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Federalism and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution

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Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has evaded dealing with the issue of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms in the U.S. Constitution. The last time that they did was back in 2008 and 2010 which saw victories for those in favor of carrying fire arms. The facts are, there are different sides to this argument, whether that the 2nd Amendment covers all weapons, or certain ones, and if we are sticking to the constitution and federalism. The scriptures say: “He said to them: ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one’”. The reality is everyone has the right to defend themselves if need be and the Supreme Court seems to think so too. However, to what degree is the problem, some say that the laws are good enough, and others think that we should be able to carry whatever weapon we want.

According to Kate Broome (2018), Federalism is the relationship between the federal government and the state government. The article also points out that the constitution is what gave us federalism even though the word is never mentioned. When the Second Amendment was ratified in December 1791, it was done so regarding to help the citizens to protect themselves against others and against a tyrannical government. It was to provide state with militias that could provide security and ward off invaders. At that time there were not all these weapons that we have now, like AR-15s, semi-automatic machineguns, or even fully automatic. You could not just browse the internet and shop for all the so-called bells and whistles for these kinds of weapons, for they simply did not exist, neither did the internet for that matter.

The Second Amendment was created by James Madison. The Second Amendment goes as follows, A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state and the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed on. The problems that people are arguing over is where it describes a state militia, which today would be our national guard, and where it states the right of the people to keep and bear arms, along the way the interpretation has become loss. According to Darrell Miller (2016) “The Second Amendment institution facilitates or constrains Second Amendment activity and at is a core feature self-defense’. He goes on to list those that which would be considered First Amendment institutions and those that could be considered Second Amendment such as, a church, a mosque, or a home.

One of the arguments for carrying guns now is because of the state of our country and the crime. According to Cornell, Saul, and Emma Cornell (2018) “Firearms violence in the United States has reached epidemic proportions, with more than 30 000 Americans dying because of gun violence each year’. There can be many factors associated with that, and not just the gun. To say that a gun made someone kill someone is impossible, at the end of the day everyone has choices and whether good or bad, they all have consequences to them. Killing is not something new, it has been happening since the beginning, you can go all the way back to genesis in the Bible. “Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain revolted against his brother Abel and killed him”. Guns are easy to purchase and can be found not just in stores but on the streets as well which is another reason those arguing for the right to carry. The right to protect themselves out in public and to protect their families as well. ‘Legislation designed to improve public safety and reduce firearm violence is fully consistent with the American legal tradition’. There has always been laws in place for gun control, the problem up to this point is defining the terms. There have been few U.S. Supreme Court cases that have specifically dealt with the 2nd Amendment, compared to the individual state supreme courts.

Up until 2008 there have only been 3 U.S. Supreme Court cases that dealt with the 2nd Amendment. They where United States v. Cruikshank (1875), Presser v. Illinois (1886) and United States v. Miller (1939). Since 2008 there has been 3 court cases with one the way sometime in 2019.They were District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), and Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016). The Court has agreed to hear oral argument sometime in 2019. The argument in this case is regarding a New York City law that forbids any transfer of unloaded and locked firearms from one’s residence to anywhere other than one of seven shooting ranges within that city. No-one knows what the outcome will be on that but if it is any indication of the previous three court cases it might go in favor of those that are for the right to bear arms and not those that want more gun control to reduce the stem of violence that occurs within in our country. What it going to be interesting is if they are going to see it as they did the previous cases.

The first court case that came about in this century happened in 2008, it was the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). The argument was that Heller, a D. C. police man, who had applied to register a handgun that he wanted to keep at home was refused by the district, so he filed suit on the grounds that it violated the Second Amendment. He believed that not being allowed to have an unlicensed gun in the home kept him from defending himself, the district court had dismissed the case, however the D.C circuit over turned it. The U.S Supreme court upheld the decision with a narrow ruling decided in 2008 on a 5/4 split, which embodies many of the central problems of a historically oriented legal hermeneutics. Based on the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self- defense within the home. He goes on further to say that “The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms’.

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The argument in the McDonald v. City of Chicago case was different regarding the other cases, this case was not only about the second amendment, but the fourteen amendment as well. According to Dan Goodman (2010), the question was this, “Whether the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges, or Immunities, or Due Process Clauses”. In the argument they point out that the right to bear arms is an American citizen privilege and that no state can abridge that. One way to look at it is this, if it only pertains to American citizenship, and not state then the 2nd amendment then would be ruled by federal and not state laws. In the article states that they fought to overturn the slaughter house cases, elated to the Privileges or Immunities Clause. It goes on to say that Slaughterhouse first observed that while individuals held both federal and state citizenship, the Clause at issue protects only privileges and immunities of national citizenship.

According to Christian Corrigan (2012), “The Supreme Court recently held in a 5–4 decision that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is “fully applicable to the States, through the Fourteenth Amendment. A In both cases they went with what was already in the constitution and in the Privileges and Immunities clause that was set forth and did not use other deciding factors to come up with a verdict.

Caetano v. Massachusetts case was on the grounds of a stun gun was protected under the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms. After a Caetano threatened her ex-boyfriend with one after he was threating her. The Massachusetts law made it illegal to have stun guns and made it an offense. Therefore, she was convicted and put in jail, the reasoning behind it was the courts of Massachusetts said stun guns were not around at the time and that the military did not even use them. She did appeal, and the conviction was upheld until 2018 when the U.S. Supreme court took it up.

The U.S. Supreme court vacated their decision and overturned it sighting not only the previous cases mentioned, but the fact the second amendment gives someone the right to defend themselves. The fact that she was using a stun gun was irrelevant in their eyes, she was defending herself and the courts considered stun guns less dangerous than an actual gun. They also mentioned that someone could use anything to defend themselves when their lives were being threatened. In all these cases they reviewed what was in the constitution and the articles and they stayed within that realm and did not overreached. However, it makes no sense to say that someone can only defend themselves to a certain degree because of laws that are in place. The fact the courts took their time and reviewed everything is also a good thing because they did not rush to judgement the let the process play out.

When it comes to a Christian Worldview, there is a balanced just like in our country, the Lord does not want us just going around killing people just because we think something might happen to us. There must be a legitimate threat to us or our families. In the scriptures it says: ‘But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. It is our duty to look after are families and ourselves and to make sure they are looked after, not just with financial matters, and food, but when it comes to their safety as well. The reality is, there are people on this earth that do bad things, it is not different then back in the beginning. People back then protected their live stocks, their land, their homes and their loved ones, nothing has changed, just what year it is in the people themselves.

At the end of the day our lives are in God’s hands, and he is our protector, but we are also responsible for doing our part as well. God gave us the ability to defend ourselves and to help those in need. Everyone knows what the bible says about murder, it is in the ten-commandments and it is straight forward, along with the other 9 laws. The reality is with the state of man and those do not believe and care not to, and for those that have no regard for the laws of the land or of life. We will always need the right to bear arms and protect what is ours. This world will never be perfect, it cannot because of the fall of man and sin.

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Federalism and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/federalism-and-the-2nd-amendment-to-the-us-constitution/
“Federalism and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/federalism-and-the-2nd-amendment-to-the-us-constitution/
Federalism and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/federalism-and-the-2nd-amendment-to-the-us-constitution/> [Accessed 31 Jan. 2023].
Federalism and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/federalism-and-the-2nd-amendment-to-the-us-constitution/
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