Conservative Perspectives on Gun Control

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The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution is perhaps the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights, if not the entire document. The second amendment is all that stands in the way between American citizens and total chaos. Without the second amendment, nothing would prevent a duly elected president (who is also the nation's commander-in-chief) from declaring martial law and using the nation's military forces to systematically usurp and dismantle the remaining civil rights of its citizens. The second amendment is America's greatest defense against the forces of totalitarianism.

Interpretation of the Second Amendment

The simple wording of the second amendment has been widely interpreted, and gun-control advocates have sought to obfuscate the language in order to further their agenda. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the amendment, upon which gun-control advocates have rested much of their arguments is the part that reads a "well-regulated militia." Those who seek to erode the amendment, claim that the right to bear arms is extended solely to militias, and since both the number of militias and the effectiveness of them have diminished since the 1700s, the amendment is now moot.

Local and state government bodies have frequently sought to strip the amendment of its power by imposing draconian regulations and requirements. For 32 years, gun owners in Washington D.C. were not legally permitted to own a handgun or carry one within the district's territory. In June 2008, however, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the district's law was unconstitutional. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia observed that regardless of whether violent crime is a problem, "the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table ... Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid."

Perspectives of Gun Control Advocates

While handguns were the issue in Washington, D.C., gun control advocates elsewhere have decried the access to and usage of fully-automatic weapons and other high-powered firearms by the general public. They've sought to limit or even prohibit ownership of these so-called "assault weapons" in a misguided attempt to protect the public. In 1989, California became the first state to pass an outright ban on fully-automatic rifles, machine guns and other firearms considered to be "assault weapons." Since then, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey have passed similar laws.

One reason gun control opponents are so adamant about keeping these firearms on the open market is because the access to weapons by the American military has far outpaced the access to weapons by the American public in both number and power. If a nation is unable to defend itself against the forces of tyranny within its government because the right to bear arms is so badly eroded, it undermines the spirit and intention of the second amendment.

Liberals also advocate legislation restricting the types of ammunition available for firearms, as well as the "types" of people who can own them. Ex-cons or people with prior mental illnesses, for example, are prohibited from owning or carrying guns in certain states, and the Brady Bill, which became law in 1994, mandates prospective gun owners undergo a five-day waiting period so local law enforcement authorities can conduct background checks.

Every regulation, restriction or law that infringes upon Americans' right to keep and bear arms, prevents America from being a country that is truly free.

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Your Citation
Hawkins, Marcus. "Conservative Perspectives on Gun Control." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2021, Hawkins, Marcus. (2021, July 31). Conservative Perspectives on Gun Control. Retrieved from Hawkins, Marcus. "Conservative Perspectives on Gun Control." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).