The NRA and the 2nd Amendment cause controversy

Since its addition to the Bill of Rights, Americans continue to debate the interpretation of the Second Amendment, with different organizations taking different stances. As an organization with a stance, the National Rifle Association (NRA) generates much controversy with their polarizing support for one interpretation of the Amendment.

Originally, early court cases related to firearms did not consider the Second Amendment relevant.

That changed in 1875 when the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Second Amendment prohibited the federal government from choosing who could bear firearms. However, this did not mean that individuals could bear arms at all times in any place, according to the Library of Congress.

The modern-day controversy over the Second Amendment stems from the different grammatical interpretations, mostly notably with its differing use of commas within the wording.

In District of Columbia v. Heller, which deemed Washington D.C.’s handgun ban unconstitutional, Judge Laurence H. Silberman cited “the second comma (the one after ‘state’) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the ‘collective’ right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an ‘individual’ right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia,” according to the New York Times.

The NRA also believes any citizen should own firearms for protection. Founded by former New York Times reporter William C. Church and war veteran George Wood Wingate, their original aim included improving the skill quality of firearms in America to rival the British National Rifle Association.

But in modern times, the NRA argues that if more honest people had guns, they could defend themselves against mass shooters and criminals, according to The Washington Post.

Because of recent mass shootings and ongoing debate surrounding the interpretations of the Second Amendment, younger generations have become involved in the conversation, including freshman Steve Ostrom of Monmouth Beach.

“I think that the interpretation of the [Second] Amendment should be focused more on the right for people to bear arms,” said Ostrom. “The focus should be on regulating gun laws for copious amounts of additional safety during purchase.”