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... the right to bear arm, the NRA argues that the Fourteenth Amendment enforces the Second (3). The Fourteenth Amendment states: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (From Amendment XIV section 1. 1868) In this argument the NRA stresses that no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. They feel that this clearly makes it unlawful for the state to pose restrictions on firearms which is a privilege that is given to the citizens of the United States in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment has not yet been applied to the states, either directly or through incorporation of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the United States v.
Cruickshank the United States Supreme Court in 1875 held that the Second Amendment restricts only Congress and the federal government; this was later affirmed by the same court in Presser v Illinois in 1886. Thus, the nature of the Second Amendment does not provide a right that is enforced by the Fourteenth Amendment. The courts view that the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to protect the states against the federal or national government, and not to create a personal right that either the state or federal authorities are bound to respect. Guarantees of individual liberties under federalism have two components: the federal constitution and state constitutions.
Dependence should be first placed in the states Bill of Rights, declaration of rights, because the United States Supreme Court has explicitly acknowledged each states sovereign right to adopt in it own Constitution individual liberties more expansive than those conferred by the Federal Constitution. (7). The written content of most states bills of rights provides greater protection of the right to arms than does the Second Amendment. Currently the constitutions of forty-three states guarantee a right to arms. Of the seven states that do not have a clear constitutional guarantee to arms, three of those have a right to self-defense and one considers the right to life a built-in right. The right to self-defense can only be given force and effect if its guarantee includes the right to own arms for defensive purposes (2). In addition, state courts consider the right to bear arms to be a civil right and consider such a right to protect liberty and property interest.
This has allowed plaintiffs to the use of the Federal Civil Rights Act to sue state officials for violating a state created property or liberty interest to keep and bear arms. The Nra's opposition to the Brady Bill, which is a federal hand gun law that was first proposed in 1985, helped to delay its passage for seven years. Congress finally passed the bill in 1993 and it went into effect in 1994. This law provides a five-day waiting period to allow local law enforcement officials to make sure the purchaser is qualified to own a hang gun. The law also established a $ 200 federal firearm license fee and a $ 90 annual license renewal fee. The NRA also unsuccessfully opposed a 1994 -crime bill because it included a ban on the importation of semiautomatic assault weapons (8).
Currently the constitutionality of the Brady Bill is going to be decided by the Supreme Court this term. The issue being the constitutionality of federal involvement in basically states issues. In 1995 the U. S. Supreme Court declared another gun law, one that banned guns within 1, 000 feet of schools, unconstitutional. The States, not Congress, have the authority to enact such criminal laws the Court held.
The Brady Bill would appear in the same category. The constitutional issue at stake is the question, do we, or do we not, have the right as individuals to possess firearms. The courts have never struck down a gun control law because many people feel that the Amendment guarantees citizens free access to fire arms. The courts have interpreted the Second Amendment as applying only to militia weapons. The federal government and all U. S.
states do have some gun control laws. These laws are based on several strategies: forbidding people who are considered to be unreliable from obtaining any firearms; prohibiting anyone other than the police, the military, and persons with special needs from acquiring high-risk guns; and requiring waiting periods before purchasing a gun or a gun license. The most common strategies are based on preventing unreliable people from obtaining guns, such as people who have committed a felony. Federal and state laws also prohibit minors from purchasing guns. In 1993 the U.
S Congress passed the Brady Bill, which was named after a former White House press secretary James Brady. Brady and his wife because proponents of gun control after Brady was shot and seriously wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan (4). As the debate over slavery gradually changed from being constitutional to unconstitutional so will the debate over gun control. The political culture that once supported slavery changed gradually over time once people saw more and more how unequal it was. It is inevitable that overtime, the political culture on gun control will also change, it will only take a few instances to help in the defining moment on deciding the danger of having a world without restrictions on guns. These moments will be seen throughout our nation in the form of examples of gun-related accidents and kids committing Columbine High School like acts.
Once these things are taken into consideration only then will our right to bear arms be clearly defined. Currently public opinion seems to be in favor of having tighter gun restrictions as was shown with the passing of the Brady Bill. Though with this majority being in favor of gun control these acts of legislation are rather slow in forming, due to the NRA and the vagueness of the Second Amendment. Another hindering factor is that in spite of the public majority being in favor of stricter gun control, the states are moving in a different direction.
The reason behind this action is that the constitutionality of tighter gun control laws is becoming a question. Once the Supreme Court of the United States answers this question on the legality of infringing on the right to bear arms we will know what our exact right is. Bibliography:
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Research essay sample on Gun Control Laws United States Supreme Court