Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms – Fight For the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
In a time when it seems the United States is on the road to more restrictive gun laws, Second Amendment enthusiasts are coming out in droves to defend their right to bear arms. Groups like Gun Owners of America (GOA) have met with success hosting “armed defensive” training sessions for local citizens, and they’ve even formed an all-out war against proposed New York legislation that would infringe on their right to keep and bear arms. But beyond the political dimensions of the issue, there is a far more practical reason for the Second Amendment’s preservation: preserving the individual right to bear arms for both their defense and their rights to enjoy a life free from undue government intrusion. The right to bear arms was secured not only through the drafting of the Constitution but also with centuries of tradition.
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution
understood that a well-regulated state could better protect its citizens from tyranny and government intrusion than a society with wide-open spaces without internal controls. Accordingly, the second amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms not only for their safety but as a way of defending themselves when faced with violent attackers or those who would do them harm. The right to keep and bear arms was never intended to include the right to use guns for self-defense or other aggression-such as hunting. The right to bear arms simply gives citizens the ability to defend themselves when life or the life of their fellow citizens, and the historical reasons for that right make it important today as never before.
There have been many debates over what the amendments guarantee.
Proponents of tighter gun laws argue that the right to bear arms gives individuals the right “to protect themselves and their family members against unlawful action by those who are in lawful authority.” In other words, they argue that the amendment guarantees an individual’s right to use firearms for self-defense as well as other activities that help preserve the rule of law and the freedoms we cherish. Opponents of handgun ban resolutions argue that such laws unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second amendment.
The U.S. Supreme Court
has held that the right to keep and bear arms is one of the fundamental rights protected by the constitution. Specifically, the court has determined that the second amendment to the constitution safeguards the right to keep and bear arms “in all cases wherein the state may ban firearms.” The court has also held that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that is protected by the constitution in all instances, even when there is a ban on other firearms commonly possessed by a majority of Americans. However, in the much-anticipated McDonald v. Chicago decision, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Chicago Police Department in a 5-4 ruling. In that landmark ruling, the court held that the second amendment does not give the federal government the power to ban handguns in any place that limits their availability to people in lawful possession.
There have been many instances
throughout our nation’s history where the federal government has attempted to ban handguns, only to be met with an onslaught of lawsuits from citizens who were restricted by law to keep and bear arms. The Heller case was arguably the most important example. In this instance, the Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, but a ban on handguns was not constitutional. This impacted all states across the country, although other states had previously passed laws that banned handgun ownership. Thus, it set forth a precedent for the challenge of constitutionality in other areas of the law, including instances where there is a total ban on particular types of weaponry.
In today’s contentious political climate,
the right to keep and bear arms is one of the major civil rights enjoyed by all Americans. Protecting this right is not only an obligation of the federal government but also of every state in the union. Yet, like the other amendments to our Constitution, the second amendment poses a significant potential danger to those who wish to defend their liberty and engage in self-defense activity. If the Supreme Court allows the Second Amendment to be stretched to include personal possessions such as a pistol or gun, there is no telling what kind of slippery slope will be available to citizens who feel they are beyond the pale of permissible behavior regarding firearms.