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Right to Bear Arms Research Papers

While research papers on the intent of the Second Amendment show that from a historical perspective, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution seems to support an individual right to keep and bear arms. Your right to bear arms research paper analysis is not the first, nor the last, attempt to interpret what our founding fathers meant regarding the right “of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” From a constitutional purist’s standpoint, the language in the Second Amendment is straightforward: “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”. The phrase “right of the people” has significant meaning in this amendment, and throughout the Bill of Rights, since the phrase appears in other sections of the document that is interpreted as protecting individual rights. Thus, the second amendment protects the same sort of individual right that other parts of the Bill of Rights provide. The First Congress upholds that argument because it had strong influences and demands from proponents who believed in individual rights, to write amendments that would ensure the basic liberties of American citizens. So one should conclude that the second amendment’s right of the individual means just that: the intent was for any citizen to bear arms.

The language of the Second Amendment was adopted as part of the Bill of Rights to the Federal Constitution in 1791.

  1. Right to Bear ArmsThe fact remains that the first ten amendments representing the view of the thirteen colonies that certain rights were fundamental to a free society, and should be guaranteed against government intrusion.
  2. The framers held a variety of position changes and interpretations of individual’s rights in the proposed Bill of Rights.
  3. With various drafts of the document that later became the center piece for our democracy, scholars can interpret and define and try to decipher any hidden meaning or intent to justify what James Madison meant about militia versus individual rights.

Important Questions to Answer on Gun Control and the Right to Bear Arms

  1. What are the issue and conclusion?
    The issue of gun control in the United States has been controversial since the late eighteenth century, but recently, the topic has reemerged in the public forum.  Thanks to the advancement of weapons technology, the argument of gun control spans the questions of not only the right to bear arms, but what arms are right to bear and what restrictions, if any, should be placed upon that right.  While there are proponents on all sides of the issue, the moderate position is that while the right to bear arms should never be rescinded, there must be gun control measures put in place for automatic weapons and more advanced weaponry.
  2. What are the reasons?
    According to a 1999 survey done by the National Opinion Research Center, nearly 81% of respondents supported a background check and a five-day waiting period before a handgun could be purchased, and of the eleven general gun control measures that the NORC asked about, the average respondent supported seven. (Smith, 156, 2002) Gun control, in at least some form, is necessary to prevent unnecessary violence and crime.  “Public support for the regulation of firearms is strong,” says Tom Smith, director of the NORC at the University of Chicago.
  3. Which words or phrases are ambiguous?
    The phrase “the right to bear arms,” which is in the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is ambiguous and has led to much contention over the subject of gun control.  The Amendment does not specify the type of arms allowed, in what circumstances arms are allowed, and what, if anything, violates this Amendment.  Additional, gun control is an ambiguous phrase; does control mean a complete set of restrictions, or a limited number of guidelines?  These ambiguities need to be resolved in order for gun control to truly exist in the United States; once definitions are agreed upon, actions may be taken based upon those definitions.
  4. What are the value conflicts and assumptions?
    The value conflicts of the gun control issue stem from centuries ago when arms were necessary to fend off Great Britain before, during and after the Revolutionary War.  Nowadays, with relative peace in the United States, police forces, a national military and other protective measures, the original values of the 2nd Amendment are not necessary.  Yet, for many, this is still the key issue; citizens must be allowed to protect themselves from any and all enemies.  The values of letting citizens defend themselves, and keeping violence down, is one of the key conflicts of the gun control issue, and perhaps the largest point of contention. 
  5. What are the descriptive assumptions?
    “It is important that a distinction is made between illegal and legal guns,” says Lisa Stolzenberg of the University of North Carolina, who says that assumptions made about illegal guns should not affect gun control.  Assumptions are made about how gun control affects gun violence in the United States, and whether private gun ownership has any affect on rates of violence.  Opponents of gun control say that violence would occur anyway, because criminals would find ways to have guns, and unarmed victims would be defenseless.  Other assumptions are what weapons should be controlled; should only rifles and handguns be allowed, or should automatic weapons be allowed as well?
  6. Explain any fallacies in the reasoning?
    Garen Wintermute of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs says that gun policy helps to decrease the flow of guns into the hands of youth. Ludwig says that “most students of gun violence essentially agree that causing criminals to use knives and other weapons rather than guns will result in fewer lethal injuries.”  This rationale assumes that criminals will not use illegal means to find guns and that guns that are used for violence are legal with correct permits.  The fallacy of this reasoning is naivety as to how criminals obtain weapons.  
  7. How good is the evidence?
    The evidence on public opinion about gun control is good; the majority of the public supports at least some form of gun control.  There is also considerable evidence to support the fact that restrictions on gun purchasing – such as waiting periods and limits on purchasing firearms to felons – are an effective means of gun restriction.  (Wintermute, 55, 2002)  Perhaps the best evidence in favor of gun control is the evidence that gun restriction does help to prevent the usage of guns by children.  “Lax oversight of licensed firearms dealers, combined with little or no regulation of private sales between gun owners, mean that guns can quickly move from the legal market into the illegal market, where they can be acquired by young people.”
  8. What are the rival causes?
    The rival causes of gun violence are increased criminal activity in the United States, which stems from other areas of safety, as well as issues with police forces and criminal safety issues.  A reduction of police budgets in much of the country has meant that there are fewer officers to monitor city areas, which has resulted in an increased crime rate in many major metropolitan areas.  These rival causes must be acknowledged and taken into account when any measures of gun control are urged on the basis of additional gun violence.
  9. Are the statistics deceptive?
    Statistics as to the correlations between gun control and gun violence are not as reliable.  “Although a fairly large and diverse body of empirical research has accumulated that examines the effect of gun availability on violent crime, this research allows few definitive conclusions.”   Ludwig agrees that data on gun violence is not ideal.  “Estimates for the prevalence of defensive gun use come from three sources, none of which is ideal.”Greater research needs to be done to accumulate better data on gun violence.
  10. What significant information is omitted?
    “Estimates of the frequency of defensive gun uses under the status quo provide no information about how a specific change in gun policy will affect the number of socially desirable and undesirable uses, which is ultimately the question of interest for public policy. The information that is generally omitted when talking about gun use is the prevalence of gun usage among private owners for things other than target shooting, hunting, etc.  Incidents where private citizens are forced to use their guns for protection are often unreported, or underreported, and with this information, it could be seen whether private gun ownership really does help citizens protect themselves.
  11. What reasonable conclusions are possible?
    The conclusions that may be made about gun control in the United States and the direction in which gun control can and should go are few, but succinct.  More research needs to be done on the links between gun ownership and gun violence, greater and more reliable bodies of statistical data need to be accumulated on these topics, and the fallacious reasoning that has plagued many proponents of gun control needs to be curbed; yet, for all of this shortcomings, the concept of gun control is still a sound one. 

Restrictions on guns help prevent criminals and youths from getting guns as easily as they could otherwise, and while these restrictions do not prevent those who are willing to purchase illegal guns from obtaining firearms, it does act as a deterrent for those who not willing to expand the time, money and energy to acquire illegal guns.  Secondly, gun control is a common sense theory that prevents any weapon under the sun, from weapons-grade plutonium to an M-16 assault rifle, from being acquired and used by anyone who can afford them.  The majority of public opinion in the United States supports many of the gun restrictions that are currently on the books and this public opinion is backed by sound reasoning and evidence.  The 2nd Amendment should still be honored, but the 2nd Amendment should not infringe upon the right of safety to every American. 

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