The Second Amendment has long since been a point of contention between the people of the United States and the judiciary system. Over the past thirty years, it has become a relevant topic to presidential campaigns, lines drawn between Republicans and Democrats, and state politics. The Second Amendment, written by James Madison, states 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." There are numerous ways that this one sentence has been pulled apart and analyzed, in regards to a citizen's right to own guns. The brief sentence includes both a prefatory and operative clause, which has divided scholars on the actual legalities of the amendment.
Some scholars have taken the stand that the prefatory clause limits the right to keep and bear arms, only for maintaining a militia, while others take the stance that the right to bear arms is individual and free-standing in terms of owning guns. I believe that the Second Amendment of the Constitution was put into place in order to protect the collective right, and ensure the safety of the American people, though these days, it seems as though some of the citizens may be more in need of rescue from themselves, rather than a tyrannical government.
District of Columbia v. Heller
In 2008, the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment afforded the individual the right to bear arms. What was distinctive about this ruling, versus other cases, was that both sides of the court argued over the history behind the amendment itself, in order to reach a conclusion. In most cases, the argument is made over the grammar, or the use of an additional comma, but in D.C. v. Heller, the debate centered on philosophical theory. This was the first time that the Second Amendment was judged in favor of protecting the right of citizens to own firearms, and use them in defense of their homes. However, this response fails, because it was about historical accuracy rather than current relevancy.
Justice Scalia lay out that the "right to bear and keep arms" was understood by the original framers of the constitution as a pre-existing right belonging to each individual citizen. When the English kings who started employing tyrannical methods against their subjects who were not loyal to the crown, the right to bear arms was the way for the people of England to prevent royal tyranny. The United States was begun as a sketched outline for an experiment in a different kind of democracy, one led for the people, by the people. Effectively taking away the right to bear and keep arms would only take the power from the people, and give it back to the government, circumventing the original point that the Constitution was trying to uphold in the first place, which constituted a government for the people, by the people. In my opinion, not taking into account current social issues such as the United States' holding the highest statistical gun violence compared to its industrialized counterparts in the world, we are doing ourselves a disservice by saying that the American system must be upheld by the ability to have firearms in every household.
The Missing Piece
My argument is that D.C. v. Heller does not address the fact that history has its place, and should be learned from and built upon. In the case of The United States v. Miller, the claim about the right to bear arms was never explicitly addressed. Instead, the case settled itself around the type of weapons that would be acceptable in the case of a Militia, and judged that a sawed off shotgun would have no place inside the Second Amendment itself. The surviving aspect of the U.S. v. Miller case was that it limited the scope of the word "arms" to the standard of "what is commonly in use at the time", touching on the same idea of history, but in a more current setting. My opinion is that within the U.S. v. Miller case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of keeping a citizen-run militia, but failed to recognize what a modern day militia's purpose was within our government system. I believe that this is not in the best interests of the modern mindset of America for the following reasons: we now live in an age of technology, in which information can be sent back and forth across the world in a matter of seconds. No longer is it necessary for citizens to be on the outskirts of society, with no hope of immediate response from police or military, and no way to receive information instantaneously to understand the larger picture. With the age of the internet, politics and the idea of a tyrannical government are more closely monitored by the citizens, making the use of a militia in the United States almost obsolete, since the response time for police and organized military to arrive at any given scene can be almost instantaneous.
In D.C. v. Heller, this same mentioned history does not currently affect the present statistics of gun violence in the United States, except to limit the ownership of more guns in the hands of the citizens. I do not believe that the founding fathers intended for the Second Amendment to be as contested as it has been in the past thirty years, nor could they have known that bearing and keeping firearms was no longer quite as practical as it once had been--and as found in U.S. v. Miller, the founding fathers would not have found a sawed off shot gun that crossed state lines to be part of a militia covered under the Second Amendment.
A Brief Touch of Relevant History
We can look at the American Revolution from our history books, and recognize that having armed civilians was an important step in the victory over Great Britain. What I feel that we need to look at now is the threat of such an outside force coming into the country to the extent where the government and military need to rely on untrained civilians to step in and win the war. As for militias, the first that comes to mind in modern society, are the groups that gather together to 'defend our nation's border's' from illegal immigrants crossing over. The National Guard does not fall under the term "militia" as it is expressed in the Second Amendment, because if the founding fathers explicitly meant the National Guard, they would have spelled it out inside of the Constitution. Taking away the idea of a unsanctioned militia formed in order to uphold the borders does not bring about the idea that immigrants coming in through the Mexican border are tyrants; rather, they are desperate people taking a chance, not trying to bring the government down one illegal immigrant at a time. I am under the firm impression that a militia in this day