Thursday, February 26, 2009

Teaching Amendment 2

Arizona has seen an increase in the number of violent crimes, including kidnappings, shootings and home invasions, which authorities attribute to the Mexican drug cartels' expansion into the United States. Mexican drug cartels have adopted a campaign of intimidation against Mexican authorities, and the deaths of police, mayors and other government officials in Mexico have become common.

A Republican lawmaker from Arizona who favors gun rights, said he was considering introducing legislation intended to restrict straw purchasers, people who buy guns with legal documentation and then turn the weapons over to drug traffickers. Though federal law prohibits such purchases, this may be a prime way Mexico’s drug cartels procure weapons from within the United States.

Gun control advocates argue that the Second Amendment was created to ensure the continuation of the state militias as a means of defense, not to ensure an individual's right to own a firearm? The Supreme Court weighed in on the debate in 2007 after Washington DC passed legislation barring the registration of handguns, requiring licenses for all pistols, and mandating that all legal firearms be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked.

In District of Columbia v Heller the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, ruled that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to own guns, not just the right of the states to maintain regulated militias.

Teaching the Second Amendment

Your students can read and interpret the meaning of the Second Amendment by viewing the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Your students can then consider what can be done about gun violence on a state and national level in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v Heller.

Your students can also view the National Constitution Center’s Town Hall Wall about the debate over the Second Amendment. The Town Hall Wall, a format pioneered at the Center and used in the permanent exhibit, is a great way to get your students to focus on and talk about contemporary constitutional issues.

Your student can then deliberate the issue of gun control and how that issue is connected to individual rights contained in the Bill of Rights, state's rights, crime and violence.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to the Supreme Court for upholding the original intent of the 2nd Ammendment, rather than revisionist interpretations. Wasn't this an important piece in the founding of our country!?!