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Gun Control Laws: 
What Gives Congress the Right?
>Page 1, 2, 3

So, What Good is the 2nd Amendment
If the Supreme Court's opinion in U.S. v. Miller limits the Second Amendment's scope and authority to laws affecting the states' ability to raise and equip militias, what good does the 2nd Amendment do for the individual firearms owner?

First, what are some federal gun control laws that would not affect the states' ability to maintain public militias and thus, could not be challenged under the Second Amendment.

  • Registration of all firearms
  • Licensing of all firearm owners
  • Prohibiting private ownership certain types of firearms
  • Requiring "trigger lock" devices
  • Requiring gun buyer background checks at gun shows
  • Enhanced penalties for gun-related crimes

Requirements for trigger locks, background checks at gun shows, and increased penalties are all part of H.R. 1501 - The Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Accountability and Rehabilitation Act of 1999, now being considered by a joint conference committee of Congress. (See: House Agrees to Push Gun Control Bill)

Blanket registration of firearms and licensing of owners are currently required by Canadian gun control laws

Now, what are some federal gun control laws that would affect he states' ability to maintain public militias and thus, could be challenged under the Second Amendment:

  • Prohibiting private ownership of firearms
  • Requiring the mandatory surrender of all privately held firearms

There are currently no such laws being considered in Congress, and as long as the Second Amendment remains intact, there never will be. This is the good the Second Amendment does for the individual firearms owner.

Further Note: Congress draws additional authority to enact gun control laws from the "commerce clause" of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution granting Congress the power to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Authority for most federal gun control laws is based on the commerce clause. 

Online Poll: Should Congress enact laws requiring trigger locks and criminal background checks at gun shows?

 Want to Discuss Gun Control?
It is by far the hottest topic in the Free Speech Forum. Here are just a few discussions you might want to read and participate in:

Why is There a Legal Right to Carry Guns?
"Why is that, we, in the 'civilized world,' are the only country in the whole world that has allowed civilians the legal right to carry arms, especially in a world of increasing madness and complexity? -- GOOSEY6, Sep. 16, 2000 -- This a no holds-barred, general discussion of gun control.

Only Muskets?
Discussion of the relevance of the 2nd Amendment to the modern USA.

More Laws Are Not the Answer
Will more gun laws really help prevent tragic events like Columbine High?

Reference Resources

United States vs. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)
Complete text of the Court's landmark decision relating to the scope and authority of the 2nd Amendment.

National Rifle Association - Legislation Updates
The leading gun owner advocacy group. Opposed to new gun control laws.

Handgun Control and The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence
Organization working for stricter gun control laws.

Firearm Injury Center 
Objective data on firearm injuries in the US. Includes safety data sheets, and a glossary of handgun and handgun safety terminology.

Gun Laws, Gun Control and Gun Rights 
Covers the legal issues of gun control. From JURIST: The Law Professors' Network.

Gun Control vs. Gun Rights: The Issue 
Report on the gun debate and campaign money, from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Also on US Government Info/Resources

NRA: LaPierrer's Words Could Backfire Again
If the NRA is hurt by LaPierre's attack on President Clinton, it won't be the first time. Remember the "jack booted thugs" in 1995?

Gun Control Laws In Canada  
Canadian gun laws are among the toughest in the world and statistics indicate they are effective. Could laws like these be in the future of U.S. gun owners? From your About.com Guide.

Canadian Gun Law: Right for U.S.? (Discussion)
Join a discussion group on whether Canada's tough new gun laws would work in the U.S. 
[Online Opinion Poll]

Guns and Gun Control Legislation  
Track the progress of H.R. 1501 and other gun control bills here. From your About.com Guide.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act  
Complete text of the Brady Bill.

Brady Act Background Checks: 
The First Seven Months
Usually in under 2 minutes, a gun dealer can check a buyer for a criminal history as required by the Brady Act. What are the potential results and how well has the system been working? From your About.com Guide

Gun Show Rules & Laws 
The current rules of selling guns at a gun show as posted at an actual major show. From your About.com Guide.

Gun Control Web Resources 
A collection of links to US gun control laws and related resources from your About.com Guide.

From other About.com Guide Sites

The Right to Own a Gun
Why should personal firearms be less regulated than automobiles, asks Liberal Politics Guide Karen O'Brien

Sneaky gun control
Civil Liberties Guide J.D. Tuccille reports on how the Smith & Wesson settlement might hurt gun owners, but really threatens the political process.

The NRA Pimp-Slaps Bubba
Civil Liberties Gudie J.D. Tuccille says it was President Clinton who attacked the NRA on Sunday.

Little Kids Waving Guns
Did you hear the story of the five-year old who waved a loaded gun around, but didn't shoot anybody? Crime Guide Bill Bickel didn't think you had.

Canadian gun control challenged in Supreme Court
Canada's gun control law faces a Supreme Court challenge from gun control opponents. From Canada Online Guide Susan Munroe.

Targeting Guns
President Clinton proposes new gun legislation, from your About.com Guide to Broadcast News Tim Hosfeldt.

Liberal Views on Gun Control
How the political left views the gun control issue. From About.com Guide Karen O'Brien.

Gun Rights: Advocacy and Commentary
The very best in links about advocacy and commentary on gun rights, from your About.com Guide to Civil Liberties J.D. Tuccille.

Guns & Gun Crimes
Related links from one of the most interesting sites on the Web, Guide Bill Bickel's Crime and Punishment.

Kids and Guns - Kids' Exchange
Do you have a gun in our home? Do you feel safer or less safe? Kids and Guns from your About.com Guide 

Election 2000 Resources
Information on candidates, parties, dates, issues and organizations, from your About.com Guide.

US Government Job Openings
Links to vacancy announcements at dozens of agencies and military branches.

Huge Index of Government Web Sites
One of the largest lists of agencies, bureaus and offices on the Web.

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