Amending the ConstitutionThe Second Amendment and Gun Control

Amending the ConstitutionThe Second Amendment and Gun Control

Grading Rubric for Assignment 1.html

Purpose of the Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is for students to have a better understanding of the Constitution in general, and, more specifically, a better appreciation of the issues concerning amending the Constitution.

Assignment Description and Overview

In this assignment, students will:

  1. Review the Founders’ intentions concerning amending the Constitution.
  2. Search the web for different views concerning the issue of the 2nd Amendment.
  3. Answer a series of questions related to the 2nd amendment.
  4. Write some observations related to amending the Constitution.

Amending the Constitution

Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read concerning the U.S. Constitution in the textbook, and have read to the related lecture.

Here is the section of the Constitution detailing how amending it is to be done:

Article. VThe Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Remember, that the Framers wanted a constitution that was both static and dynamic – with not too much of either. If the Constitution were too static, it would never change, even if it became obviously necessary. It may never truly represent the people – the ones who are supposed to have the power in a democracy. On the other hand, if it were too dynamic, it would cease to be anything meaningful; it would be pretty much the same as whatever public opinion of the day held.

As it is, the Constitution is very difficult to change. It certainly can’t be done by a national referendum – there isn’t such a thing in the United States. The people are not directly involved in changing it, only the states can do that, and it only takes a small handful of states to stop the Constitution from being amended.

In the last decade, the Second Amendment has come under fire because of gun violence. For all of the controversy (surprisingly), opponents of the Second Amendment have not called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. However, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in an article advocating for the repeal of the Second Amendment. In 1993, Congressman Major Owens introduced a proposed repeal of the Second Amendment. It read:

With this in mind, complete the following assignment:

The Assignment:

1. Go to the Web sites of the following groups in order to see some views on opposite sides of the debate concerning constitutionally defining marriage:

  • The National Rifle Association (Links to an external site.)
  • The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (Links to an external site.)
  • McDonald v. Chicago (2010) (Links to an external site.)

2. Answer the following questions:

  1. Why is the idea of amending the Second Amendment into the Constitution so controversial?  Do you think the controversy is over the issue itself, or the fact that the Constitution is being used to address this issue?  Explain.
  2. Which of the groups that you examined above would oppose the repealing of the Second Amendment, and why?  Which ones support repealing the Second Amendment, and why?
  3. What is your position on the proposed repealing of the amendment, and why did you reach that conclusion?
  4. Should constitutional amendments only change governmental structures, or should they deal with social issues such as gun rights/gun safety? Explain your reasoning.

NOTE: Please submit your assignment as an MS Word document. Your paper should be double-spaced.

For this assignment (and all subsequent assignments), be sure to follow this rule: RTQ/ATQ, meaning, “read the question/answer the question.” If the question asks you “why,” then explain why. Don’t just say something like “because,” or “that’s the way it is,” etc. Clarify your position, yet be concise in doing so.

Important Dates:

This assignment must be completed and submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on Unit due date found in course schedule.

Required Materials:  Lowi, Theodore J., Ginsberg, Benjamin, Shepsle, Kenneth A. and Stephen Ansolabehere. 2017. American Government: Power and Purpose Brief 14th Edition. ISBN: 978-0-393-283778


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