Americans Have the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Our rights as Americans started to take shape when the Constitution of the United States was drawn up by the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Three years later, a very important part of American history called the Bill of Rights was added. The Bill of Rights is looked upon and interpreted every day. It gives the citizens of the United States many of the rights and freedoms that we value today, and some of those are in jeopardy. One right that is at stake is our right to bear arms, which is addressed in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is a highly debatable topic, and many legal scholars and the Supreme Court have yet to resolve the issues and controversy dealing with the Amendment. Until a decision can be made, the law will remain as it is currently interpreted. The citizens of the United States of America have the right to keep and bear arms.
The controversy about the Second Amendment is derived from how it is worded (Jordan). The debate about the wording can be broken into two different arguments. To understand the arguments it is important to know how the Amendment is worded. The Second Amendment states, “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 (qtd. in Anastaplo 61).” The first argument is that some people view the Second Amendment as two separate rights. The right of the people to keep and bear arms can be interpreted with the idea that each individual has the right to keep and bear arms; whereas, it could be a collective right giving just the members of the Militia the right to have guns (Gold). It is believed that the original meaning of the right to bear arms and the militia in the same Amendment was because in the early times of America the citizens needed weapons to guarantee their freedom and prevent the government from forming a dictatorship (Edel xi). The second debate is that the Amendment is one statement, therefore meaning that the militia has the right to bear arms. The problem of understanding the meaning of the Second Amendment has been brought before many courts all across America and has been ruled upon in different ways at different times. However, the Supreme Court has never declared it illegal to own guns.
Over the years, the government has tried to deal with the interpretation problem of the Second Amendment by creating laws that deal with the ownership of guns. Several states have added “right to carry” laws, while others have made it illegal to possess a concealed weapon (Smith 22). Most of the additional laws deal with the ownership and use of handguns and assault-type weapons. There has been much debate and government lobbying dealing with the passing of gun laws. Many people think the government is focusing too much on the laws about guns, because 90 percent of all violent crime in the United States does...