The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. But it also allows for good and effective gun control. The Supreme Court has held that some arms are protected by the Second Amendment, such as handguns. But other arms, such as machine guns and grenade launchers, can be banned. And we can certainly restrict access to firearms by felons and the mentally ill. Of course, gun control can go too far and, if it does, it can undermine the Second Amendment. What should be the standard we use to determine which arms are protected and which are not?
The Supreme Court has clearly stated that the Second Amendment doesn’t create an unlimited right. In District of Columbia v. Heller, a case in which the court struck down Washington D.C.’s prohibition on handguns, the Supreme Court specifically stated that the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The court went on to acknowledge, “M-16 Rifles and the like – May be banned.” The lower courts have followed this lead, upholding the vast majority of weapon restrictions. The real question is what weapons can the government regulate and how do courts draw the line?
In its landmark decision 2008 in U.S. v. Heller, the Supreme Court said: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." It went on to say that dangerous and unusal weapons could be prohibited. In fact, so far the Supreme Court has only decided that the 2A gives individuals a right to keep a handgun in their homes. See pages 54-56 of the Court's opinion, available here: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-290.pdf
While Heller is indisputably the law of the land, let me add that I, and many others, believe the Court was wrong in deciding that the 2A gives individuals a right to possess firearms outside of the militia.
Founding fathers did not anticipate the plethora of weapons that are available today. I believe in the second amendment rights as do most people I talk to. I understand collectors and people with interest in military weaponry. Fine collect the weapons, but why not have hoops you must jump thru. Aften hear the argument that if we were to regulate guns, in extreme opinions..believe your rights will be completely taken away. I agree...treat automatic weapons as we do cars. They can kill as well some say, if in the wrong hands...I say I agree, I had to take a written test and a driving test. I must renew my license and carry insurance. Why not treat automatic weapons the same way?
The esteemed framers of our constitution had just broken free from the monarchy that sought to control firearms in face of the coming revolution. There was no standing military so arms bearing citizens were called to serve. Possession of firearms was critical to survival before the existence of wide-spread local law enforcement. Naturally the fragile new democracy needed to keep its citizens armed to ensure it's freedom (ie War of 1812)
Times have indeed changed. The need for an heavily armed citizenry has passed. The concentration of hand guns creates challenges for our police force which assumes that EVERYONE has a gun. GUN SAFETY should be the primary concern for every gun owner