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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.