The Second Amendment
Gun control. Background checks. Mass murders. Despite their differences, all of those things share one very large similarity. They all lead back to the infamous Second Amendment. In today’s politics, the name is thrown around so often, but what is Second Amendment exactly? In 1791, the Second Amendment was drafted, and it granted citizens the right to bear arms (guns), as it clearly 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.” Yet, The Second Amendment not only regulated how and if non-soldiers would own firearms, but it also dissolved many fears held by the U.S.’s general population. Although it did settle well with the population at the time, the Second Amendment currently does not solve problems as it was meant to, but instead it creates its own strife. As of right now, the Second Amendment may be the most relevant and controversial amendment, as it is the center of many political issues. Specifically, there have been numerous debates raging over how to interpret the amendment, and how to change it to fit the modern U.S.’ beliefs. In the midst of all the controversy, organizations, protests, and projects have arisen from all sides and spoken up, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the “March for Our Lives” protest, which was led by students affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School school shooting
As one of the original amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment held great importance when it was first created. At the time, the general population believed that the military should only be used to fight foreign powers, and that tyrannical governments mainly used soldiers to oppress rebels and outspoken citizens. This idea is supported by many sources, and according to history.com, “Many people in America at the time believed governments used soldiers to oppress the people, and thought the federal government should only be allowed to raise armies (with full-time, paid soldiers) when facing foreign adversaries. For all other purposes, they believed, it should turn to part-time militias, or ordinary civilians using their own weapons.” This fear can be traced back to Britain’s occupation of the U.S., and how British soldiers were spread all across the Thirteen Colonies. The Second Amendment, however, combated this fear by protecting the right for citizens to own firearms, which was created so citizens could self-defend against unlawful actions or a corrupt government. Some believe that the Second Amendment was created to give the people what they wanted. So, needless to say, this was one of the more popular amendments in the original Bill of Rights.
As mentioned before, the Second Amendment is a very relevant subject, as it is immersed in controversy. In recent years, there has been an outcry stemmed by school shootings and mass murders for changes to be made to it. This outcry includes protests, marches, and even calls for state representatives to do something about gun laws and gun rights. It goes without saying that the Second Amendment is no longer nearly as popular, but major organizations like the NRA still support it. But not all of those called for changes are made by people on the same side of the debates. In 2008, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the case District of Columbia vs Heller caused Washington D.C.’s 32 year-old handgun ban to be removed. This case in particular led the charge for gun laws to be strengthened, and several similar cases followed it, like McDonald vs The City of Chicago, which challenged the city’s handgun ban as well.