When James Madison proposed the Bill of Rights to Congress, he addressed a concern about a standing federal army that might conduct a coup to take over the nation. He wrote that the amendments concerning arms “relate to private rights.” Madison believed in private ownership of arms that did not protect such a right that: members of the military could be armed without a constitutional right to keep and bear arms (Agresti 2010).
Freedom and self-defense are good arguments for those who are in favor of the second amendment. Self defense is considered a natural and common law right, and it is found in a number of state constitutions. Virginia’s convention believed the right to keep and bear arms necessary to its proposed Bill of Rights. Still, the gun control debate focuses on the way the militia limits the right of people to keep and bear arms to militia related gun ownership (Wellford 2005). Most will argue that owning a gun is their own individual freedom and that the government should not be able to tell them what to do.
George Mason defined the term militia as: “Who are the militia? They consist of the whole people, except for public officers.” According to the Framer’s way of thinking, a proper militia was a self-regulating militia. Some gun control advocates who seek to avoid individual
rights argue that the right to bear arms pertains only to militias that are well-regulated (Carter 2002).
Laws have been passed to try to control the people who have and use guns. President Johnson passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 as part of the Great Society series of programs and was put in because of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. The bill was passed and eventually had restrictions added to it. It bans any