Running Head: RESTRICTIONS ON GUN OWNERSHIP Are there any Legitimate Restrictions on Gun Ownership? Steve PHI103: Informal Logic The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution gives the citizens of America the right of the people to bear arms. This was adopted with the rest of the Bill of Rights. However, with this being said there are people that take this right to heart, and they feel they should be able to have any gun they want. There are guns that are specifically designed for military, some local or state law enforcement and are illegal for the average person to own.
There are a lot of Federal and state laws that have to be met prior to anyone purchasing and therefore, owning a gun. There are safety laws that have been put in place to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, children, and the mentally handicapped as well as other irresponsible people that may have the ability to injure or kill another human being. There are also certain criteria a person will have to meet before the purchase of a gun will go through. A gun owner knows what it takes to kill and those individuals know there should be different forms of gun control measures to help prevent accidents from occurring.
As the saying goes “Guns don’t kill people, people do. ” The prevention of accidents is just one reason for supporting gun control. Another reason to support gun control is to prevent the people already mentioned from having the ability to get a gun that can be used to injure or intimidate people. Better enforcement of the many gun laws we have in place currently should be the priority of the state and local law enforcement agencies. Commandeering someone’s gun or extremely over-the-top gun laws are not the answers to fixing the gun problems we are faced with today.
Strictly enforcing current laws, we have in place now is the answer. The U. S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote on Thursday June 26, 2008 declared for the first time that Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution guaranteed the rights of individual Americans to bear and keep arms. They stated that the ownership of a gun is a right of the individual, not intertwined with military service, and that it can be regulated in some ways, (2008, June 26) Furthermore, this ruling came out of Washington D. C; case that had a security guard sued the district for prohibiting him from keeping his handgun at his home.
In D. C. , it is a crime to carry an unregistered firearm, and registration of a handgun is prohibited. The rules for handguns are so strict that they regulate handguns out of existence. These rules are put in place to try and curb violence with handguns in the nation’s capital. This ruling furthermore struck down this ban on constitutional grounds, stating it flew in the face of our constitutional right to bear arms, (2008, June 26) The case in D. C. also It was also stated that the two sides in this case viewed the Founding Fathers intentions of the Amendment rights very different.
For the most part the majority of the Supreme Court Justices said that this amendment protected the individual’s right to own a gun without connection with the service in a militia and to use this for a lawful purpose such as self-defense in the home. “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapons whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. But it did allow for individuals to have guns for lawful purposes, such as hunting and defending themselves, he said.
The majority clearly saw the individual right to own a gun, (2008, June 26) This ruling left in place many restrictions at both the federal and state levels, like the bans that were placed on felon’s right to have a gun, and the bans on sawed-off shotguns and assault weapons. Justice John Paul Stevens stated that this ruling would leave it up to future courts to really define the details of the right to bear arms. He also stated that this should be the business of state legislatures, and that the court should stay out of this.
Lastly, he stated that the law-abiding citizen will be able to keep a gun at home, but that it doesn’t address how the different states legislatures will want to regulate gun ownership. In another statement by Justice Stephen Breyer he stated that in his view “there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas, (2008, June 26) This was a topic for debate between the 2008 democratic and republican presidential office runners.
Senator McCain stated “Today’s ruling makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans,” he said. He also took a thinly veiled shot at the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama by saying “Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly. Presidential nominee Barack Obama responded to this ruling by stating that “Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country,” he said, adding that “what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne,” but the decision reinforced that “if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe, (2008, June 26) It would only be fair to state that the crime rate has plummeted since the Supreme court made its decision on the Second Amendment.
The table below shows just the Chicago data and as you can see there is a decline, (2011, Oct 4). When this was first looked at the thought was that if there were more guns out there that this would cause crime to increase, but this has been proven to be false. This stat bears the question of where there fewer crimes because the citizens are now gun owners, and the criminals are aware of this. Do you think it is because the criminals fear the laws? I do not think it is because they fear the laws.
I truly believe that these criminals are thinking in the back of their mind that if they try to commit a crime against someone who could be armed, and they will retaliate by shooting them in self-defense. This may really make a criminal rethink this act before he/she commits the crime. Furthermore, I think the fact that the victim might be so scared and could shoot without thinking and possibly killing the perpetrator truly has the perpetrator thinking of this unknown factor, and that makes them more cautious about committing the crime in the first place.
