U.S. National Government Authority in Regulation of Guns
In the year 2013, the U.S National Government executive branch announced a plan for cutting down the rising incidents of gun violence. This was in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other previous mass shootings. This plan had also proposed new laws that required to be passed by the Congress as well as actions that did not require the approval of the Congress. Since then, no new legislations have been passed from the proposals. The question is. Does the legislature have enough authority to pass new laws or can the Federal Courts use the present laws in regulating the use of guns?
An argument based on an individual’s fundamental rights shows that the government authority to regulate guns is restricted to a certain degree. Over a long time, the Supreme Court has been consistently involved in upholding the individual right to own arms. For instance, the fundamental right to own a gun was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller case. The court had the view that an individual’s right to possess guns was listed in 1989 under English Bill of rights as one of Englishmen’s fundamental rights.
Moreover, the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution can be considered to protect this fundamental right to own a gun. It clearly states that, to maintain security in a free state it is necessary to have a militia with certain restrictions and there should be no infringement on the people’s right to possess arms. The phrase that states “the people” in the amendment can be taken to apply to all persons. This also indicates that a few powers are delegated to the Federal government in reducing gun rights.
Currently, nothing in the common law supports a total ban on possession of specific weapons. This is as long as a person is of the right mind and is a law-abiding citizen. The government may look up to the Commerce Clause to provide it with constitutional authority to propose and pass gun control laws. However, the Clause is not in any way related to the purchase and sale of guns and is not applicable to the government gun control efforts.
Although, the government is very much willing to enact gun control laws that will help in controlling the use of guns, the big question is whether the constitution supports these efforts. The source of their authority is questionable, and thus, the government authority to reduce gun violence is restricted.