By TRAVIS CLARK
Why the Debate?
Recent events have called to question the validity and interpretation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the right for Americans to own and use guns.
Most notably, the mass shootings that have plagued America in recent years in Texas (Luby’s Massacre), Virginia (Virginia Tech), and most recently the massacre in Aurora, Colo. on July 20. Many activists for gun control believe that if stricter regulations had been in place, the events in Aurora probably would not have occurred.
“I am in no way against completely abolishing the American right to own a firearm,” said Kelly Logsdon, activist for stricter gun regulations. “But it is absolutely ridiculous that Holmes [the shooter] was able to purchase rifles and handguns that easily.”
The Supreme Court’s Decision
In recent years, government officials have felt pressure from gun control activists to provide stricter regulations on who can purchase and possess a firearm – especially a
high-powered gun. The Brady Center, America’s forefront gun control advocate, argue the Second Amendment does not guarantee individuals the right to own guns. However, in 2010 the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling, siding with the National Rifle Association and expanding Americans’ rights to possess firearms in cities and states.
Gun Control Argument
The Brady Center argues that gun control regulations should be on a federal level, and be getting tighter, not looser.
“The fact that it is easy to get a firearm is leading to a lot more deaths, especially amongst the teenage population,” said Debbie Marshall, Brady Center activist and donor. “Over 5000 teens and children die from gun wounds in the United States, but in Britain they
have much tighter gun regulations, and only 19 teens and children died last year from firearms.”
Despite the fact that many Brady Center activists aim for much tighter gun control regulations, studies and polls have shown in recent years Americans have become more tolerable to gun ownership rights. In a recent national survey by Gallup, 52 percent of
Americans are content with the current gun regulation laws. This is much lower than in 1991 when 79 percent of Americans surveyed wanted more government regulation.
Instead, Americans are fighting for stronger regulations on high-powered firearms that are commonly used in recent massacres and in the military.
“There is no reason someone needs to own a machine gun,” said Ashley Frew, gun control activist. “Machine guns and rifles are weapons of warfare, and should not be allowed to be owned by citizens.”
However, the NRA disagrees, believing the Second Amendment extends to include weapons of that magnitude.
“The Second Amendment guarantees me the right to own whatever gun I want to own,” said Justin Clark, member of the NRA. “There should definitely be strict regulations on who can own a rifle, but it is my American right to own one if I choose.”
The debate continues with lawmakers receiving pressure from both sides. Regardless, it will likely be a topic the candidates discuss in the upcoming elections