Since the Constitution is not a dusty old document in a museum, or the Supreme Court not inactive, much of what we believe to be “by the books, straight-on, law is law” is really based on interpretation of the Constitution and its Amendments, often the first ten called called the Bill of Rights. The second Amendment calls for a “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” PLEASE do not copy Wikipedia on this; I have taught this course for eleven years, and while interesting, know that article by heart. Doing so will cause you to fail.
In the essay, I want you to touch on these main points:
A. What meaning did Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, have in mind when writing for this this country’s Bill of Rights where the frontier was the end of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Georgia (among the thirteen colonies) and hostile Brtish, French, Indian and Spanish armies surrounded the small states.
B. What is “precedent” in intepretations by the Supreme court. Look at how the Supreme Court looked at the right to bear arms in the a 1878 decision involving US vs Cruiksank and the much more recent, and in this professor’s opinion, decisive, Heller vs The District of Columbia which allow citizens to carry handguns,
C. What weapons are prohibited now?
With Columbine, Aurora, and most tragically perhaps Newtown School and the most recent rampage of LEGALLY purchased guns in UC Irvine, should these decisions be re-examined?