2nd Amendment still poses issues

By Adrian Keeney
January 22, 2018

A Glock handgun. Picture taken from Pixabay.
A Glock handgun. Picture taken from Pixabay.
A handgun can do a lot of harm. Photo from Pixabay.

With recent shootings reported in the media and the increase in individuals questioning how culprits are able to get their hands on firearms, the Second Amendment still poses issues in the United States. The debate on guns and gun regulation continues to be hotly debated.

As the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America states: “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.”

This phrase has had much variability of interpretation.

“I absolutely think that the right to bear arms is important,” sophomore business major Michael Kaczenski said, with an American flag sprawled across his dorm-room wall.

Kaczenski is a native of Garnet Valley, Pa. He believes people who want to purchase a gun should be able to.

“The Constitution protects our ability to own guns, so I believe that if someone feels the need to possess a firearm, they should be able to do so,” Kaczenski said.

To some, owning a gun provides the comfort they need to feel safe.

“My dad has a gun that he keeps in the house, locked away safely,” Kaczenski said. “It provides our family peace of mind knowing that we have that extra layer of protection in case of emergency, whatever it may be. We’re responsible gun owners.”

While family’s like Kaczenski’s underwent a background check when purchasing their gun, as required through a Federal Firearms Licensee, many individuals are able to bypass this step by buying a gun online, through a gun show or through some private sales.

Freshman student Samairr Devlin shares a similar point of view as Kaczenski, but lives in a very different situation. Devlin resides in North Philadelphia, one of the most violent sectors of a city that has a crime rate more dangerous than the average crime rate in the United States. It is very different than the suburban area in which Kaczenski lives.

“Where I’m from, we call it ‘The Trenches,'” Devlin said of North Philadelphia. “Get it? Because it’s like a war zone.”

“There is a gun in my house at all times,” Devlin said. “We need it because you never know what’s going to happen next around there. Hearing gunshots in and around the neighborhood is not uncommon.”

Despite the apparent necessity of possessing a gun for the purpose of protection, many people still question the validity of anti-regulatory positions toward guns.

Image result for mandalay bay hotel
The Mandalay Bay hotel was the location of the Las Vegas shooting. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

“I would say that I’m a supporter of common-sense gun regulation,” sophomore political science major Alex Garces said. “I don’t think people should be able to walk into a gun show and buy a firearm with no background check whatsoever, especially a military grade weapons. Background checks on gun purchases could be a useful way of deterring gun violence.”

Others had a more critical stance on the Second Amendment.

“I know that the Constitution protects the right to bear arms and I respect that as the law of the land right now,” junior English major Joseph Kramer said. “However, the second amendment was also written at the same convention that decided African Americans were worth three-fifths of a human. That kind of outdated train of thought is what makes me think that maybe we should consider revisiting the second amendment.”

Correction: Loquitur has added to the story since publication to include how individuals are able to purchase guns without background checks.

Adrian Keeney

12 thoughts on “2nd Amendment still poses issues”

  1. I have to ask why do people think you can buy a gun without a background check except for private transfers in only some states All firearms sales require a form 4473 And a federal background check before a sale can be completed!
    It is a FELONY for a prohibited person to attempt to purchase a firearm!
    Please do your research.

  2. “With recent shootings reported in the media, the Second Amendment still poses issues in the United States.”

    Since the Second Amendment does not protect misuse of firearms, this assertion is non sequitur.

  3. The 2nd Amend is a RESTRICTIVE admendment. It states such in the Preamble to Bill of Rights. the 2A does not grant nor convey any right, but RESTRICTS and PROHIBITS the government from infringing upon this enumerated, pre-existing, God given right.
    The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

  4. All firearms purchased over the internet are shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer near you who does a background check before the firearm is turned over to you. All dealers at gun shows perform background checks on firearms sold just like they do in stores. The only way you could buy one would be from a private citizen selling private property, whether in the parking lot of a gun show or at the local walmart parking lot. “Military Grade” weapons is a meaningless term.

  5. Re: ” This phrase has had much variability of interpretation”

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights – specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the Continental Army. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. History has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising.

  6. Re: “I’m a supporter of common-sense gun regulation”

    In 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar arguments were made for “common-sense gun regulation” when more restrictive gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of quietly accepting a new barrage. The problem is the real agenda of the people who are leading the charge for more gun control is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. The reality is implementing expanded background checks or banning semi-automatic rifles (like the AR) or standard capacity magazines has nothing to do with keeping the people safe – it’s about using a horrific crimes like Sandy Hook to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government would have the option to do what ever they please.

