Debate:Is the right to bear arms unalienable?
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Lawyers would argue that the right to bear arms comes from the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Certain gun rights advocates argue that it is an unalienable right that God granted to all humans without regard to the rules of society or any government.
Many animals display an instinct for self-defense. Humans and certain other animals also have the ability to use tools. So, it is only natural that there is an instinct to use tools in self-defense. It is unnatural for government (or any other element of society) to limit this instinctive need. God gave man the right to bear arms long before society (and more specifically, the United States) was formed.
- How are gun rights God-given and inalienable?. Daily Caller (May 10, 2012). Retrieved on April 2, 2016.
- The Second Amendment and the Inalienable Right to Self-Defense. Heritage Foundation (2014). Retrieved on April 2, 2016.
In the United States, the right to bear arms is embodied in the Second Amendment and applies to the states only to the extent that the Bill of Rights applies to the states. Hypothetically, if the Congress repealed the Second Amendment and the necessary number of states ratified that amendment, then the right to bear arms would no longer be recognized by the United States government, and the public would lose that right. This assumes that any right to bear arms only has value if it is recognized by the government and society.
In addition, even with the Second Amendment in force, the right to bear arms has not be interpreted to extend an unlimited right to bear any arms by any person. For example, certain weapons of mass destruction are not included. Similarly, prisoners (including detainees at Guantanamo Bay) do not have a right to bear arms. People under a certain age are frequently viewed as lacking a guaranteed right to bear arms. Mentally ill people also do not have rights to bear arms. If the right to bear arms were God-granted, then such human-imposed restrictions would be inconsistent with the unalienable right.