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Right to Bear Arms: Gun Control in the United States

Updated on October 9, 2013

The Gun Control Debate in the United States and the Second Amendment

Recently the United States has seen a series high profile shootings. The gun control debate and the right to bear arms is always a divisive topic in the United States. The statistics on gun violence in the United States are staggering, especially when compared with any other developed country. However, the right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The Second Amendment reads that: 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.

Is the Second Amendment outdated because it only anticipated simple weaponry and low population densities? Or is the right to bear arms still a valuable protection of the citizenry against an overbearing federal government? What would the founding fathers thing about modern weapons such as assault rifles? Is the intent of the founding fathers even relevant in the discussion of gun control if the constitution is a living document intended to adapt to modern times?

The Gun Control Debate

Gun violence in the United States

The issue of gun control is an interesting debate. Everyone has different opinions about how to tackle gun violence in the United States. Some people believe that gun violence is due to there being too few guns, and other people believe it is because there are too many guns.

This page is meant to explore some of these controversial issues, and encourage discussion about different potential solutions to the issue of gun violence in the United States.

Gun Violence - Preventing Gun Violence in the United States

What is the best way to prevent gun violence incidents in the United States?

Shooting in Aurora, Colorado

July 20, 2012

On July 20, 2012 a gunman opened fire on a crowded movie theater, during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on opening night. The theater was packed, and the gunman premeditated the attack to coincide with gunfire in the movie.

The gunman is believed to have purchased a ticket and entered the theater with the rest of the patrons. He then propped an emergency exit door open, retrieved his weaponry from his vehicle in the parking lot, and re-entered the theater with his arsenal and full body armor. Due to his outfit, and the timing in the movie, many of the moviegoers thought it was an advertising stunt or a prank.

During the course of the shooting, 12 people were killed, and 58 others were injured.

The suspected gunman does not appear to have any previous criminal record, and is often described as being shy. There was no apparent reason why any gun shop would have thought to deny him purchasing guns or ammunition. He was a quiet graduate student in a Phd program.

During the attack, he wore full body armor and a gas mask, which he apparently purchased legally. His clothing included hair that was dyed orange like a character in the movie, and bullet resistant leggings, a throat guard, tactical gloves, a groin guard, a special vest, and a ballistic helmet.

In conducting his attack, he had with him a very large supply of weapons. These included a gas canister, which made it difficult for people in the theater to breathe and see what was going on during the attack. Additionally he had with him a 12 gauge tactical shotgun, semi-automatic rifle with a 100 round drum magazine, and a Glock 22. Extensive amounts of ammunition were later found at the scene.

The shooter also booby-trapped his apartment, in an attempt to make it lethal to emergency responders who may enter it. Prior to anything happening, he informed the police about the situation, and officials were able to arrange having it safely taken care of.

The weapons, protective gear, and ammunition is all believed to have been purchased legally.

Gun Control Talk

If you can't protect yourself with talk, you won't be alive to protect yourself with guns.

-Arthur Boyd, Prominent Artist

Purchasing ammunition online

Should Americans be allowed to purchase ammunition online?

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Gun Control Talk

I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense.

-Cass Sunstein, Constitutional Law Scholar and Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for Obama

The Second Amendment - What is your take on the Second Amendment?

The Second Amendment of the Constitution:

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.

Do you think that the right to bear arms refers to.....

Shooting at Columbine High School, Colorado

April 20, 1999

On April 20, 1999 two gunmen executed an attack on Columbine High School. They accumulated numerous weapons and built bombs in their parent's homes prior to the attack, with instructions that they found on the internet.

The gunmen were two students at the school, named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and both had some criminal history. They were known as the trench coat mafia, because they liked to wear that style of coat to school, and used them to conceal their weapons during the attack.

The shooters set up homemade bombs in the school, which the intended to go off and funnel people away from the explosion into the line of fire. However, the bombs did not detonate correctly.

The shooters began walking through the school shooting their guns. They were also throwing pipe-bombs, but those did not go off.

The gunmen eventually went to the library, where many students were hiding and taking cover. They began shooting at people who were taking cover in the library, apparently targeting popular athletes.

After the shootings in the library, the attack culminated with the synchronized suicide of the gunmen who both shot themselves.

In total 12 students and teachers were murdered, in addition to the two gunmen who committed suicide. An additional 24 students were injured in the shooting.

Gun Control Talk

If you are a gun manufacturer, the product you make is not subject to safety regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Toy guns are subject to safety regulation; water pistols are, but not real guns.

-Michael D. Barnes, former member of Congress

Gun Shows

Should regulations at gun shows be stronger?

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How Important is Preventing Gun Violence? - Preventing gun violence in the United States

Which is more important?

Gun Talk

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.

Joseph Stalin, Former Premier of the USSR

Guns and Youth - Minimum age of gun usage

What is the minimum age someone should be allowed to use a gun (including hunting)?

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Gun Talk

Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.

-Heinrich Himmler, Nazi Party Military Commander

Conceal Carry Licenses - Regulation of concealed carry licenses

Should people be allowed to carry a concealed weapon without having a license?

Gun Talk

I've got guns now. It's kind of gross.

-Emily Blunt, Actress

Gun Ownership

What do you think of gun owners?

Gun Talk

I wish that there were more stringent laws to make guns sold anywhere that they're legal harder to get.

-Rosie O'Donnell, Television Personality

Using guns for protection

Individuals should be allowed to use guns to protect....

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Gun Talk

Gun control means being able to hit your target. If I have a 'hot button' issue, this is definitely it. Don't even think about taking my guns. My rights are not negotiable, and I am totally unwilling to compromise when it comes to the Second Amendment.

-Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee in 2004

School Zones

Do you support prohibiting guns in school zones?

Gun Talk

Guns are evil! And very little good comes from the availability of a bullet designed to kill human beings!

-Mackenzie Astin, Actor

Regulation of guns

How much regulation is the right amount?

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Gun Talk

A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.

-Mario Puzo, Author of The Godfather

Guns in Churches - Preventing carrying guns in churches

Should people be prevented from carrying guns in churches?

Feeling of Security

In which situation would you feel safer?

Gun Talk

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

-William S. Burroughs, Author

Shotguns

Gun ownership should be limited to just shotguns

Gun Talk

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

-Hunter S. Thompson, Author

Use of other weapons

Will stricter gun control lead to criminals just using other weapons?

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Storing guns in the home

What if all law abiding citizens were allowed to own guns as long as they are stored in a licensed gun storage facility?

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