Government: United States Constitution and Gun Control Laws Essay

Submitted By bigbdlt
Words: 926
Pages: 4

According to the U.S. constitution, the second amendment protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, but it does not prohibit gun control laws. Several cases have brought up the issue of whether the requirements and restrictions that gun control laws impose such as, what guns can be used, who can use them, and where they can be used are a violation of this amendment. Based on my research, I believe that all citizens should have the right to bear a gun regardless of service in militia, but gun regulations that are reasonable to ensure public safety do not violate an individual’s second amendment. District of Columbia v. Heller could be used as precedent case as it addresses this debate and helps define the second amendment. In 1967, The District of Columbia created strict gun control laws that banned all handguns and a requirement that all other guns at home must be kept unloaded and disassembled. Dick Heller and five other D.C. residents claimed they needed functional guns in their homes for self-defense and decided to challenge these gun control laws, but didn’t object to a registration requirement for the guns and also didn’t ask to carry guns outside of the home. The Supreme Court was asked to answer whether the D.C. provisions violated the second amendment rights of individuals who aren’t affiliated with any state regulated militia, but who just want to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes. A prior decision made in 1939 in U.S. v. Miller that set the precedent being the only decision made that directly addressed the definition of the second amendment. The defendants of the case were arrested for transporting an unlicensed, sawed-off shotgun across state lines while engaged in interstate commerce, in violation of the NFA. The Supreme Court held that the NFA didn’t violate their rights because the weapon was not considered ordinary military equipment “of that its use could contribute to the common defense.” Using this precedent case, the Supreme Court decided that an individual’s second amendment was violated and the Court struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns holding that the second amendment guarantees an individual right to gun ownership, however, that the right to bear arms isn’t absolute and it only guarantees the right to posses guns which are “in common use at the time.” In a more recent case, McDonald v. Chicago dealt with a similar issue where petitioners argued that the gun control laws in the city of Chicago were extremely similar to Heller’s as it prohibited handgun ownership. Chicago argued that states “should be able to tailor firearm regulation to local conditions.” This argument is important because it deals with the balance of federal and state power. Local governments have a more intimate understanding of local problems, therefore can ensure safety and reasonable gun control laws for that area compared to a federal government which doesn’t have this advantage. The seventh circuit stated, “Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government.” On the other hand, the Illinois laws were enacted by Chicago and Oak Park, “suboordinate bodies of a state.” This shows how the decision of the case can determine the power of states and municipalities to control handgun possession. It was decided that the second amendment incorporated meaning that the Court ruled that the second amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits prohibition. In a case dealing with student safety and possession of gun in a public, I found that the second amendment does not protect an individual. One example of this can be seen in the case