The following is a chart for the crime rates from 2009-2010, (2010, Dec. 20). As you can see that not only did the rates change in Chicago but the one below is for the United States as a whole. It was said that the “The Supreme Court breathed new life into the amendment when it struck down strict handgun bans in Washington and Chicago and spoke of the “inherent right of self-defense. ” But to the dismay of gun rights advocates, judges in recent months have read those decisions narrowly and rejected claims from those who said they had a constitutional right to carry a loaded gun on their person or in their car.
Instead, these judges from California to Maryland have said the “core right” to a gun is limited to the home. Now, the National Rifle Assn. is asking the high court to take up the issue this fall and “correct the widespread misapprehension that the 2nd Amendment’s scope does not extend beyond the home. ” Stephen Halbrook, an NRA lawyer, said “some judges have buried their heads in the sand and have refused to go one step further” than saying there is a right to have a gun at home. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence hailed the trend and called the high court’s rulings a “hollow victory” for gun enthusiasts. The gun lobby has tried to expand [the 2nd Amendment] into a broad right to carry any type of gun anywhere. And they have been almost unanimously rejected by the courts,” said Jonathan Lowy, director of legal action. He conceded, however, that “this battle is far from over. ” The uncertainty began with the Supreme Court itself. In 2008, Justice Antonin Scalia said the history of the 2nd Amendment shows it “guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. But other parts of his 5-4 opinion stressed there is no right to “carry any weapon in any manner,” and that bans on “carrying concealed weapons were lawful” in the 19th century” (Savage, D, 2011) The following stats provided by the FBI provide ammunition on the Supreme Court’s decision on the second Amendment. It stated that “Despite a grinding recession, reported crime in the United States continues to fall, the FBI said Monday. Violent crime was down 6 percent in 2010 — the fourth consecutive yearly decline, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
Property crime dropped for the eighth year in a row, down 2. 7 percent in 2010. In Pennsylvania, violent crime fell 3 percent and property crime ticked down 0. 5 percent. New Jersey and Delaware reported small drops in violent crime, but increases in property crime,” (Moran, R. 2011). These stats show that right to bear arms did not have a negative effect on the recession. As I read all the articles and stories while doing my research for this paper, I find that the restrictions imposed on gun ownership appear to infringe on our Second Amendment rights provided to us by the U. S. Constitution.
I also feel that there should definitely be some sort of control on guns, but we should not do this at the expense of what the Founding Fathers wrote in the U. S. Constitution. As what has been previously covered in this paper the mentally ill, convicted felons, or people that have been convicted of violent crimes should be the only ones that are exempt from owning a gun, and I truly feel that this is for the safety of our citizens here in the United States. Furthermore, I think that states should not impose such restrictions and deny all of that states people the right to own a gun.
This is not only a direct violation of that persons Second Amendment rights but also a violation of a person’s right to due process under the 14th amendment. Lastly, I truly believe that the extreme laws or gun confiscations are illegal under the US Constitution and these do not work to stop crimes. Reference Anonymous, . The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Latest Stats Show a Continuing Decline in Crime Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January-June, 2010 (2010, December , 20).
Retrieved from http://www. bing. com/images/search? q=FBI+Crime+Rate+Reporting;view=detail;id=F22BCC735FB3184B04D1C2B36F350ED63CBD086F;first=0;FORM=IDFRIR Anonymous, . SUPREME COURT ENDORSES NEW VIEW OF SECOND AMENDMENT Protection. (2008, September). Criminal Justice Newsletter,3. Retrieved from http://proquest. umi. com/pqdweb? index=6;did=1646334181;SrchMode=1;sid=7;Fmt=2;VInst=PROD;VType=PQD;RQT=309;VName=PQD;TS=1322524094;clientId=74379 Lott, J. 2011, Oct 4) Chicago’s Violent Crime Rates Plummet After SCOTUS Removes Handgun Ban. Andrew Breitbart Presents BIG GOVERNMENT. Retrieved from http://biggovernment. com/jlott/2011/10/04/chicagos-violent-crime-rates-plummet-after-scotus-removes-handgun-ban/ Moran, R (2011, September20). Crime rates continue to fall, FBI reports. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Retrieved from http://proquest. umi. com/pqdweb? index=0;did=2460748471;SrchMode=1;sid=2;Fmt=3;VInst=PROD;VType=PQD;RQT=309;VName=PQD;TS=1324404944;clientId=74379