Despite the controversy surrounding the Second Amendment, arguments about its relevancy have not surfaced in the Supreme Court since 1939, when the justices merely touched upon the issue in United States v. Miller. Interestingly, in that case, SCOTUS determined that the Second Amendment expressly applied to arms suitable for militia use. By that logic, it today would guarantee the right to own a .50 cal Browning machine gun. But I digress. But early this month, the Supreme Court agreed to take on the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the central consideration is the right of an individual to own a firearm as protected under the Second Amendment. The case specifically addresses private handgun ownership in the District of Columbia. But while legalistic arguments—the phrasing of the amendment itself and the framers’ intent—will be at the center of the debate, no matter what the justices ultimately decide, we believe that a constitutional protection of an individual right to bear arms is detrimental to the country. Instead, the Second Amendment should be replaced with federal statues designed to tightly regulate gun ownership. Yes, because federal regulations have done so well with other things, like drugs, abortion, etc. Hey, aren't you people the same ones who fear government power when it comes to thinks like wiretaps, the USA PATRIOT Act, and Gitmo?
The high level of violence in the United States as compared to other developed countries, if not directly related to the culture of gun ownership and distribution, is at least a strong argument that the Second Amendment is preventing aggressive federal gun regulation. And in Switzerland, where every able bodied adult male is given a machine gun - to keep in his home - as part of the military ready reserves, violent crime is low. I guess that shoots holes in those theories. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2005, 68 percent of the 14,860 homicides in the United States were gun-related. So... 32 percent had no guns? How is that possible? I thought you needed a gun to cause a crime? I guess the gun doesn't cause the violence, and the violent criminals might use knives, baseball bats, fists, or other weapons to commit crimes? Given the pervasiveness of gun violence that occurs in this country every year, this sort of uneven gun control is unacceptable, especially when it comes to handguns. Uneven gun control... interesting thought. Guess where the most strict gun laws are? Places like Washington, D.C., where the violence is. So... banning guns doesn't result in low violent crime rates? Interesting... Unlike rifles and shotguns, a handgun has little use in hunting:
There's an entire industry devoted to handgun hunting. But I digress...
It is a military and police weapon, built expressly to kill another human being. Or to merely present force (most cases of self-defense involving guns end when the gun is drawn, without a shot). Or to hit a target in competition. It is even an Olympic sport! Yet little is done to prevent its distribution: In Virginia, any person over the age of 18 can buy a handgun... Actually, federal laws require anyone purchasing a handgun to be over 21. Do your homework! ...and if a handgun is purchased at a gun show, there is no background check required. Well, in most states, private party sales aren't regulated. If you buy a gun from someone through the classified ads, no checks are required. Why should a gun show have different laws? If you want to end all private party sales, why are you afraid to say so? Do you fear people will object to that level of government interference?
Supporters of a constitutionally enshrined individual right to bear arms argue that state gun control laws have “reinterpreted” the right to gun ownership. Most states have their own "second amendments" in state constitutions, guaranteeing, often in stronger terms, the right to bear arms. Maybe it's because people in most states don't want government getting in the way of their rights. These limitations on gun ownership, they say, demonstrate that gun ownership itself is not linked to increased violence. More gun control in D.C., higher crime. Less gun control in Utah, less crime. See a pattern? But in the wake of the expiration of the Federal Assault Weapon Ban in 2004, gun control remains relatively lax in many states, especially when it comes to handguns, which are responsible for many, if not most, gun-related murders. Ah ha! You prove the point! The AWB lapsed, and crime didn't go up! Gun advocates claim the need for handguns in self-defense, but such considerations are moot when weighed against the number of lives that might be saved by making the weapons illegal. Actually, many experts estimate that handguns used defensively prevent violent crime up to 2 million times per year, often without a shot being fired. I guess you want 2 million MORE violent crimes then?
In the context of today’s society, the Second Amendment is outdated. By that argument, we should also repeal the First Amendment, since in the context of today's society it is outdated. The Founding Fathers never envisioned television, the internet, or other modern communications. Instead, the First Amendment today has been interpreted to have much stronger protections that the Founders would have imagined: rights to nude dancing, for instance? Perhaps we should echo First Amendment jurisprudence and grow the Second Amendment into a BROADER individual right? Constitutional debates over its interpretation stand in the way of the implementation of pressing public policy. Yeah, that damn Constitution protecting rights getting in the way of government intrusion again... Instead of wasting time attempting to fix this anachronism, we should repeal this amendment and focus our efforts on legislation that will actually protect the “security of a free state”—a charge explicit in the Second Amendment. Well, at least you admit the Second Amendment gets in the way of gun control... something you folks haven't really been willing to admit in the past. I guess that's "progress."