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A History of Gun Control in America

A History of Gun Control in America


In the 1960s after the assassinations of President John F. Kenedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Senator Robert F. Kenedy, gun control became a major subject of public passion and controversy. To some people gun control is a crime issue, to others it is a rights issue. Gun control is a safety issue, an education issue, a racial issue, and a political issue, among others. Within each of these issues there are those who want more gun control legislation and those who want less. On both sides of this issue opinions range from moderate to extreme. Guns are not for everyone. Certain individuals cannot handle a firearm safely, and some individuals choose to use firearms inappropriately. Our society has passed laws regulating the ownership and use of firearms, and more legislation is being considered. Most of this legislation restricts, to some degree, the rights of individuals to possess or use firearms. Some restrictions may be necessary, but some recent legislation has gone too far. Society benefits from firearms in the hands of responsible citizens. Attempts to keep firearms away from these citizens do more harm than good.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution 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.” The Founding Fathers included this in our bill of Rights because they feared the Federal Government might oppress the population if the people did not have the means to defend themselves as a nation and as individuals (Halbrook 65-84). This idea was not new. The Founding Fathers’ thoughts on the right to keep and bear arms were influenced by Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, and Algernon Sidney (Halbrook 7). The militia referred to cannot be construed as meaning the Army or National Guard, in the words of Sanmuel Adams: “The Militia is composed of free citizens” (qtd. In Halbrook 62). Additionally, George Mason considered a “well regulated Militia” to be one “ composed of … Gentlemen, Freeholders, and other Freemen” (qtd. In Halbrook 61). The Revolutionary War was won with the help of “ armed populace composed of partisans, militias, independent companies, and the continental army…..”( Halbrook 63). It is obvious from this that the Founding Fathers...

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Category:   Gun Control

Length:   10 pages (2,147 words)

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