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What are the positions on gun control? Show more Show less

There are more than 300,000,000 guns in the United States. Guns have claimed the lives of more American citizens than all the wars since the American revolution put together. With guns holding a unique place in the American psyche, should there be measures in place to limit gun ownership? What should these measures look like?

Guns should not be restricted in any way Show more Show less

It is every American's constitutional right to bear arms. The government has no right to limit gun ownership.
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The power of the Second Amendment

Any limit would amount to a violation of the Second Amendment.
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freedom gun control guns second amendment

Context

"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." - the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.[1]

The Argument

The American people have the unassailable right to arm themselves, as set out in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. This right is fundamental to American culture and has been since the first Europeans settlers moved to modern-day America. When the US was still an English territory, the English government was exceedingly antimilitaristic. The ability to possess firearms and the importance of guns in the emerging American popular culture, so that "the popular possession of the gun was a central point in a political doctrine that became all but sacrosanct in the Revolution."[2] While conventional wisdom at the time indicated that standing armies were dangerous, the American solution was to instead have an armed population, leading to the above being enshrined in the United States Constitution. The right to own a gun is one that America was built on, one that set America apart from England. The wording of the Second Amendment clearly indicates that it guarantees the right of American citizens to bear arms. Any restriction on the constitutional rights of the American people amounts to government overreach and the repression of the American people. The right of American citizens to purchase firearms is a non-negotiable part of being an American.

Counter arguments

Actually, the wording doesn't guarantee the rights of any individual to bear arms. It clearly states that the individual states can organise and maintain a private milita to protect themselves against the federal government. This does not guarantee the right for individuals to carry guns.[3] Also, nowhere in the Second Amendment does it guarantee the right to have an unlimited number of weapons or unrestricted access to all types of weapons. In this sense, the Second Amendment is not incompatible with gun control. It is possible to believe in the Second Amendment and believe in gun control. The two are not mutually exclusive.[4][5] Finally, the U.S. Constitution has to be interpreted in the context which it was written. When the founding fathers wrote it, the most developed weapon was a musket. They did not foresee individual Americans arguing for the right to own a personal military-grade automatic machine gun. When the founding fathers wrote the document, the U.S. was also an untamed wilderness in many places, and many civilians needed weapons to hunt and protect themselves. Now, there is a comprehensive police force, complete with weapons and helicopters. The spirit in which it was written must be considered before arguing for unrestricted access to firearms.

Framing

- The United States Constitution lays out an unassailable set of rights. - Being an American is above all about having certain freedoms.

Premises

[P1] The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to have guns. [P2] If you restrict or limit this right, you are breaching the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual's right to have guns, grant the right to have as many guns as you want, or allow you to have any type of gun of your choosing.

Proponents

Further Reading

Blocher, Joseph, and Darrell A.H. Miller. “What Is Gun Control? Direct Burdens, Incidental Burdens, and the Boundaries of the Second Amendment.” The University of Chicago Law Review, vol. 83, no. 1, 2016, pp. 295–355. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43741601.

References

  1. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-ii/interps/99
  2. https://www.americanheritage.com/america-gun-culture
  3. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/second-amendment-text-context/555101/
  4. https://newrepublic.com/article/154651/second-amendment-case-gun-control-el-paso-dayton-shootings
  5. https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/5/23/17383644/second-2nd-amendment-gun-control-debate-santa-fe-parkland-heller-anniversary-constitution

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 21 Apr 2020 at 12:29 UTC