Accessibility to Guns

Students craft a law that aims to combat gun violence in their state, while ensuring the law would stand up to a Supreme Court challenge.

Task Force: Accessibility to Guns

Congratulations!

You have just been elected to your state senate. During your campaign, you promised that you would fight to end gun violence in your state and limit the access that dangerous people have to guns. Now, you must craft a law that will accomplish your goals, but is also in line with federal law and past Supreme Court rulings. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Questions about who should be able to access guns, what types of guns should be accessible, and in what circumstances guns should be allowed are ongoing in the US. These debates impact the safety of all Americans. Also, the Supreme Court has made some significant rulings about gun rights that affect how the second amendment is interpreted and which state laws are considered constitutional. 

Steps

  1. Look up the text of the second amendment as well as the rulings in two key cases: McDonald v. Chicago (2008) and District of Columbia v. Heller (2010). 
    1. How did these cases affect gun laws in the US 
    2. How do these cases affect what laws individual states can make about guns
    3. Also, research current gun access laws in your state. 
      1. Who is or is not allowed access to a gun in your state? 
      2. Are certain types of guns banned? 
      3. How easy/difficult is it to buy a gun? Are there any requirements that people need to meet in order to purchase one? 
  2. Now, craft your law. Consider the following questions:  
    1. Who will have access to guns in your state? Who will not be allowed to access guns? 
    2. Will certain types of guns be banned? 
    3. What requirements will people have to meet in order to buy a gun? (think about licenses, waiting periods, background checks, etc). 
    4. If you want to take it a step further: think about what types of places guns will be allowed in or banned from.  
  3. Think through the possible objections to your law. Particularly, think about if your law would stand up to a challenge in the Supreme Court.  
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your law will help solve the issue of gun violence, while still following federal law. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive policy. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your idea would work. 
  • Your suggestions should be things that states could realistically implement.
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