The debate over the right to bear arms according to the Second Amendment has been a hotly contested issue for many years in American history. The matter has been one of the most controversial issues in the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first; disputed between politicians on the liberal and conservative side along with issues such as abortion, capital punishment, and gay marriage. The Supreme Court has officially defined the controversial Second Amendment by stating that states have the right to maintain a militia separate from a federally controlled army (Gale Encyclopedia, pg. 155-162). However, “Courts have consistently held that the state and federal governments may lawfully regulate the sale, transfer, receipt, possession, and use of certain categories of firearms, as well as mandate who may and may not own a gun (Gale Encyclopedia, pg. 155-162).” Therefore, the issue is one that is extremely hard to clarify. Which side is right?
An estimated 30,000 people are killed each year by guns in the United States alone according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Gun Control, Funk & Wagnall’s). Though there have been some restrictions and laws placed, both the conservative and liberal sides are not pleased with either the lack of action or the fact that there has been too much action that has taken place. “About 38% of U.S. households and 26% of individuals owned at least one gun, with about half of the individuals having 4 or more guns, according to a 2004 survey by the Harvard School of Public Health (Gun Control, Funk & Wagnall’s).” Both sides turn to the one document centered on the argument for evidence to support their side: the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment states that: “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 (U.S. Const., amend. II).” There have been two main arguments that have stemmed from the different interpretations of the national document. “One argument supported that the Second Amendment supported an individual or personal right to have firearms, in particular for self-defense, separate and apart from citizen service in government militia. The second argument was that the amendment created a citizen “right of revolution” or “insurrection”, meaning that citizens had a right to engage in armed revolt against their government if they felt that the government was behaving in an unjust manner (Spitzer, The Right to Bear Arms).” Both of these views have been at the heart of the controversy of gun control.
Some could say that it really depends on whom you talk to of how the Second Amendment applies to the current battle over gun control in today’s society. For example, gun rights advocates like the NRA (National Rifle Association) interpret the Amendment to ensure the right of individuals to possess and carry firearms (A Right to Bear Arms?, UMKC School of Law). Gun control...