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Second Amendment

Second Amendment

Research papers on the Second Amendment discuss the right to bear arms in the United States. The writers at Paper Masters can custom write your research paper according to any instructions you have.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, contained in the Bill of Rights, reads: "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." In the two hundred years since then, this has become perhaps the most controversial phrase in the entire legal foundation of our nation. The opposite sides of the debate on the original intent of the 2nd Amendment use the same evidence to support their often-inflamed rhetoric. The pro-gun lobby always seems to have more information at their fingertips, as if to use the sheer volume of historical evidence to support their position. They cite William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England as "laying the foundation of modern English law" that "influenced the thinking of the American Founders". However, Blackstone supported the English notion that "the right to defend may be mistaken for the right to kill". English common law dealt harshly with public violence. It was only in America that this idea was turned around. It was US District judge Tucker who wrote in 1803, commenting on Blackstone: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government".

English common law ideas on self-preservation and standing armies were subverted in the American mind. Tucker further wrote that "The right of self-defense is the first law of nature," exactly the opposite of the Common law idea that the individual had a "duty to retreat".

In the time of the constitution, people was the militia and the militia was the people. This is true, and to the extent of the Federalist Papers, people are still the militia. The amendment gives this right to individual, not as state, but participation in defense of self or state is implicit. Should it ever become necessary to overthrow a tyrannical government, we the people must rise up and so our right to bear arms should not be infringed upon. Just the fact that people retain that right makes the development of a tyranny much less likely. That is not to say, however, that our right to bear arms should not be "well-regulated".

I choose to focus on the "well-regulated" phrase when discussing the Second Amendment. Kates (2003), who presents a pointed argument for the standard model of the Second Amendment, asserting that the Second Amendment guarantees every law abiding adult the right to bear arms, makes it a point that "all civilian males of military age had to appear with their own guns when called for militia training or service". He makes the point that ordinary civilians were the ones given the right under the amendment. People and militias are synonymous, to that I agree. But the qualifiers of the second amendment cannot be discounted. What Kates ignores is what I find the most telling part, that they were called for militia training and service. In the text of the amendment and in the other writings of the founding fathers, the militia was a body which was understood to have training and regulation. To suggest that training and regulation are an infringement on gun ownership is not in the spirit of the Amendment. Each person has the right to bear arm, if they are responsible, adequately trained and follow reasonable regulations.
Establishing waiting periods to but a gun does not infringe rights; people who are deemed responsible and qualified to own guns can and will get them, this type of regulation just helps to ensure that those who do not fit that criteria will not get guns. Limiting the number of guns purchased in a single transaction is again a reasonable regulation; it does not stop people from purchasing. It only limits the ability of people to misuse firearms. Mandatory licensing based on tests and evaluation of practical skills, gun registration, monitoring and realistic gun control are all reasonable controls which will ensure "a well-regulated militia" who will be prepared to fight, if necessary, for the "security of a free state".

Finally, I think it is important to point out that there are many instances in which the original intentions of the founding fathers have had to be reviewed, because their intentions could not possibly have considered the advancements and progress of our society. We must consider issues of the second amendment which were not conceivable in the context which the Constitution was developed. Assault weapons, and their ilk, were never conceived of at the time; a musket, which required a close shot and considerable time to reload, was the standard of the day. Jefferson, in explaining the benefits of a gun to developing youth, said also that "games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body" and suggested a gun as a "constant companion of your walks". A man who considered ball games violent never conceived of gang violence and drive by shootings, never imagined youngsters shooting their teachers and fellow students. Regulating guns does not infringe on our rights to keep them. Regulation was an intention of the original amendment and of the founding fathers. Yes, we have a right to bear arms because we must reserve the ultimate right to respond against tyranny. However, it is completely legitimate to suggest training and regulation be guidelines for gun ownership and operation. We need to regulate arms and we need to regulate them based on today's reality.

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Second Amendment Research Papers

Second Amendment research papers examine the right to bear arms, as determined by the United States Constitution.

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