Constitutional Principles





Constitutional Principles

The second amendment to the American constitution gives people the right to bear arms. It states, “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.” Many people believe that this gives them the right to keep weapons. The language and wording used in the amendment has often caused controversy. Until recently, many states banned possession of guns. In the past, the courts have always ruled that the amendment was aimed at the militia and not as individuals (Halbrook). However, this option has been challenged in the recent part. Most courts used the fourteenth amendment to urge states not to make laws that would infringe on people’s rights. The courts have also ruled that people have a right to defend themselves. The right to bear arms should be only be granted where the is the presence of individual responsibility

America is one of the few nations in the world whereby people can purchase guns at retail shops or gun shows with relative ease. Some shops conduct background checks, but this is not often the case in all situations. This means that many people own guns today. There are about two hundred privately owned guns in the country (BBC). This has been one of the most controversial liberties in the country, especially since the shootings in different learning institutions began. Mass shootings have happened at different places, and they have led to fatalities and injuries. Every time there are such incidences, people ask for greater gun control. However, some of them are opposed to the idea. Other than this, numerous incidences of gang violence involving guns are reported daily in various cities across the country. Despite the damage caused, many people are protective of their rights and liberties as provided by the constitution.

Many people have called for more gun control laws in light of the mass shootings and increased gun violence in the homes, streets, and elsewhere. They posit that this will ensure that this will ensure that people can protect themselves in case of danger. Others argue that denying people the chance to own guns will make them helpless in case they need to defend themselves. Opinions vary across the states, and many have opted to allow gun ownership. Although the mentally unstable are prevented from owning guns, some of the people who commit homicides are not mentally ill. In addition, individuals, such as children, can access their parents’ guns if much effort is not taken to prevent access. Others oppose any gun control laws because they feel that it is a way for the federal government to infringe on their constitutional rights. Others feel that the lawmakers are more interested in protecting the profits of the gun industry rather than in protecting their lives when they continue opposing any gun control measures.

Gun control laws tend not to be popular countrywide. Only 47% of Americans feel that there should be stricter gun laws. In addition, 73% of Americans feel that possession of handguns should not be banned. Although many people are protective of their constitutional rights, there is a need to consider gun control laws as a way of ensuring that the country does not experience mass shootings. The second amendment does give people the right to bear arms, and the courts have subsequently ruled on the need for self-defense. However, every freedom has a limitation. Just as one cannot go about insulting other people on the streets and claim freedom of speech, in the same manner, not every person should be allowed to own firearms. Background checks are important and so is having a gun registry, as this will ensure that people become more responsible and that they are accountable for their actions.

Map showing support for the ban on handgun possession over the years

Retrieved from


Works Cited

BBC. Firearms: A Civil Liberties Issue? 6 Mar. 2001. Web. 13 Apr. 2015

Halbrook, Stephen P. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments: The Framers’ Intent and Supreme Court Jurisprudence. Web. 13 Apr. 2015

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