Meaning of Gun Control
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Gun Control means the laws and guidelines that deal with sale and use of guns by the person who are allowed to own them. The debate concerning gun control has been raised since the 1960s, when the right to keep guns blooms as a National Political issue. The contention of this debate is the 2nd Amendment of the U.S Constitution which provides, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the Security of Free state, the right of people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.
The language of this provision is the Bone of contention. On the basis of this provision, some believe that it is the right of people to keep and bear arms under “Individual Right Theory” while, some believe that only “well-regulated Militia” means it State’s right to keep arms for Self-defence under the “Collective Right Theory”.
History regarding Gun Control
In the beginning days of Republic, Black people who were slaves, were obstructed from keeping Guns because they were Native Americans. In accordance with professor Adam Winkler of UCLA Law, in 1792- White Men were required by law to buy a gun and enroll in a citizen of Militia. The Restriction against Black people continued till 1800s, in-route new Civil Rights laws. In 1930s, the First-Generation Modern Gun controls laws came with the prohibition-era gangster in mind. In 2008, U.S Supreme Court decisions which declare 2nd Amendment does not infringe the individual right to possess a firearm for self-defence. Meanwhile, State level laws remain with many expanding and other prohibiting them.
Arguments for and against Gun Control
Argument for Gun Control
(a) Gun control Enactment doesn’t Paralyze the 2nd Amendment –
The provisions of Gun control are not in a way to take back citizen’s Right to keep Gun. These provisions are in the favour of 2nd Amendment which provides “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of Free state, the Right of people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. It also supports U.S Supreme Court 2008 decision which protects individual’s rights to own firearms that are not related to serving in a Militia. The court also emphasized that the arms also used for lawful purpose, like self-defence. But the Supreme Court in the same decision also states in the words of Justice Antonin Scalia’s: The 2nd Amendment “not to a right to keep & carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for any purpose whatsoever”.
(b) Gun control Provisions Prevent selling to the Fallacious hands –
The Aim of the Gun Control Provisions is to restrict its selling to the Fallacious hand. Gun Restriction made the World safe by limiting its selling. According to SWISS- a researcher, his research is based on Small Arms Survey declares that 393 Militias guns are owed by Americans both legally as well as illegally i.e., over 100 residents in America, there are 120.5 guns. According to Pew Survey that was held in December 2018 that three in every ten Americans own guns i.e., 30% and 11% told that they have relation with the people who own gun. The researcher says that Federal check could stop gun death about 90%. Establishing safety devices on guns decrease accidental death.
Arguments against Gun Control
(a) Unintended effect of ineffective Gun Estoppel –
When the law which is made to protect you, what if, instead of protecting they becomes self-harming. Let’s take the example of Chicago where gun stops were banned till 2012 as well as bans on rifles, the gun control enactment are not properly effective. Due to Gun Restriction at that place, it gives rise to gun violence. Chicago is one of the examples among many cities where gun restriction laws prevailed and obligated citizens are paying price for it by loosing their life with ineffective gun estoppel.
(b) Good for Self-defence –
Law enforcement agencies are continuously doing great job of protecting civilians. But it is not easy for them to present at the right time or at the right place. So, firearms provide their owner with an enhanced sense of safety. According to the study of 1982-83, almost 2000 imprisoned culprits in 10 states surveyed for a question that whether gun control prevented crime? About 57% of culprits told that they feared from armed citizens more than Police.
(a) Minimum Age for buying guns?
According to the Gun Control Act of 1968, every Citizen and Legal Residents must not be less than 18 years of age to buy shotgun or Rifles and ammunition. The rest of Firearms like handguns can only be sold to the people who are 21 years and above.
(b) Who’s prohibited from buying or possessing firearms?
People who are convicted of any offence in which sanction includes imprisonment for a term exceeding one year or sentenced for more than two years for any petty crime are prohibited from buying firearms. Fugitive people may endanger the life of citizens due to which they are also excluded from buying gun.
(c) Regulation of Federal and State govt. on Firearms.
The Federal and State govt. regulates the laws relating to firearms like- who will purchase firearms etc. The 2nd Amendment of the U.S Constitution gives the people right to bear and keep arms. The National Firearms Act of 1934 provides guidelines for short guns, Silencers, Machineguns, Firearms Mufflers.
Case Study and Judgements
As I discussed above in the Introduction about the 2nd Amendment “Collective Theory Approach”. Based on this approach in 1939, the Supreme Court of U.S in United State vs. Milller, 307 U.S 174 applied the approach in this case. It was held that the Court adopted the Collective Theory approach and also the framers of the Constitution ensures the effectiveness of the military.
This decision of the case stands for 70 years till the U.S Supreme Court reinvested the issue of District of Columbia vs. Heller (07-290). Fact of this case was Washington D.C banned Handguns through Statue and this exist for 32 years. The plaintiff from Heller challenged the Constitutionality of this statue. Many people think that the statue is rigid in the Nation. Bench of 9 Judges took the matter before it. The Judgement of 5:4 Judge meticulously explain the history and condition of 2nd Amendment of the U.S Constitution. It was held that, it is the individual right in U.S to possess Firearms and the provisions of the statue of Washington D.C violate the 2nd Amendment.
Also, in a case of Caetano vs. Massachusetts (2016), the Supreme Court reinforced its Heller decision.
According to Gallup Polling, 60% of people desire strict laws on Gun, 5% desires less strict laws, while 33% say laws should remain as it is. So, at last, I conclude my topic as Gun Control Enactment provides people safety and self-defence is why they want to possess guns. However, Gun Owners have constitutional Rights to keep and bear Guns, and no sanction by law are given for it.
This article is authored by Shalini Kumari, student of BBA. LL.B.
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