Get help from the best in academic writing.

Gun Ownership and the Second Amendment of the Constitution

Gun Ownership and the Second Amendment

Over the centuries, the Supreme Court has always ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects the states’ militia’s rights to bear arms, and that this protection does not extend to individuals. In fact, legal scholars consider the issue “settled law.” For this reason, the gun lobby does not fight for its perceived constitutional right to keep and bear arms before the Supreme Court, but in Congress. Interestingly, even interpreting an individual right in the 2nd Amendment presents the gun lobby with some thorny problems, like the right to keep and bear nuclear weapons.

The Second Amendment states:

“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.”

Pro-gun advocates claim that this amendment guarantees their individual right to own a gun, and that gun control laws are therefore a violation of their constitutional rights. In fact, the term “violation of our Second Amendment rights” has become a battle cry in gun lobbyist literature, repeated everywhere in their editorials and essays.

However, this raises a fascinating observation. If gun control laws are so obviously a violation of the Second Amendment, then why doesn’t the National Rifle Association challenge them on constitutional grounds before the Supreme Court? The answer is that they know they face certain defeat, for reasons we shall explore below. Consequently, the NRA has abandoned all hope in the courts.

Instead, the NRA has chosen to lobby Congress to prevent gun control legislation, and has become in fact one of the most powerful lobbies on Capital Hill. This is a supreme and exquisite irony, given the conservative and …

… middle of paper …

…’t need nuclear weapons to achieve the feared results; the U.S. already has the high murder statistics to prove it with handguns alone.

The argument is also strange because the gun lobby fervently hopes to avoid public mobilization on a constitutional amendment limiting the right to keep and bear arms. A huge majority of Americans favor stricter gun control laws; and as long as they’re excluding nuclear weapons they might as well throw in assault weapons and Saturday Night Specials.

But ultimately, calling for a constitutional amendment banning the ownership of nuclear weapons is moot. Individuals do not even have a guaranteed right to keep and bear firearms, much less modern military weapons. To overcome the Supreme Court on this issue, the gun lobby would have to promote fundamental changes in our political structure that would surely be disimprovements.

Persuasive Essay: The Need for Stronger Gun Control Laws

Switzerland has compulsory gun ownership for military age males, yet it has a far lower murder rate than the U.S. But Switzerland also has far stricter gun control laws. Even so, Switzerland has the second highest rate of handgun ownership and handgun murders in the industrialized world, after the U.S.

Switzerland is frequently cited as an example of a country with high gun ownership and a low murder rate. However, Switzerland also has a high degree of gun control, and actually makes a better argument for gun regulation than gun liberalization.

Switzerland keeps only a small standing army, and relies much more heavily on its militia system for national defense. This means that most able-bodied civilian men of military age keep weapons at home in case of a national emergency. These weapons are fully automatic, military assault rifles, and by law they must be kept locked up. Their issue of 72 rounds of ammunition must be sealed, and it is strictly accounted for. This complicates their use for criminal purposes, in that they are difficult to conceal, and their use will be eventually discovered by the authorities.

As for civilian weapons, the cantons (states) issue licenses for handgun purchases on a “must issue” basis. Most, but not all, cantons require handgun registration. Any ammunition bought on the private market is also registered. Ammunition can be bought unregistered at government subsidized shooting ranges, but, by law, one must use all the ammunition at the range. (Unfortunately, this law is not really enforced, and gives Swiss gun owners a way to collect unregistered ammunition.) Because so many people own rifles, there is no regulation on carrying them, but 15 of the 26 cantons have regulations on carrying handguns.

Despite these regulations, Switzerland has the second highest handgun ownership and handgun murder rate in the industrialized world. A review of the statistics:

Percent of households with a handgun, 1991 (1)

United States 29%

Switzerland 14

Finland 7

Germany 7

Belgium 6

France 6

Canada 5

Norway 4

Europe 4

Australia 2

Netherlands 2

United Kingdom 1

Handgun murders (1992) (2)

Handgun 1992 Handgun Murder

Country Murders Population Rate (per 100,000)


United States 13,429 254,521,000 5.28

Switzerland 97 6,828,023 1.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.