A light week of reading is accompanied by a heavy responsibility for field work on a contemporary issue impacting us all. Following the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, the country is again embroiled in a debate about the wisdom of unrestricted gun ownership.
Consider and respond to the following hypothetical situation:
In the City of Jesse James, County of Gunsmoke, State of Texas, a mass shooting in a Baptist church full of worshippers left 12 dead and 14 wounded. In the aftermath, the mayor of Jesse James and the entire City Council pass a strongly worded ordinance outlawing the sale of any automatic weapons to civilians, requiring an extensive background check for any citizen of the town before a handgun purchase can be approved, requiring extensive training in the use of handguns, and limiting the purchase of handguns to one per adult person at each address. It is the first ordinance of its kind in Texas and it doesn’t take long for a resident to challenge the constitutionality of the law in the state court with an eye to appealing it all the way up the ladder. Based upon your understanding of the issue and of the way the Supreme Court works, take a position and argue the point of constitutionality. Are these types of restrictions legal in the same way that “time, place and manner” restrictions are legal in the regulation of free speech or will the courts decide that states and their subdivisions do not have this kind of authority?
Because of the immediacy and relevance of this issue, the preceding written exercise requires that you contact three leaders within your jurisdiction to determine the sentiment of adopting gun control legislation of any kind. Additionally, you must also present two outside sources of scientific research which indicate the success of stronger gun control internationally. Determine whether countries with stronger gun control have lower rates of violent crime and then provide a cost savings analysis to determine if these laws save money as well as lives. Finally, develop a theory, based upon your research and your interviews, of the direction of gun control in your jurisdiction.