Gun Control and Historical Thinking Essay Example
Gun Control and Historical Thinking Essay Example

Gun Control and Historical Thinking Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (826 words)
  • Published: September 24, 2018
  • Type: Essay
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The case of District of Columbia v Heller centered on the possession of firearms, as specified in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The primary concern involved interpreting the Second Amendment, an issue that had not been addressed in previous court cases. It was determined during the trial that handguns should not be registered and licenses should be obtained for pistols and all legal firearms, which must be stored unloaded or with trigger locks. The pivotal inquiry posed was "What does the Second Amendment say regarding firearm possession?" The court unequivocally stated that the Second Amendment solely applied to militias rather than private ownership of guns (Samaha, 2010). Petitioners sought a review of this case to establish a clear connection between federal gun control laws and the Second Amendment. This aligns with ongoing debates concerning potential new federal restricti


ons on firearms being deliberated in various institutions. Additionally, they desired clarification on regulations pertaining to individuals who possess firearms for personal safety at home. Some individuals argued their use of firearms was for hunting purposes.

The use of historical thinking in policy making has been a topic of concern in the past. The court clarified that while individuals can possess firearms, their use is not unrestricted. It is important for firearm possession to comply with the law, including restrictions on mentally ill individuals and felons. Certain places, such as government buildings and schools, completely prohibit firearms.

The case also addressed the types of firearms that are allowed, stating that dangerous and unusual weapons are illegal according to the Second Amendment. However, further interpretation was needed in the Heller case as a single-shot gun did not fall

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under the category of an unusual weapon. This highlights the need for a logical classification of usual and unusual weapons.

There are also unresolved questions about whether the Second Amendment applies only to state and local governments. Dealing with ambiguity and unclear laws outlined in this amendment presents challenges for small courts (Samaha, 2010). This raises the question of how historical thinking plays a crucial role in policy making.

Scholars like Neil argue that analyzing history is essential for developing more effective policies that address previously encountered challenges (Richards, 1997). Politicians, diplomats, and even the Supreme Court rely on historical references when making decisions. Despite criticism from scholars, the court has found this approach effective for efficient decision-making over many years (Richards, 1997).Some cases have displayed favoritism towards specific individuals, causing concerns about politically motivated outcomes resulting from an excessive reliance on history (Kelly). This has raised questions about the definition of history within the context of the court and how conflicting evidence should be addressed. In contemporary times, law and history are closely intertwined, necessitating historical analysis in the legislative process. The constitution, a historical document, has undergone revisions based on new research and evidence (Richards, 1997). However, determining the interpretation of history presents a challenge to ensure that it benefits all citizens rather than solely politicians. History should function as a tool for enhancing security and freedom for individuals. Evidence plays a critical role in historical thinking as it enables lawmakers to convince people of their decisions and prevent chaos. Florida implemented the "Stand Your Ground" law known for its high levels of violence with the intention of safeguarding individuals and their families. Critics argue

that this law has the potential to escalate violence and modernize the state (Catalfamo, 2007). It originates from Southern values such as honor, chivalry, and respect for personal freedom. Initially rooted in English Common Law's concept of "a man's home is his castle," it has evolved into what is now referred to as the modern castle doctrine.The doctrine of "defense of habitation" includes the principle that personal safety and protection of one's home are paramount. This doctrine allows individuals to use deadly force for self-defense and to protect their family or property. However, there is a significant question regarding whether the right to defend implies the right to kill. In the 20th century, it was clarified that lethal force could only be used if it was reasonable and necessary to save one's own life. This clarification sparked debates about when killing an attacker can be justified and how this justification should be determined.

The "Stand Your Ground" law modified English Common Law by granting individuals the right to defend themselves using any means necessary, including lethal force, as long as they have a lawful right to be in a specific location. However, if both parties involved have a lawful right to be in that location, legal consequences will follow for anyone who kills another person. It is important to note that killing on-duty officers is strictly prohibited under this law, even if they are not at their residence.

According to Catalfamo (2007), new laws have updated the castle doctrine in order to address past challenges and prioritize proportionality and necessity. These laws aim to provide greater protection for individuals residing in urban areas.

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