Absolute right to gun ownership
- Strongly Support means you believe: The right to bear arms is a basic Constitutional right and expresses the democratic principle of self-defense against tyrannical government. Leave gun rights as they are.
- Support means you believe: It's not the instrument, it's the morality. Gun ownership should not be restricted - most gun owners use them safely and responsibly. To reduce gun-related crimes, address the moral problems of society and other issues.
- Oppose means you believe: The only "gun right" is to self-defense against criminals and the right to a secure home and a secure person. Tighten registration rules and keep guns away from kids.
- Strongly Oppose means you believe: More guns mean more killing. Limit availability of guns by whatever means are effective. The 2nd amendment does not mean an unlimited right to any and all firearms.
This question is looking for your views on Second Amendment rights. However you answer the above question would be similar to your response to these statements:
How do you decide between "Support" and "Strongly Support" when you agree with both the descriptions above? (Or between "Oppose" and "Strongly Oppose").
The strong positions are generally based on matters of PRINCIPLES where the regular support and oppose positions are based on PRACTICAL matters.
If you answer "No Opinion," this question is not counted in the VoteMatch answers for any candidate.
If you give a general answer of Support vs. Oppose, VoteMatch can more accurately match a candidate with your stand.
Don't worry so much about getting the strength of your answer exactly refined, or to think too hard about the exact wording of the question -- like candidates!
- The Second Amendment is one of our most important right
- If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
- People kill, not guns
- Strongly Support means you believe in the principles of the Second Amendment as a fundamental right.
- Support means you believe in the practical benefits of gun rights, such as self-protection and hunting.
- Oppose means you believe practical reforms are needed, like bans on assault weapons and certain ammunition.
- Strongly Oppose means you believe in the principle that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals.
Statistics on Gun Ownership
40% of all US homes have guns
81% of Americans say that gun control will be an important issue in determining which Congressional candidate to vote for.
91% of Americans say that there should be at least minor restrictions on gun ownership;
57% of Americans say that there should be major restrictions or a ban.
In 1996, 140 children died after being accidentally shot.
About 1,500 children are hurt by guns every year.
"Trigger Locks" require entering a combination to use the gun (or some other locking method);
they are intended to reduce inadvertent use by children or other unauthorized users.
The "Gun-Show Loophole" means that there are no background checks when purchasing guns in a private transaction.
Guns sold at gun shows through dealers ARE subject to background checks; only those sold privately are not.
Right to Bear Arms
The Supreme Court ruled in 1939, in a case called "US v. Miller," that the 2nd amendment
only protects guns suitable for a well-regulated militia --
for example, sawed-off shotguns can be banned because they're not "ordinary military equipment".
Since 1939, the Supreme Court has not heard many further 2nd amendment cases;
the most recent ruling prior to “Heller”, in 1997, overturned part of the 1993 Brady Bill, but did not address 2nd amendment rights.
“Heller” refers to a ruling on the issue of “individual rights”. The Supreme Court ruled, in the 2008 case called “District of Columbia v. Heller”, that the 2nd Amendment does define an individual right to gun ownership, as opposed to a “collective right” for a state-run and state-armed National Guard.
Much discretion was left to the states and to Congress, but Heller opens up the issue to further Supreme Court cases.
Hence, gun control issues are still primarily the subject of Congressional legislation.
Gun Control Buzzwords
The biggest component of the Gun Control debate is whether existing gun laws are sufficient, or whether more gun laws are needed.
Liberals and populists generally favor more gun laws. Look for buzzwords like "more registration" or "more licensing" to describe seeking further restrictions legal ownership; or "close the loopholes" and "restrict access" for further restrictions on illegal ownership.
Moderate liberals and populists will generally favor more restrictions on ownership while paying lip-service "sportsmen's rights" or respecting "the right of self-protection." A moderate compromise is to "extend waiting periods" before allowing ownership, to perform "background checks" of varying degrees of severity.
Conservatives and libertarians generally oppose gun laws. Look for buzzwords like "Second Amendment rights" or "allow concealed carry". A call for "instant background checks" pays lip-service to gun-control advocates: it sounds like a restriction, but means allowing purchasing guns on the spot.
Moderate conservatives and libertarians oppose gun laws while acknowledging that restrictions are inevitable. Look for buzzwords like "enforce existing gun laws," which implies not passing any NEW gun laws. Similarly, "more strict enforcement" of gun laws implies a pro-Gun Rights stance, unless it is accompanied by a call for new gun laws.
Centrists and moderates from both the right and left generally support restrictions on juvenile access to guns, especially in the wake of tragedies like Littleton and other gun-related deaths.
Positive mentions of the NRA (the National Rifle Association, the largest pro-gun rights lobbying group) implies support of gun rights, while opposing the NRA or "taking on the gun lobby" implies support of gun restrictions.
Amendment II to the US Constitution
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. (1791)