  7. Re: ” background check…many individuals are able to bypass this step”

    Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller or an FFL local to the buyer. So anyone wanting to improve the process should encourage the federal government to give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. The NICS database is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the national $ex offender registry or the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system where the latter provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain documented proof that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the BATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the manufacturer and ultimately the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s name and address from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the piece of paper from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

    The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (client, neighbor, employee, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was erroneous information or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and by the way according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they will probably be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious acquaintance with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.

    Other specific public safety issues where it would be useful are:

     >Allow potential victims to vet known stalkers or acquaintances under a restraining order
     >Allow gun clubs to vet potential members
     >Allow shooting ranges to vet suspicious customers
     >Allow proprietors of “build your own firearm” gun shops to vet customers
     >Help prevent straw purchases by allowing FFL’s to vet all individuals involved with the purchase of a firearm as a gift
     >Allow mental health workers to vet troubled individuals like the Aurora Colorado theater killer
     >Allow resource officers and school officials to vet suspicious students like the Arapahoe High School killer in Colorado
     >Allow the family of the mentally troubled Lafayette, LA killer to verify he couldn’t purchase a firearm
     >Allow police officers to vet anyone they contact – (note the routine background checks performed by police often do not include information about firearms eligibility because they don’t directly access the NICS database

  8. Re: ” Background checks on gun purchases could be a useful way of deterring gun violence.”

    Maybe – if the federal government would enforce the law. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were prosecuted.

  9. Re: ” With recent shootings reported in the media”

    According to the CDC in 2014 there were about 10945 people murdered by firearms in the US which works out to about 29 people per day. These are the “word doctored” figures the news “media” and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 320 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 29,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 29,000 people. To me, 1 in 29,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. It is also estimated there are 109 million gun owners in the US which means on any given day 108,999,971 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yet because the news media magnifies these relatively isolated and infrequent events to the level of an epidemic, the anti-gun folks answer is to take the guns away from people who harmed no one. The number of homicides with a firearm will never be zero. So given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?

  10. Re: ” military grade weapons”

    You can’t blame today’s problems on so-called “military grade weapons ” The first semi-automatic handgun was invented in the late 1800’s and the most popular version went into production in 1911. It is also noted the so-called evil “assault rifles” with standard capacity 30 round magazines are not new technology. A harbinger was invented in 1890 and the current versions evolved and were mass produced in the late 1940’s and have always been available to the public (note the “47” in AK-47 stands for 1947, the year the firearm went into production). As a matter of fact fully automatic versions (i.e. machine guns), which are true military grade rifles, were readily available to the general public until 1986 and background checks on firearm transfers weren’t required until 1994 – yet nobody talks about mass shootings with any version (semi-automatic or automatic) of these guns during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s so it’s a relatively new phenomenon and logic would indicate it’s being caused by something else.

    Note also that the worst mass killing in a US school occurred on May 18, 1927 in the Bath schoolhouse in Michigan where the killer used dynamite. And rather than immediately rush in an emotional tizzy to pass new laws to restrict the sale of dynamite, cooler heads prevailed and it took 43 years until October 15, 1970 when the law was changed. Up until that date anyone over 21 could walk into a hardware store or farm coop and buy dynamite and blasting caps

  11. Even in those states that still permit private sales without a background check state law requires the seller to determine that the buyer can legally own a firearm. That means no sales to anyone not a resident of the same state, no sales to minors, and none to a known felon. Strangely enough, criminals engaged in black market gun trafficing somehow fail to follow such laws.
    As for the militia clause in the Second Amendment, it has long been my belief that it was included for the sole purpose of providing authority to the Federal government to require citizens to own and maintain private weapons suitable should conditions require them to be called up as unorganized militia. In that regard the militia clause is unique within the Bill of Rights in that it grants a right to the government rather than restricting its actions.

  12. It doesn’t matter if private citizens are allowed to access the NICS system to do background checks or not because the simple fact is there is no way to regulate private transfers without compiling a national registry of firearms and who owns them. If the government diesn’t know who owns what guns then they certainly cant regulate how, when, or to whom they sell them, too. Such a registry would require gun owners to present their guns periodically to ensure that they still possessed all the guns registered to them to know if they sold one without an official transfer which would require a background check. Gun owners will never submit their guns for registration because such a registry could be used to circumvent their 4th Amendment rights if the government ever passed a law banning any of the weapons they own that called for confiscation of those guns that are already privately owned. Many gun owners, myself included, believe in and cherish our 2A rights and believe that we have a duty to use our guns to ensure our freedom from a tyrannical government that would violate our rights by attempting to take our guns away from us. If you want to see a civil war in this country then keep pushing for laws that infringe on the Second Amendment because many Americans will gladly give you war before we give you our guns.

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