Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Barry Spunt & Polly Sylvia
Gun control is one of the most controversial issues in the United States. The controversy centers largely on interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which 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.” Some argue that this can be interpreted as a clear declaration of the right of individuals to bear arms, whereas others argue that this individual right was in reference only to maintaining a state militia. Many debates, discussions, and court cases have addressed this issue. A closer look at the views of the framers of the Constitution, including their personal notes and earlier drafts of the Second Amendment, indicates that the framers believed individuals do indeed have a “natural” right to bear arms (Dawlut 1997; Kopel and Little 1997; Dennis 1995). Few Supreme Court cases ...