The gun debate: a closer look at the 2nd Amendment.

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(WEAU)--'The Right to Bear Arms' is an age old debate.

"Originally the second amendment was made to make sure the right to have guns was not infringed on because of the need for a ready and able militia,’ said Eau Claire Attorney Harry Hertel.

That was 1790, now flash forward to present day.

According to a national fire arms survey it's estimated that there are more than 238 million guns in the hands of Americans.

"In recent decades pro-gun advocates began promoting a interpretation that the second amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms," said Alec Kirby, UW-Stout Political Professor.

And In 2008 the US Supreme court backed that up. Kirby says the Court ruled Americans have the right to own a fire arm and use it lawfully.

"So yes we have the right to bear arms but do we have absolute rights to every gun?"

The guns used in the Connecticut school shooting and the recent theater shooting in Colorado were both assault rifles, similar to the military’s M-16.

"It’s hard to say the whether the supreme court will be called upon to decide if that right extends to having an assault rifle," said Hertel.

But Eau Claire attorney Harry Hertel says it something that will likely be debated heavily in congress.

He says up until 8 years ago weapons like that were prohibited and he wouldn't be surprised if congress would reinstate that ban again.

"Assault weapons clips with 100 bullets are not something many people associate with hunting but more target practice or killing human beings," said Hertel.