Gun Control and the Second Amendment

Today, the debate over the introduction of the strict regulation and gun control is still relevant. The idea of gun control revives after a crime involving the use of firearms and causing numerous casualties occurs. As the public calms down after the crime, so does the gun control debate. However, the gun control debate never stops because proponents of gun control hold the premise that the introduction of the strict gun control is essential to prevent the repletion of crimes involving firearms as well as case of accidents involving firearms, when gun owners or their family members injured themselves accidentally or even shot themselves dead, while handling or, to put it more precisely, mishandling the gun. However, all the gun control arguments are inconsistent because the right of American citizens to bear and own firearms is granted by the US Constitution, namely by the Second Amendment. Therefore, gun control violates the Second Amendment.

The History, Writing, and Definition of the Second Amendment

The writing of the Second Amendment gave American citizens the right to “keep and bear arms”.  This means that any citizen can own and carry a gun, even those citizens that are not affiliated with the armed forces (Irons, 1999). During the elaboration of the text of the Second Amendment, multiple variants were offered with eventually the original text being selected that comprises currently the integral part of the US Constitution.

The Second Amendment reads clearly: “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” (US Constitution, 2012).

In such a way, the Second Amendment grants the right to bear and own arm to the US citizens. This right cannot be challenged, unless the US Constitution should be changed.

At the same time, many proponents of gun control just misinterpret the Second Amendment.  To put it more precisely, they argue that the right to keep and bear arm is not the individual right but the right granted to the collective powers, such as law enforcement agencies. However, such a view on the Second Amendment is the obvious misinterpretation, intentional or not, because founding fathers clearly admitted the right of the US citizens to bear and keep arm as the private matter but not as a collective or non-individual right. In other words, the founding fathers viewed the right of the US citizens to keep and bear arm as the individual right that is challenged now by proponents of the gun control legislation.

The provision of the US citizens with the right to bear and keep arm was determined by the objective necessity to secure Americans from numerous threats they were exposed to, especially in the west. First, law enforcement agencies were under-developed in the time, when the Second Amendment was introduced. As a result, the right to keep and bear arm secured Americans from offenses and the violation of their rights by criminals. In addition, there was the persisting threat of clashes with Native Americans since cases of military conflicts with them were quite frequent in the time. In addition, the firearm was an effective means of self-defense which was vitally important in the time when the Second Amendment was implemented. This is why proponents of gun control argue that this provision is irrelevant today since the US have the well-developed law enforcement agencies which are supposed to protect Americans from the violation of their human rights and liberties or from the threat to their property.

However, such argument is inconsistent too because the high crime rates prove that law enforcement agencies cannot fully protect the US citizens, while firearms is still the most reliable means of self-defense. In addition, the right of the US citizens to keep and bear arm is one of the basic Constitutional rights which guarantees Americans security without relying on the government or third power. In such a way, the Constitutional right of the US citizens to keep and bear arm is their major legal opportunity to defend themselves so far.

History of the Gun Control Movement

Those that support gun control stress the importance of safety for the community and the decrease of gun-related crimes. In fact, proponents of gun control believe that the introduction of the gun control will decrease the rate of gun-related crimes (Dizard, et al., 1999). They stand on the ground that the ban of sale and possession of firearms will decrease the access of citizens to guns and, thus, reduce the amount of crimes involving the use of the weapon.

However, this argument is also inconsistent because crimes are committed by criminals and not the average citizens, who have the right to keep and bear arm. In fact, the gun control will have no effect on criminals because legally or illegally they will take the gun, if they need (Hepburn & Hemenway, 2004). In such a situation, the average citizens, whom proponents of gun control attempt to protect, will be absolutely defenseless in face of armed criminals. Obviously, citizens have better chances to survive and escape offense, if they bear arm, then when they confront an armed criminal with no weapon at hand. The police have already proved its inability to protect Americans from violent crimes which still occur and their rate keeps growing. Therefore, the Constitutional right of the US citizens to keep and bear arm is an efficient tool that provides them with the efficient means of self-defense to prevent attacks of offenders.

