Isaiah Files

PLS 101-001

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Prof. Lane

January 31st,
2018

Essay I

            The Second Amendment was written to grant state militias
the right to carry and use firearms. In light of this wording, I don’t believe
that the framers of the constitution meant for every citizen to carry guns as
they specifically highlight that a “Well regulated Militia, being necessary to
the security of a free state”1. In
the hands of law enforcement or the military, it makes sense for them to be
able to carry guns as they are faced with potentially dangerous situations fairly
regularly and are essential to our nation’s security. However, everyday
citizens do not have as great a need to carry firearms as those in the armed
services. The relative ease of citizens to acquire firearms has lead to some of
the deadliest shootings in our nation’s history such as Sandy Hook and
Columbine. In spite of these events, organizations such as the National Rifle
Association have aggressively defended the right to use guns as an individual
right2.

            In order to understand the divide in opinion in regards
to the Second Amendment, the ideological difference between individual rights
and collective rights must be discussed. Those who believe that gun rights are
a collective right, point to the part of the Second Amendment where it
specifically states “A well regulated militia” to explain how gun rights are
only to be used by those who are directly tied to our nation’s security and
defense. They believe that ordinary citizens don’t have the need to have guns
as they are not tied to national security. On the other hand, those who believe
that the right to bear arms is an individual right highlight where it states
that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” and they take this to
meaning that everyone is entitled to possessing a firearm. Both sides of the
debate shape the right to bear arms by continuously making various arguments as
to why guns should or shouldn’t be accessible to ordinary citizens.  One of the most important court cases that
shaped the debate surrounding gun ownership was District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld gun ownership as an
individual right and said that gun rights weren’t restricted to just military personnel3. The
debate on guns is a sensitive subject in America because gun violence and
deaths involving guns are so prevalent in this country.

            In closing, I believe that guns should be kept out of
civilian hands and reserved to only to those in the armed forces or law enforcement
because they are critical to our nation’s security. The intent of the Second
Amendment in my opinion was to reserve the right to possess a gun to the
defenders of our nation as opposed to everyone being able to use a gun. When the
issue is truly analyzed, it really makes no sense for everyday citizens to be
able to purchase guns because they are not faced with dangerous situations regularly.
Especially in the case of assault rifles, people should not have access to
these types of guns because it only results in more violence in this country
and innocent people being killed. If guns are a right of everyday citizens,
then there need to be stricter principles put in check so that not just anyone
could get a gun as to minimize the chances of another mass shooting. Overall, I
feel that the framers of the constitution meant for guns to be a collective
good and intended only for those in direct relation to the defense of this
country so that we would have a means of protection from enemies. It’s just
that over time, we’ve stretched the meaning to encompass all citizens but I feel
that this wasn’t the original intent by the writers.

1 “The
Constitution of the United States”. Amendment II

2 Samuel Kernell
et al, The Logic of American Politics.
(Thousand Oaks, Congressional Quarterly, 2018), 194.

3 Samuel Kernell
et al, Logic of American Politics.
194.