October 16, 2013
Dr. Holly Sawyer
The Second Amendment is one of the most important amendments in the Bill of Rights. Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas are two cities that are polar opposites when it comes to Second Amendment rights, but are very similar in size, demographics, and socioeconomics. Houston, Texas is a city that utilizes the Second Amendment to the fullest extent by allowing its citizens the “right to carry.” Chicago, Illinois, where gun violence runs rampant, does not allow its citizens the “right to carry.” There are those who say that guns are to blame. Others would argue that the gun laws in this country are weak. There are a significant number of Americans who believe that enacting stricter gun control legislation would prevent senseless deaths, however it is not an effective means of preventing gun violence.
The Second Amendment
“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” ("Bill Of Rights Transcript", n.d.). The Second Amendment is one of the most important amendments in the Bill of Rights. It is so important that our founding fathers thought to make it number two among our most basic rights as Americans. Due to recent mass shootings, this has once again become a highly debated subject.
There are two main interpretations of the Second Amendment. Gun control advocates tend to believe that this right was being given to the Militia. On the other hand, gun rights advocates believe that it is an individual right. When examining some quotes from the founding fathers, it is clear what their intent was. “Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective way to enslave them” (Madison, n.d.). “A free people ought…to be armed…” (Washington, 1790). These two quotes from the Father of the Bill of Rights, James Madison, and the First President George Washington, make it clear that the intent was for the people to be armed. America’s founding fathers put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights in order to make sure we could protect ourselves. In the past, this interpretation has been left to individual states.
Right to Carry There are states known as “Right to Carry” states. This means that these states grant their citizens the right to carry a concealed firearm. In these states, there are guidelines and procedures that must be followed in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. These states also have regulations governing where one may and may not carry a firearm, and who may carry a firearm. In Texas, for instance, you have to be at least 21 years old. You cannot have been convicted of a felony or class A or B misdemeanor. You cannot be a chemically dependent person. You must be able to exercise sound judgment in proper use and storage of a firearm, meaning you cannot suffer from a mental disorder (Txdps, 2011). You also cannot carry a firearm into a business that derives 51% of its business from alcohol sales, or into any hospital (Txdps, 2011). Statistically speaking, there are less firearm deaths in states that grant the right to carry than there are in areas that do not allow their citizens to carry a firearm.
Chicago is a very interesting city to look at. In 1982, Chicago passed a ban on handgun ownership (Chapman, 2010). In the next ten years, murders jumped by 41 percent, while rising a total of 18 percent in the United States (Chapman, 2010). In 2012, there were more than 500 murders in the city of Chicago, despite having the nations strictest gun laws (Miller, 2013). Of those 500 murders, fifty-six of them were kids under the age of 18. Nearly one-third of those murdered in Chicago didn’t live to see 21 years old (Miller, 2013). Numbers like this seem