CNN video of argument against John Lott position on gun control
Write at least a 300-word reflection journal summarizing the readings and what you have learned from it
Read An Interview with John R. Lott, Jr., author of More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws.
Watch CNN video of argument against John Lott’s position on gun control. More guns, less crime? John Lott explains controversial theory – CNN
According to a 2009 Congressional Research Service report, there are about 310,000,000 guns in the U.S., or about one gun for every American.
“Gun control” refers to any legal measure intended to prevent or restrict the possession or use of guns, particularly firearms. (In a broader historical sense, the term also refers to legal limits on the possession or use of other arms, including those that predate the invention of gunpowder.) In most developed countries, gun control is strict and uncontroversial. In others it is a fraught political issue, pitting those who regard it as necessary for public safety against those who view it as a dangerous infringement of personal liberty.
Nowhere in the world is gun control more controversial than in the United States, where gun possession is constitutionally protected but where murders (including mass murders) committed with guns are extremely common; the United States has by far the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among developed countries. Proponents of increased gun control in the United States argue that limiting access to guns will save lives and reduce crime; opponents insist that it would actually do the opposite by preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves against armed criminals.
The gun-control debate in the United States also necessarily concerns the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “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.”
In keeping with the first clause of the amendment (the preamble), most U.S. courts, until the early 21st century, had understood it to guarantee the right of states to maintain militias or the right of individuals to “keep and bear arms” in connection with their service in a state militia, an interpretation that was consistent with a wide variety of existing restrictions on individual gun ownership and use. In United States v. Miller (1939), for example, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment did not prohibit laws requiring the registration of sawed-off shotguns, because such weapons did not have a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”
In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court for the first time explicitly recognized an individual right to use firearms independent of service in a state militia for traditionally lawful purposes, including self-defense within the home. Two years later, the court held (in McDonald v. Chicago) that this interpretation of the amendment was applicable against state and local gun-control laws as well as against federal statutes.