of Gun Control

The Future of Gun Control

In the 2008 court case D.C. vs. Heller, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that the Second Amendment guarantees and individual's right to "bear arms" and that, not only hunting rifles, but handguns are included in the definition of "arms." This marks the first time the courts have so explicitly interpreted the law. While this ruling is exceptional in its clarity, it also, in no way, refutes the previous ruling that people who are mentally incompetent, addicted to drugs or convicted of previous crimes have a similar right to own guns. It does, however, take us down an interesting path in the future of gun control.

In the initial 1939 Gun Control Act, the Supreme Court declared, "We cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms." In public opinion polls, 39% of Americans favor stricter laws of gun control, which is down from 50% in 2007. Additionally, only about 1% of Americans in the last election indicated that the gun control debate was "of great importance" to them. Perhaps this latest ruling will quiet the debate once and for all, now that Supreme Court justices have directly interpreted the meaning of the Constitution to provide an individual right to bear arms, handguns included.

Certainly the Supreme Court is the head honcho in interpreting gun regulations. But to a lesser degree, it is our President who also sets the climate of gun control. We saw gun restrictions during the Clinton era and freer gun policies during Reagan and Bush eras. In a 1996 questionnaire, President Barack Obama responded that he supported a ban on assault weapons, on mandating background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases, and on prohibiting the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. In 2000, he cosponsored a bill (that never came to pass) limiting handgun purchases to one per month. In 2004, Obama was quoted as saying " I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban" and his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope clearly stated, "I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer's lobby."

The United States is unlikely to ever federally mandate Draconian enforcement of gun control -- the reason being that we're too attached to the ideals of our forefathers and too cognizant of history to allow our Second Amendment rights to be limited. In 1911, Turkey took away its citizens' guns, just before 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered. From 1929 to 1953, the Soviet Union rounded up dissidents and murdered them after instituting a policy of strict gun control. Germany restricted guns in 1938 and allowed "loyal" citizens to own guns again as they proceeded to exterminate 13 million Jews. The list goes on and on -- China restricted guns in 1935, Guatemala in 1964, Uganda in 1970 and Cambodia in 1956. In all, an astounding 56 million citizens were senselessly massacred because of regime killing sprees. While it's unlikely the U.S. government will turn on its people, the idea that our nation would go down the path of strict gun control is chilling.

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