What individual rights am I willing to give up to improve society? Why?

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In the United States, even though many rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and its Amendments, not every resident agrees on the scope of those rights. Even within the Supreme Court, which renders decisions about on the applicability of specific rights, several justices often dissent when it comes to cases about citizens's rights. On a daily basis societally, many people are required to give up their rights. They are not asked if they are willing to do so.

One area where many people agree to make adjustments for the sake of public security has to do with gun sales and records related to the purchase and sale of arms. The Second Amendment provides for the right to bear arms, but most contemporary weapons did not exist in the 18th century. Matters such as background checks and mandatory waiting periods for purchases are among the adjustments that most people are willing to make in order to reduce deaths from gun violence. Gun deaths are more frequent in the United States than in most other countries. Reducing individual sales of assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition is another adjustment that is likely to benefit society by improving public safety.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is often interpreted as meaning that law enforcement authorities need a warrant to enter and search a person’s home or place of business. Because the amendment includes the term “effects,” it also is the basis for prohibiting police from searching cars or other vehicles without a warrant. Because of the imprecision of probable cause for determining what is unreasonable, authorities often require people to allow searches of their vehicles. This practice of warrantless searching is especially problematic when associated with racial profiling.

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