Clashing Opinions

Those, who support gun control (Miller, et al., 2007), insist that there is no need for individuals to carry firearms in a society where the community is relatively safe because of police and military power.  However, such public security is superficial and uncertain. At any rate, proponents of gun control should take into consideration that absolutely not all communities in the US are safe (Miller, et al., 2007). Instead, there are poverty stricken communities, where the level of crimes, including gun-related crimes, is high. This is why the introduction of the gun control may potentially enhance the security of the middle- and upper-class neighborhoods minimizing the risk of accidents involving firearms, but this measure will not enhance security in poverty stricken communities with the high crime rates. On the contrary, this measure will likely to decrease the security in those areas even more.

Opponents of gun control tout the right of individuals to carry firearms as guaranteed by the Constitution and, more important, this right is crucial for the public safety (Miller, et al., 2002). In addition, proponents of gun control should also take into consideration the fact that some people cannot defend themselves adequately, when they confront a physically strong offender. For instance, women cannot always defend themselves in case of the attack of a physically strong offender (Kellermann, et al., 1992). In such a situation, the firearm becomes not just a means of self-defense but also a powerful tool of the prevention of crimes against women because, if offenders are uncertain whether their female target bears arm or not, they are unlikely to take a risk and to attack her. On the contrary, if they are certain that the victim is not armed, they can attack her without any hesitations because they know that the superiority in physical strength will provide them with the advantage in the struggle and allow reaching their criminal goals.

Furthermore, proponents of the gun control insist that the gun control will decrease gun-related crime rates caused by minors, who often tend to use the gun available from their parents to commit crimes (Brown & Merritt, 2002). At this point, it is important to understand that such crimes are committed because of the negligence of parents, who should secure the weapon preventing the access of minors to the weapon. In such a situation, the gun control can solve the problem only partially because the gun control will limit the access of minors to the weapon but the gun control will not solve their psychological and social problems, which actually cause their deviant behavior. Hence, they will commit their crimes but use other weapon or just their physical force to commit their crimes.

Society and Public Opinion of Gun Control and Second Amendment

In general, the majority of the population supports the Second Amendment, and disagrees with the extent of the gun control laws. This is why the enhancement of the gun control is questionable in regard to the public opinion response to this measure. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that many people support sanctions that would limit the ability of criminals to gain access to firearms, but without restricting law abiding citizens attempt to own and carry firearms. In such a way, the public is not ready to the ban of the right to keep and bear arm. Instead, the public can accept only minor restrictions in the access to the gun, for instance, preventing criminals or minors from the access to firearms. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the existing legislation has already limited the access of the US population to the assault weapon as a part of the gun control program. Therefore, such limitations are acceptable for the public but the ban of the right of citizens to keep and bear arm is likely to confront the severe opposition of the public.


Thus, today, the gun control is one of the most debatable issues since proponents of the gun control insist on the ban of the right to keep and bear arm. However, their arguments are inconsistent because they contradict to fundamental norms granted to Americans by the US Constitution, namely by the Second Amendment. In addition, the public opinion is against the gun control.



Brown, B. and R. Merritt. (2002). No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 3-4.

Constitution of the United States of America. Retrieved on December 9, 2013 from

Dizard, J.E. et al. (1999). Guns in America: A Reader. New York University Press.

Hepburn, L. and Hemenway, D. (2004). “Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature,” Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 9:417-40

Irons, P. (1999). A People’s History of the Supreme Court New York: Penguin.

Kellermann, A.L., et al. (1992). “Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership.” NEJM 327(7), 467-472.

Miller, M. et al. (2002). “Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997.,” American Journal of Public Health, 92, 1988-1993

Miller, M., et al. (2007). State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003,” Social Science and Medicine, 64, 656-64

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