Informative Essay: Gun Control and the Second Amendment

Informative Essay: Gun Control and the Second Amendment

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"If the second amendment does not mean what it says, what about the

first?", this was the question asked by author, and National Rifle Association

member, Bill Clede.  In his article "Gun Control, Press Control", he warns

journalists about the hidden dangers associated with gun control.


               When dealing with the interpretation of the Constitution, there are two

views one can take.  The Constitution can be viewed as a "living document" or in

its "original " understanding.  The original understanding, people are guided by

what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind when they drafted it.  The

Constitution can also be viewed as a living document, in which the

interpretation should be surveyed in light of today's social and politics

environments.  Bill Clede ideas in his article seem to be guild by the idea of

the Constitution being a living document.


               At the time the Second Amendment was written, it had a major impact on

this country because State and National governments were unable, or lacked the

power to protect the people.  This Amendment gave the power to the people to

bear arms for protection.  As Clede points out in his article, it was not the

intent or purpose of this Amendment to bestow unlimited rights upon the people.

The question to ask today is, are the people responsible enough to have the

unlimited rights that they seem to have under this Amendment.  Clede states,

"that does not mean that the government can constitutionally prohibit all

weapons, but it probably means that the government can reasonably regulate and

limit their use."  I agree with Clede's point.  The language of the

Constitution is very vague.  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."  Never did the

Constitution define or give examples of what a well regulated militia is or

types of weapons deemed reasonable for protection.  It then should be left to

Congress, or more importantly the Supreme Court to interrupt this vague language.

I think the government could reasonable regulate guns, without compromising the

second amendment, but like Clede I believe Congress should concentrate more on

who is using the guns and not guns themselves.


               Patrick Henry felt that we should preserve our public liberties, and if

need be by force.  As Patrick Henry stated, "The great objective is that every

man be armed."  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams also held the same views as

Patrick Henry, that every man should have the right to bear arms for private

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self-defense.  Our forefathers felt that it was very important for individuals

to bear arms for protection of property, life, or limb, when they created a

document that protected these rights, this seems to be evident because to right

to bear arms is the Second Amendment.  Again, the question must be raised, did

our forefathers foresee a time when this freedom that they embraced would cause

such wide-spread crime in our country.  The perplexing question to ask is, how

can we maintain our individual rights, and yet get the guns out of the hands of

convicted felons, drug addicts, and people who are mentally impaired from owning

guns as Clede suggests in his article.  He and every other self-respect gun

owner is in favor of a waiting period before the purchasing of any type of gun.

Clede has clearly taken the stand of some type of tighter control on the sale of

guns, without touching the Second Amendment.


               A large problem that has been addressed in Clede's article is that no

matter what changes we make in the law concerning guns, the crime element in

this country will always be able to obtain guns. Perhaps we should take a closer

look at the manufacture of guns and why they are manufactured in such abundance

when the number of guns already exceeds the population of this country.

Although the law forbids the ownership of automatic weapons, they can easily be

obtained for the right price, and always to the criminal element in our society.

These are the problems that should be addressed, not the out right banning of



     I think Bill Clede has done an excellent job in addressing the issues of

gun control in his article.  He makes people realize that the issues involved in

gun control are not so cut and dry, that it is not simply an issue of should we

have a form of gun control.  This point is apparent at the end of his article,

when he finally returns to the question he asked at the beginning of the article,

"if the Second Amendment doesn't mean what it says, what about the first."  If

lobbyist or government officials are able to change the second amendment and

achieve strong forms of gun control, which is an infringement on peoples'

Constitution rights, it could be easily assumed that the next target could be

the First Amendment.  My nations in the world today, including western-style

democracies, control or limit the press in some way.  Luckily measures of press

control have not happened in this country, particularly because of the Bill of

Rights and the First Amendment, but it should be noted censorship is a prime

source of debate in America today.  Clede has clearly pointed out how closely

related the issues of gun control and press control are in his article.
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