In my opinion, I do not agree that U.S. Citizens should have the right to bear arms unless you have abided to certain rules. For example, the Netherlands has laws on owning a gun that are very strict. For example, you have to be a member of a gun club and you can only own a semi-automatic handgun.
Many people interpret the Second Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution to mean that all citizens have the right to own guns. I'm not sure, but I do favor gun ownership. This is primarily because totalitarian governments often seek to ban gun ownership. I don't want our own government to be this way. True, our government could dominate the citizenry whether or not the citizens individually owned guns. Privately owned guns could never challenge the government's arsenal of weaponry. It's just the idea of the authorities being the only persons with access to guns that bothers me.
The important question in this debate is not so much about gun relations between the government and the citizens, but concern about the availability of guns for use by criminals, and guns in the home that facilitate fatal accidents, suicides and homicides. I am in favor of education and promotion to remove firearms from the private home, but strongly against the banning of firearms.
Although it's a difficult thing to do, people need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The US is a relatively young country with a settler/agrarian background. Very large areas of the country are still quite rural, and the people who live in those areas are more self-sufficient than many non-rural people realize. That is the context within which the founding fathers wrote the second amendment.
At the school where I teach, I expect to be missing most of my first block class on the opening morning of deer hunting season. Hunting is not a recreational pursuit locally, it is still the way families fill their freezers for the winter. I raise some domestic livestock, and I have had the sad chore of burying what was left of a favorite sheep after a pack of coyotes got her. Law enforcement here is neither trained for nor nearby enough to help with a situation like that; the only solution farmers have is to own a rifle or shotgun and to use it.
It's one of the unanswerable questions of our society and form of government. Because we can't expect to make and enforce exceptions to any general law for special groups or specific types of firearms, we will continue to have the uncomfortable status quo currently in place. Some won't be comfortable because it isn't restrictive enough; others will be equally uncomfortable because it imposes any restrictions at all.
The gun issues in America are so out of control. There are way too many illegal and unregistered guns and gun owners. So many crimes are committed by the use of guns. This country is an extremely dangerous place because the gun laws are really quite unenforceable on an effective scale. If it were up to me, it would be illegal for anyone besides law enforcement to own guns. Of course that is not feasible and it is realy way too late for any type of gun law restrictions to be effective.
Ownership of guns, I believe, should be more regulated. Only certain guns should be allowed, which some laws adhere to now. Unfortunately, some people will always be able to obtain things they are not legally allowed to possess.
I simply think that there is no perfect answer. You cannot give a little "anything" without some taking it all.
I don't think Americans should have the right to own certain types of guns. Shotguns are all right, for hunting and such. Guns flow too smoothly in this country. They are too cheap and too easy to get. You can easily buy a semiautomatic rifle and convert it to full automatic. I don't see the need.
The Constitution specifically guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms in the second amendment; however it also mentions the necessity of a "well regulated militia." Since the militia is no longer a necessity, I have deep issues with every person owning a firearm. So many homicides have been committed when one was intoxicated, angry, etc. and a gun was available; had this not been the case, there would be one less gun related death. Perhaps it is a moot point as was mentioned above, but I long for the day when guns will no longer be a phallic substitute for the American male, and they will no longer be considered a "necessity."
In reply to #4, please note that legal experts argue over the relevance of the part of the Amendment that talks about the well regulated militia. If the whole point of this right is so that we can have a militia, the fact that we have no militia would seem to make the right to bear arms less important.
As for the overall question, the devil is in the details, isn't it? We can all agree that there should be rules and that only responsible citizens should have this right. But what are those rules? And what constitutes a "responsible" citizen? This is where the real difficulty comes in to play.
I agree with BrettD and Belarafon that the point is moot. We will not have the right to bear arms taken away. But we will continue to fight over what sorts of regulations on gun ownership are acceptable.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states a private citizen's right to own and bear arms.
Amendment II: 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.
Until such time as the Second Amendment is repealed or amended itself, that is the law of the land. There should be no problem under existing law for legal, non-criminal, mentally fit individuals in applying for a license and owning a gun.
My subjective opinion: I think responsible citizens who legally own guns are a very good crime deterrent; I think legal gun owners are more likely to be trained and knowledgeable about gun safety; I think (I'd have to do more research) that the majority of gun crimes are committed by outright criminals who would pay no attention to an anti-gun law. I'm no law scholar, but I feel that passing anti-gun laws underneath the Constitution is an attempt to avoid honestly discussing the issue.
Part of this is a moot point, as there are more than 250 million guns in private hands in the US, and I can't envision what going house to house and confiscating them would look like, but it doesn't sound fun or peaceful.
As far as the philosophy itself goes, I have no problem with Americans going hunting and owning rifles, but I wish handguns and assault rifles were illegal. I think the cost of violence and crime in our streets far outweighs the benefits of being able to shoot for sport or competition. The gun industry that manufactures these weapons also exports them, knowingly or not, to other countries en masse, where violence is epidemic. Mexico is a good example of narco-terrorists armed largely with American weapons.
I believe that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to own rifles and handguns, but I believe the laws should be stricter concerning their possession and ownership. I would like to see automatic weapons completely outlawed, and any felons caught with firearms should receive a life sentence in prison. Sadly, these steps will not rid the world of angry or mentally unstable people who decide to use their weapons to even a score or leave this earth in a blaze of glory. The Old West mentality has not disappeared in the U. S., and public opinion is not yet strong enough to enact the laws necessary to override this deadly obsession.