April 26, 2008

A Well Regulated Militia

Because of Obama's recent comments the second amendment has become part of the debate. Isn’t it great that Obama is allowing us to speak about these issues honestly? We have been having the big gun debate for decades, and in the mean time we've had thousands of killings in the inner city (drug battles being fought in our neighborhood street), thousands of spouses killing each other. We've had thousands of "accidental shootings" many involving children. 

There have been dozens of shootings in schools and colleges across the country, the periodical police hail of bullets on innocent Americans, and of course the vice president shooting his friend in the face.

Even with all this evidence as to why individuals should not have guns, those who believe in guns cling to the second amendment as the constitutional right to own and have a gun in their homes. The problem is many of these supporters have never read the second amendment and are listening to the politicians who use this as a wedge issue by dividing Americans into an us against them mentality.

I strongly disagree with the gun lobby analysis of the second amendment. The second amendment comes with a qualifier, it states:

"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". (1791)

It does not say the "individual right". Some of the rights laid out in the constitution are to protect the individual and some are to protect institutions. I think this is one of those that are speaking about an institution, the militia, which in 1791 when this amendment was passed was all they had. I think militias of those days are today’s national guardsmen or Federal Reservist. They were the protectors of states, because in those days there could have been a situation where one state tried to overtake another state: The amendment is clearly referring to an institution because it talks about regulation, and the need for the militia to be regulated, I take that as necessary to know who has a gun. In those days the militias like today’s National Guard lived in the community and only mobilized when needed.

It is true that "people kill people", but guns make it easier. If one wants to go hunting, fine, but you can purchase your gun at a regulated gun dealership, and if your gun ends up in someone else’s hand being used in a criminal enterprise then the gun purchaser/owner should be held responsible. If a gun dealer does not follow proper background checks and waiting periods, and a gun they sold under those conditions end up in a crime then they should be held responsible. You should need a hunting license and a gun license to own a gun. I think a mental assessment should take place, and the type of gun should be regulated. You don’t need a machine gun, some shotguns, or handguns that are sold all over this country, many of these weapons are for killing man only, I mean what are hunters hunting (ducks, geese, deer) harmless, non aggressive animals, you need an Uzi for that?

The fact is we have a military, and a national guard, it is their job to "secure the free state". Anyone else who has a gun is just another killing waiting to happen. All the murders show that individuals should not be trusted with guns, because it is the first thing they turn to when anger controls them and they feel the need to get even.

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