The tradition of carrying arms in the US comes from the American colonies, populations surrounded by permanent threats, and without a police or military organization able to ensure public order and security of the settlers have come to make the use of essential weapons. After the colonists followed the militias that fought for independence, for the conquest of the West and even for the trauma of the Civil War. History and tradition allied to the sport of hunting and shooting competitions justify why the will of the Americans to possess arms prevails.

In the history of the United States of America, the opposition between anti-federalists and federalists arose. The anti-federalists opposed the development of a federal government and the ratification of the US Constitution of 1788. In his view, power should remain in the states and local government. The population that supported the anti-federalists lived in rural areas. They argued that the economy should be dominated by farmers and small rural communities.

In opposition, the federalists defended a strong central government and the ratification of the Constitution as a way to help establish stability after the American Revolution. The population that supported this federalist chain lived mainly in urban areas. They defended, at an economic level, the defense of the interests of big businessmen and that the state should help regulate the economy.

Alexander Hamilton formed the Federalist Party, which prevailed active between 1792 and 1816 and was dissolved in 1824. He defended a strong federal state and was the culmination of American federalism as well as the first political party in the United States of America.

The 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on December 15, of 1791, and contains the following text: “The well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not the right of the people to possess and use weapons cannot be prevented.” (It is necessary for the security of a free State to have a well-organized militia.) There are several interpretations of this amendment, one of which is to recall in what context it was written and implemented.

The architects of the US Constitution, so well reminiscent of the struggle for independence, look upon the bearing of a weapon as individual protection, which well-guided can lead quickly to a militia. They thus prevented the possibility of being surprised by new oppressions by national or foreign armies. Another interpretation of the 2nd amendment is that it refers only to individuals who belong to a militia organized and duly recognized by the state, who defend the amendment as a collective right and therefore emphasize its first part: “A well-regulated Militia being (It is necessary for the security of a free State to have a well-organized militia, …), the mere fact that this is the first part of the second amendment is for the defenders of collective law, a sign of its relevance. They argue that the aim was not to allow the uncontrolled use of weapons but to safeguard public order with the formation of militias or security forces.

On the other hand, the view of arms-carrying advocates says that the second part of the amendment is rather the most important: “(…) the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ..), the right of the people to own and use weapons cannot be prevented), they understand that militias are made up of citizens, so the right rests on everyone, everyone has the right to bear arms.

As for the more correct interpretation of the second amendment to the American Constitution, there is no consensus among the parties involved, and so it will be until a final decision is made, however, the various cases of violence by the possibility of possessing a weapon have increasingly provoked a debate in favor of the restriction of these to only certain groups of American society. On the other hand, the influential arms lobby, represented by the National Rifle Association (NRA), has managed to stop all control initiatives over the years. With every new shootout in the US, the debate on gun ownership is re-emerging, yet the powerful lobby calls on the second amendment against any attempt to tighten control laws.

The vast majority of the US population wants stricter laws regarding the freedom to carry arms. However, there is a significant number who want legislation to be maintained or only intended to be less restrictive. After some tragedies with weapons, public opinion showed strong support for new control measures and more radical proposals. Control of the sale and possession of weapons at the federal level is carried out by the BATF, and in certain respects by the FBI, at the state and local level is carried out by police forces and prosecutors (law enforcement). The BATF is responsible for the enforcement of federal laws and the enforcement of policies for controlling the production, importation, taxation, circulation, and marketing of weapons. It is the element of opposition to the arms lobby.

When Ronald Reagan assumed in 1981 that he would extinguish BATF, he tried to push ahead with the proposal to move the weapons control functions to the Secret Service (FBI or CIA), but the NRA contributed $ 170,000 to the Reagan campaign with this end. Reagan backed off by realizing that transferring control to an agency of better reputation and autonomy would only make things difficult. The NRA has become one of the largest conservative forces and political pressure, with great ascendancy over Republican party members.

By Eduardo Pereira

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