The Second amendment of the Constitution is like an unused toy for a kid. We surely want it, but many of us do not use it. Of course, there are many exceptions to this comparison like soldiers, security guards, or even a weapon salesman. We all take this right for granted, but we also have to remember that the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is an important right given to American citizens and has been argued since the late 1800s.
To begin, what does the Second amendment of the Constitution say? 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.” (United States Constitution). Having this in mind, we know this amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. So why has this right been debated for so long? We might think we can trust certain people to have this right, but not everyone.
That is where problems arise. Advocates do not really want to look for ways to infringe this right; they actually want to modify it. To do this, different disputes have been taken to the Supreme Court, and have marked a change in the history of the Second amendment. Regarding the Supreme Court and the questioning of this amendment’s validity, the landmark case US v. Cruikshank is a perfect example. The background of this case relies on the Colfax Massacre; a chaotic shooting that took place in Colfax, Louisiana on April 13, 1873.
Logically, the United States had to intervene in some way. This intervention resulted in an accusation to Bill Cruikshank, who still favored the right to possess weapons after such a terrible incident. To summarize this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the responsibility of allowing this right is passed to the state governments instead of the national government. This gave each state the power to regulate the purchase of weapons. Also, the fourteenth amendment was put into action by stating,” “The fourteenth amendment prohibits a State from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; but this adds nothing to the rights of one citizen as against another.” (United States Constitution). In other words, the right to bear arms was not infringed, but its regulation became strict in most states to avoid the possession of weapons in the hands of the wrong people. Although the ruling in the U.S. v. Cruikshank case helped to
regulate the purchase of weapons in each state, disputes have not stopped. There are ongoing cases that still have to do with the Second amendment. The first case is: National Rifle Association (NRA) v. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). In this case, the NRA wanted to change the age to purchase weapons to 21, because the age of 18 was probably too young to posses such a deadly weapon. The Supreme Court did not really rule in favor of any side, but did make the qualifications for 18 to 20 year-olds stricter. Furthermore, this leads to the McDonald v. Chicago case, in which handguns are involved. The background of this case consists on the plaintiff (McDonald) who wants to prohibit the possession “any firearm unless such person is the holder of a valid registration certificate for such firearm.” The case led to different opinions from all judges, causing the ruling to be unknown at the moment. This case is still issued today.
To tie everything back together, we can definitely notice the Second amendment has been causing disputes over time. This issue ranges from the late 1800s to today. We can still think of the right to bear arms as a kid’s unused toy. We practically never use it, but when everybody is talking about guns and its validity, we all start to do something about it.