Should gun control really be so controversial?
"There are people who want to own guns for recreational or self-defense purposes, and on the other side, I don't think anyone wants to see someone walk into a crowded movie theater and kill people," said Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas. The goal is obvious: protect the former while minimizing the chance of the latter.
But history seems to have brought us to a point where the two considerations cannot be reconciled. Here's how it happened.
In the United States' early years, gun control had strong support, said Mark Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University. Within decades of the adoption of the Bill of Rights — the document whose Second Amendment confers the "right to bear arms" as part of the people's right to form well-regulated militias — laws banning concealed weapons were passed in many states (especially in the South, where more people owned guns). When these laws were challenged, courts upheld the bans as constitutional. The NRA, founded in 1871 as a sporting and hunting association, supported most gun control regulation for its first 100 years.
Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, "the increasing urbanization of the country made gun possession a matter of concern for a lot of people in the cities," whereas previously it was of concern primarily in rural areas where people hunted, Tushnet told LiveScience.
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