).An observer would argue that the United States constitution under theSecond Amendment is a great impediment towards effective and strictergun controls in the United States.
TheCongress Brady Bill in 1994
Inthe wake of 1993, gun control was a hot political issue and the thenPresident Clinton encouraged the Congress to pass the Brady Bill as adomestic policy on guns control. The aim of the bill was a nationalwide ban on firearms sale or purchase. It is recorded that the billhad been introduced to the Congress several times in the 1980s andthe 1980s but there were little executive and political will to passit. However, with Clinton Administration, the bill was passed andsigned into law by November 1993. Brady bill (named after a Bradywife, a staunch advocate of gun control) required a stricter gunacquisition legal process and ensuring that effective checks weredone on the buyer. The Brady bill was effective in facilitating thepassage of crime bill, banning of certain semi-automatic firearms andrestricted the manufacturing of ammunition magazines(Bogus 123).
However,the bill was heralded as costly and that more time was wasted whilewaiting for checks in the five-day waiting time. An instantcomputerized background check was proposed rather than the five-daywait. A major loophole in the bill was that, it gave localauthorities power to conduct background check ups which were aviolation of the 10thAmendment of the US constitution. The Brady lay gave the localauthorities power to conduct background check ups on buyers, and thisviolated the Constitutional powers of the Federal authority. Thebackground checks on firearms purchases operate in one direction andthat this excluded the FBI and ATF in receiving important informationon the type of firearm purchased. The bill was thus subjected toamendments in the subsequent years due to these constitutionalloopholes (Doherty122).
Theshooting of U.S. Representative Gabby Gifford in January 2011 andreasonable gun control reforms advocated
Afterthe shooting of the U.S Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s andothers while at a constituent meeting in a supermarket. Afterrecovery, the former lawmaker together with her husband launchedlobby group to campaign on stricter gun regulation. In particular,the lobby group intention is to run a national dialogue and raisesufficient funds to fight the rising influence of gun lobby group.The goal of the lobby group is to emphasize on responsible gunownership and reduce gun violence. According to the group, they wantto counter the influence of gun lobbyist and their influence on theCongress. The group goal is to enhance a national dialogue and find abalance between gun ownership and regulation. In a broader sense,Gabby group reforms aimed at bringing to sobriety the unorthodox anddivision debates on gun rights while finding a common solution on theright to own and responsible regulation of guns.
Thegun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012
Thekillings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were a stack reminder on theaccelerated rates of irresponsible gun possession. Twenty-sevenpeople among them children and adults lost their lives amidhistorical debates on the need for new gun regulations. There wereheated debates exchanged after the incident with many victims of pastgun violence, anti-gun lobbyist and the politicians renewing thedebates on the need for stricter gun control. After the killings, thedead children parents marched to Capitol Hill and demanded strictergun control measures. However, the parents still supported the billsof right in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution onthe ownership of guns. Their demands were on stricter backgroundchecks on gun buyers, investigating private gun transactions in gunshows and other internet sites.
Thedebate and rationale in which gun possession is regulated in theUnited States needs more than political will. In the wake of risinggun deaths and violence, it is high time a national wide dialogue washeld to debate on the amendment of the Second Amendment thatenshrines the possession of guns as an individual right. While gunpossession is important for self-defense, the increased misuse ofguns by mentally fit persons need not be taken lightly. There must bestricter gun regulation, reforms and amending the constitution to bangun possession. Alternatively, new regulations should be enacted torender all guns held by the public void and request for fresh firearmpossession registration backed up with stricter backgrounder checkupon gun owners. The government needs to renew its quest to enforceearlier laws like the Brady law in gun regulations. Furthermore, thegovernment should enhance more investigations to close all loopholesencouraging illegal gun importation of manufacturing in the country.The Congress and the gun lobby group are the main impediments toeffective gun reforms(Tushnet 231).I would lobby for these reforms through national campaign against gunpossession and engage in dialogues with various stakeholders on theneed to enforce stricter gun regulations.
Bogus,Carl T. “TheSecond Amendment in Law and History: Historians and ConstitutionalScholars on the Right to Bear Arms.”New York: The New Press. 2001. Print.
Doherty,Brian. “GunControl on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the SecondAmendment.”Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. 2008. Print.
Tushnet,Mark V. “Outof Range: Why the Constitution Can`t End the Battle Over Guns.”Oxford University Press. 2007. Print