For decades, gun control had been a secondary issue in presidential elections. But in the wake of an increasing number of mass, public shootings, 2016 presidential hopefuls are experiencing a dramatic shift, and candidates are being forced to talk more on gun control, which promises to become a far more influential factor in the coming election.
Clinton claims that silence on the issue is “the height of irresponsibility” and with President Obama’s recent executive action, stricter gun control laws have become the centerpiece of his late-term legacy. GOP candidates criticize the president’s executive orders as doing too much to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. Marco Rubio has commented that the 2nd Amendment is “a cornerstone of our democracy,” and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called Obama’s plan “no good” and promised to “unsign” it if elected president. Here are ten of the most frequently discussed arguments on both sides of the issue. Where do you stand?
1) Stricter Gun Control Legislation is an Attack on the 2nd Amendment
Gun Rights Position:
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.” As detailed in the 2nd Amendment, our founding fathers saw the right to bear arms as a fundamental liberty of every law-abiding citizen. The Supreme Court has also affirmed a reading of the 2nd Amendment by which individual citizens have the fundamental right to own and bear arms for the purposes of self-defense against violence or tyranny.
Gun Control Position:
True, but the key words of the 2nd Amendment are ‘a well regulated Militia,’ which give us context for the meaning of the right to bear arms. The potential for a citizens’ militia was an important provision for the protection of constitutional principles when a large federal government and a union of sovereign states were new, untested, and potentially dangerous concepts. Today, the idea of such a militia is unnecessary, infeasible, and antiquated.