The constitution of the United States prohibits legislative bodies from restricting ownership of firearms. The constitution’s Second Amendment reads that a person who is well-regulated and belongs to a free state shall not be prohibited by the legislation to own firearms (Buttrick, 2020). Numerous insights arise from these Amendments questioning their intention. An individual right theory has been derived from this Amendment and argues that the law makes gun ownership an individual constitutional right for US citizens. On the other hand, the collective rights theory argues that the framers of the Amendment intended to prohibit legislative bodies from restricting the right to self-defense while using firearms (Steidley & Colen, 2017). The two theories differ in meaning, creating a significant debate that should be addressed to prevent any future misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
Related Public Policies
Although the constitution gives a legal basis for the acquisition and ownership of firearms, some state governments enact tighter policies on the right. The right to carry guns or other weapons in public is not given in some states. However, the federal law drafts and defines persons who are eligible or not eligible to receive or own guns. Buttrick (2020) notes that the Bureau in charge of Firearms, Explosives, Tobacco, and Alcohol regulates the procedure and standards of issuing firearms to vendors. Federal law also regulates the age of individuals who can possess guns. This is documented under the Act controlling guns of 1968 to 18 years (Steidley & Colen, 2017). The state or local governments may set the limit to a higher age. Conversely, federal law prohibits the ownership of firearms by fugitives, dangerous people to the community, and the mentally ill. People who have been found in possession or using an illegal substance such as marijuana within the past year are also prohibited from owning guns.
Nonetheless, there is a loophole in the selling and possession of firearms. There is no clear guideline on how firearms should be sold, possessed, or received. The law does not provide strict guidelines on conducting a background checks on buyers of firearms. This, in turn, provides a potential for illegal possession by prohibited people. In addition, ATF gives the authority to sell firearms to all US citizens (Buttrick, 2020). They can do so in their homes, at a gun exhibition, in an open market, or online. It is also possible to buy a firearm for an absent person as a gift. The recipient is required to follow federal laws on firearms. This loophole may give room for the possession of firearms by illegal persons. For instance, children under the age of 18 may be in possession of guns given to them by their parents as gifts.
Cases of violence frequent news headlines, while political leaders promise to reduce crime rates once they occupy the office. A significant number of these crimes involve the use of firearms. A recent estimate reveals that an average of 1.3 million crimes annually have firearms at their center stage (Buttrick, 2020). Notably, approximately 38,000 deaths every year are gun-related. These numbers can be divided into suicides, homicides, and accidents, which is the smallest percentage. Although guns are utilized occasionally as a weapon for self-defense, the number they use for abuse is four times higher. To address these crime rates, the federal, state, and local governments should set more regulations in the procedure of possession, sale, and purchase of firearms. To ensure that firearms are possessed only by the allowed citizens, strict policies should be enacted around the accusation process. An applicant should be required to reveal their full identity, the goal for firearm accusation, and a background check conducted on their credibility.
Buttrick, N. (2020). Protective gun ownership as a coping mechanism. Perspectives on psychological science, 15(4), 835-855.
Steidley, T., & Colen, C. G. (2017). Framing the gun control debate: Press releases and framing strategies of the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign. Social Science Quarterly, 98(2), 608-627.