Second amendment Essay Example
Second amendment Essay Example

Second amendment Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (960 words)
  • Published: April 25, 2017
  • Type: ACT
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The topic of the 2nd amendment in modern American society is controversial. It has been included in the Bill of Rights since 1791 and declares that individuals have the right to possess and carry weapons for a well-regulated militia necessary for maintaining a secure state, with an assertion that this right shall not be violated. However, there are differing opinions on what constitutes a militia and precedents from previous court decisions. Supporters of gun ownership rights believe it applies to all individuals while opponents argue that it only pertains to those involved in organized militias, thus excluding most law-abiding gun owners.

Over the last 120 years, the Supreme Court has dealt with issues regarding the Second Amendment. Although there has been a hesitation to revisit these cases and a preference for following precedent, it is unlikely that the right of Americans to buy


and own guns will be revoked soon. Nevertheless, some people may perceive future laws aimed at safeguarding public safety as an effort to restrict this right. Regardless of what decisions are made by the Supreme Court, debates about interpreting the Second Amendment will continue among Americans. It was only after Reconstruction that challenges against it emerged.

Between 1865 and 1877, the Confederate States were ruled by the Union military to protect African Americans' constitutional rights after losing the Civil War. Nevertheless, exhaustion among Northern occupiers had set in by 1876, and a significant Supreme Court case regarding the Second Amendment arose. United States vs. Cruikshank (1876), brought forward by African Americans aiming to preserve their right to bear arms.

During a Louisiana meeting, residents called for the removal of guns from former slaves. However, Africa

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Americans challenged this by suing for their right to possess firearms and citing the 1st, 2nd, and 14th amendments as protection against discrimination. Despite their efforts, the Supreme Court ruled that individuals' right to bear arms under the 2nd amendment would only be restricted if violated by the government.

The argument that states can regulate gun ownership despite the 2nd Amendment is prevalent. Additionally, white men who disarmed African Americans were not seen as state representatives; therefore, the 14th Amendment's prohibition on depriving people of their rights could be relevant. It is suggested that the Supreme Court's decision in this case might be considered plain racism based on their conventional lack of modern civil rights views. However, if the plaintiff had been white, the outcome may have differed. Nevertheless, seven years later, Presser vs. Chicago would test whether the 2nd Amendment has jurisdiction over state regulation of guns.

In 1886, the case of Presser vs. Illinois addressed the topics of state's rights and the definition of militia in 1885. Specifically, Presser and more than four hundred individuals marched through Chicago's streets in December 1879 while displaying their firearms. The charge against Presser alleged that he was involved with an unlicensed military organization that conducted parades and drills with unauthorized individuals carrying weapons.

Presser was fined $10 in Illinois for displaying firearms without a license because he did not meet the criteria of the 2nd amendment. The Supreme Court upheld this decision in United States vs. Cruikshank, stating that states can regulate actions as long as individual rights are not violated and that the 2nd amendment only limits Congress and the national government, not states. Therefore, it restricts

federal violations of individual rights under this amendment.

The Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot prevent individuals from possessing and carrying firearms, as doing so would hinder public safety efforts and impede citizens' ability to fulfill their governmental responsibilities in the United States.

The Supreme Court's comments on the clash between an individual's rights and the state regarding the 2nd amendment were not restricted to Presser, indicating that the sections under consideration do not achieve this result.

In 1939, the Supreme Court reviewed United States vs. Miller, a significant case pertaining to the 2nd amendment. The case involved Jack Miller and Frank Layton, who were charged with breaking the national Firearms Act of 1934 by transporting an unregistered shotgun that had a barrel less than 18 inches long. Although Layton admitted guilt through a plea deal, Miller refused claiming his indictment was in violation of his rights under the 2nd amendment.

On January 2, 1939, Miller's indictment was dismissed by the District Court, which was considered a victory. However, when they appealed to the Supreme Court, both Miller and his co-defendant as well as their lawyer were absent. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the federal law that banned the transportation of modified firearms across state borders. As a result, there wasn't sufficient evidence to support ownership or utilization of shotguns with barrel lengths less than 18 inches thereby annulling the lower court's verdict.

Since the United States vs. [unknown case] ruling, it cannot be affirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess and carry a particular weapon.

Miller's (1939) landmark decision on the 2nd amendment has led to over two hundred federal and state

appellate cases. However, despite this extensive litigation, challenges to the amendment at the federal level have consistently been declined by the Court. Therefore, Miller can be interpreted differently depending on one's stance on an individual's right to bear arms versus a state's authority to restrict such rights solely for well-organized militias as stipulated in the amendment. Supporters of repealing the 2nd amendment acknowledge that allowing states to define permissible rights could result in significant consequences.

The Supreme Court has established a definitive position for upcoming cases regarding the 2nd amendment and its past rulings since 1939. Despite an increase in violent crimes, it is unlikely that the 2nd amendment will be invalidated soon. Nevertheless, states seeking to strengthen their gun control laws are anticipated to receive widespread support from the public.

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