“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”
Today, 92 people die in the United States every day as a result of gun violence. As a society, we simply accept this, disregarding the fact that every single life matters. Those who believe we have an issue worth discussing are dismissed with “crazy people will find a means to kill”, or some other unproven logic. We could be silent, but the number of deaths each day is rising, even as citizens rush to protect themselves with newly acquired guns and assault weapons.
The main argument used to defend the uncontrolled acquisition of firearms by anyone is the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution. These people claim the article prevents all rational conversation on the topic, making it off limits. Aside from politically corrected interpretations, what does this amendment actually dictate ? First, it is about firearms. Rather than being all encompassing, it is rather limiting. Here are some of the key phrases:
- A well regulated militia: Regulation provides discipline, which provides for the care of these firearms. Our military, and police forces, are well regulated
- being necessary to the security of a free state: The state is our country, which is free, and the purpose of this militia is to keep it free. In context, this means to defend against the enemies of our country, here and abroad, who would threaten our national security ( and thus our member states ).
- to keep and bear arms: This was very specific to possession, but did not address use.
- the right … shall not be infringed: When the constitution was written, the word infringed, derived from the medieval Latin infringere, meant to break or crush. It did not mean that no regulations could be passed.
Taken as a single statement, the people were given the right, with strict regulation, to keep arms to protect the country and it’s existence as a free state. Anything beyond that is not addressed in the Constitution or its amendments. We have an established militia that meets the criterion, so any possession beyond that becomes a privilege.
Discussing the abusive use of firearms, and the destruction that causes, in no way will harm the 2nd amendment. It’s provisions are in place exactly as the authors intended. People who want to have this discussion are not trying to disarm the military, eliminate the 2nd amendment, or even limit legitimate possession of guns by citizens. They simply want to open discussion on the abuses prevalent in our society that needlessly take the lives of over 90 people each and every day. Here are some basic principles upon which this discussion could focus. Would the acceptance of these concepts, and enforcement of them, in any way actually harm our constitution ?
- Mental illness is not aided with firearms: We often hear that people who kill others are mentally ill. That is one possibility, though anger and fear are another leading contributor. If that is the case, then do we still need to allow those with mental illness to possess firearms ? What if we confiscated their weapons and instead provided them with treatment ? Even if only some success were met, and only some lives were saved, doesn’t every innocent life matter ?
- Gangs should not have firearms: It is time to support our police with authority to disarm gang members. Sure, they can get more … for a while … but eventually the source runs dry and we make a dent in the problem. Yes, gang members kill other gang members with their guns, but often they also kill those who contribute to their community / families, grandmothers and little children.
- We don’t need assault weapons in the public sector: Fire an assault rifle and you learn quickly you have no control. You simply spray an area with bullets. We don’t need that on the streets of America, These are not for hunting, and those who get them for protection are likely to kill a whole lot more than the assailant.
- People need training before owning a gun: We often hear about “gun accidents” involving children, or guns going off while stored on a person, or in their bags ( purse, backpack, etc ). People should be trained, and certified competent, before possessing a gun. This does not need to be a government job. I’m fine if the NRA wants to put together a true training / certification program. No one should die because a careless person didn’t know how to handle, or store, a gun.
- People shouldn’t own a gun because of cultivated fear: Our gun industry pushes the agenda we should buy a gun to protect ourselves. A large number of gun owners have them for this reason, but when confronted, they simply could not carry through and use them. Conversely, some have acquired so much fear that they kill innocent people, including some who may arrive at their doorstep to help out, or check on their welfare.
- Angry people should not have guns: Many of us simply don’t want to be around angry, or defiant, gun owners. Their feelings are often the result of listening to negative talk radio, and TV shows, and their guns are a means of expression for their rage at how wrong things are in our society. When anger boils over, they may use those weapons to express their feelings, and once again, innocent people die.
These are just some of the issues upon which I would focus discussions. This is not some liberal agenda, and I in no way have any thoughts about dismantling the 2nd Amendment. What I do encourage, however, is for all those who say “LIVES MATTER” to actually act on that premise and engage in a conversation to protect the innocent. We can’t do that if we continue to arm ourselves rather than engage in constructive dialogs. If you believe we have enough laws, then my response would be that we obviously have the wrong laws. I don’t advocate more laws, just effective ones that will curb violence and protect our citizens.
Touchy subject ? You bet, but I care enough about the kids, the grandparents, the hard working youth, and those who struggle with their own mental demons to say I don’t want to see their lives end by a projectile !