From the dawn of the United States the government has created laws regulating firearm ownership. These regulations address everyone from gun sellers to owners and are constantly changing.
In 1791, The Bill of Rights of the Constitution was ratified to ensure the protection of the American people’s rights. The Second Amendment addressed the right to bare arms. “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” (1). The founding fathers of the United States created this Amendment to insure the militia power, to insure a means of self defense for the citizen, and to provide power to the people to ...view middle of the document...
The National Rifle Association- Institute for Legislative Action argues that “in America, rights —by definition—belong to individuals” (NRA-ILA 3). The other natural freedoms promised, religion, speech, and assembly, refer to individual liberties. The Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, should be no different. On the other hand, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Coalition to Ban Handguns argue that the Second Amendment does not address the protection of an individual’s right but the rights of the states to maintain a militia.
Shortly after World War I, the National Firearms Act (NFA) was passed under the Roosevelt administration. This was the beginning of dramatic gun law changes. This act was the first to regulate the sale and purchase of specific firearms. The firearm dealer had to record his or her sales, and the customer could not be under indictment or have been convicted of a violent crime (Cooper 3). The NFA was the first regulation that attempted to keep a gun ownership registry. This law began the snowball effect of Congress being more involved in gun regulation.
Sparked by the assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Johnson focused the countries attention on gun law. In the same year, 1968, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act and the Gun Control Act were passed. These laws prevented all convicted felons, drug users and the mentally ill from buying guns; raised the age to purchase handguns from a licensed dealer to 21; and required more detailed record-keeping of sales. The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act and the Gun Control Act were better versions of the National Firearms Act because the NFA required citizens to report ownership of all weapons including illegal weapons which incriminates the owner, this is unconstitutional. The 1968 acts required the registration of newly purchased firearms, but not previously owned firearms.
The next major change in gun law was the Brady Act. This act was inspired by the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981. the Brady Act “require[s] nationwide a waiting period of five working days between the application to purchase a handgun and the time the weapon is handed over to the customer” (Dolan and Scariano 53). The waiting period allows law enforcement to perform a background check if necessary. The check can be waived at the seller’s discretion if the buyer is known to be a lawful citizen.
More recently the Second Amendment debate has focused on concealed carry weapons. Concealed weapons are firearms, usually handguns, which are kept on a person worn under clothing or carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual, or transported in a vehicle under the individual's control or direction and available to the carrier, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment, not out in the open (Schmidt 4). There is no specification on the complete...