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AR-15’s and the Second Amendment – Where Do We Stand Today?

The Second Amendment was passed to allow the public to defend themselves. Image Description: A rifle in front of a map and silhouette of the United States.

Added to the constitution as a part of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment protects the rights of citizens to bear arms, i.e., guns or weapons.

“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.”

The aim of this amendment was to allow the public to protect itself from a tyrannical government, fight off foreign invasions, and self-defense. However, recently it has become a controversial amendment, with many laws coming into place that restrict or even prevent people from owning guns.

With the imminent election, many people began stocking up on their firearms in 2020, causing gun sakes to increase by 40%. The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) showed that 4.3 million people purchased guns just in the first month of 2021.

This came in response to the new government’s plans to undo and rewrite the regulations and executive actions that affect the firearm industry. In 2005, Joe Biden pledged to ban AR 15 style rifles and his “Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic,” he not only wants to limit the purchase of firearms, and have gun owners pay a license fee, but also implement a mandatory buy-back program for all AR 15’s.

So, how far have we gotten today?

The Bill of Rights gives citizens the right to bear arms.

In Missouri, Members of the House are working to pass the Second Amendment Preservation Act to protect the rights of locals to bear arms, and that any federal law, act, or order that infringes on the state’s second amendment rights will be invalid in Missouri. The bill has now moved to the Senate for consideration.

Similarly, states, counties, and towns such as Kuna, Star, Eagle, and Gooding in Idaho are refusing to enforce the gun-control laws by declaring themselves as Second Amendment Sanctuaries. The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance is determined to not give up their firearm bearing rights and go against the Constitution, and will come to a decision soon.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed 10 laws to protect gun rights in Texas, aiming to make it a “Second Amendment sanctuary state.” The proposal hopes to exempt the state from supporting federal officials in the implementation of federal regulations associated with firearms, their accessories and ammunition.

In Arizona, the Legislature is in the process of passing the House Bill 2551, which would allow gun owners with permits to carry firearms into libraries, recreation centers, and other public areas. Rep. John Kavanagh also proposed another bill that would prevent state and local officials from implementing any federal law, act, order, or regulation that would be inconsistent with the firearm regulations of the state of Arizona.

Guns classified as an assault weapon have restrictions or bans in many states, such as California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Hawaii, and Connecticut. So, what gets classified as an assault weapon?

While each state can have its own regulations that define an assault weapon, the bill passed by the U.S. Congress in 2015 lists them as AR-15 style rifles, semi-automatic firearms, assault weapons, semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, and others, including grenade launchers and high-capacity magazines.

Although not all versions of the AR 15 platform are considered to be assault weapons, the rifle has been used in many high-profile shootings in the United States, which is why the lawmakers are more cautious about legalizing this weapon.

Many gun owners bought their AR 15 rifles in the last year, since it is the most common and most versatile firearm in the market. You can purchase it in parts, which would not require you to have a permit or impose heavy taxes.

With the states conflicted about the changes being made to the Second Amendment, you might wonder how far can state laws go to curb the federal government.

While state governments can choose not to expend any resources in the enforcement of federal laws, they do not have much power in regards to nullify a federal law. The government could send their own resources to enforce the regulations. That being said, it is too soon to know which laws or proposals will gain traction.