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Amending The Second Amendment Essay

1305 words - 6 pages

On December 12, 2013, a heavily armed man walked into a small elementary school in Connecticut and opened fire, ending the lives of 26 children and teachers, not only shattering the quiet of the small town but leaving our nation lurching at the number of young lives lost. The horror of this event renewed people’s passion on both sides of the fiercely debated issue of gun control and brought the issue to the forefront of American politics once again. While no new gun control laws have been passed since this tragedy, the debate over how to interpret the 2nd amendment continues.
Gun control laws are the government’s way of regulating the manufacture, sale, transportation, possession, and use ...view middle of the document...

This act was a big step in the gun control debate and led to further landmark cases, one of which was entitled United States vs. Miller. Later, in 1968, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated along with Rev. Martin Luther King, which awakened the country to the dangers of easily accessed guns. This lead to the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits all convicted criminals, drug users and those who are mentally ill from buying guns. Additionally it rose the age by which one can purchase a gun to 21 years. It also increased the degree of difficulty to receive a gun license and allowed the United States to keep a more detailed national record of all gun users. This led to another famous case entitled United States vs. Hayes (Vogel). After reviewing these three cases, it is clear that gun control is one of the most debated issues in politics and what continues to challenge the Supreme Court is how to protect the constitutional rights of all people while protecting those same people against being harmed by the wrong guns getting into the wrong hands for the wrong purpose and taking innocent lives.
On April 18th, 1938 Jack Miller and Frank Layton crossed the state line between Claremore, Oklahoma to Siloam Springs Arkansas carrying an unregistered 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun. Little did they know this action would be brought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, creating a landmark case that would address many future issues involving gun control. Miller and Layton violated the National Firearms Act of 1934 and as a result both were arrested. This legislation (the NFA) controlled the transfer of certain firearms and also placed a tax on the manufacture of these guns. It was one of the first legislation of its kind seeking to “prevent the criminal class from using firearms.” (Nardolillo) The NFA (National Firearms Act) included restrictions on short-barreled shotguns, which was the exact gun found in the possession of Jack Miller.
Miller and Layton argued against the district court that the NFA violated their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. But on a direct appeal, the Supreme Court overturned the district court and ruled that the Second Amendment did not assure an individual the right to keep a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. The Supreme Court argued that a short-barreled shotgun was not military-type weapon as allowed by the Constitution, therefore not protected by it via the Second Amendment.
Unfortunately the defendants were unable to appear before the Supreme Court because Miller had been murdered one month prior to the date of the court. This meant that no brief was filed on behalf of the defendant, and the Court never read or heard the view of Miller. This action was later questioned by many and lead to discussion...

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