Gun Control and the Right to Bear Arms

Nothing can get the American people more riled up than gun control and the Second Amendment.  You are either for or against the right to bear arms.  The US Supreme Court has ruled countless times that the individual has the right to own a gun or several guns… and this does now include semi-automatic weapons since Congress let the ban on them expire.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) has done an outstanding job in brainwashing the American populace that any kind of gun control is a threat to their Second Amendment rights.  The issue as of late has dropped out of politics.  No longer is it seen as a big-ticket issue with Democrats staying far away from it since they know it can cost them votes… especially out West.  But in the past few months, it seems that we keep hearing about mass shootings.  First it was Colorado, then Wisconsin, then it was New York… though this last one was a bit different than the others.  You have one side screaming that we need tougher gun control laws and the other side saying that more people need to be able to carry a gun with them wherever they go.

“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.”
Second Amendment to the US Constitution

When the Second Amendment was originally written, every able-bodied man had to serve in the state militia.  The amendment was originally designed so that those individuals had the right to bear arms so that they could protect the new nation.  It was a common fear that England or any other European superpower (i.e. Spain, France) would come in and try to take us over.  As our nation moved westward, the need for the populace to have a gun (or guns) became more of an internal need.  No longer were we afraid of an invasion from outside nation.  We now had to protect ourselves from the Native American population and outlaws that were heading west with everyone, and even to protect private lands and to hunt for food.  As time marched on for our nation, the US Supreme Court eventually interpreted the amendment to mean that all people had the right bear arms… serving in the militia or not (which we would now consider the National Guard of each state).  Even states put regulations on the right to bear arms in the early part of our nation and not the federal government which would come later.

Fast forward to today’s time.  Anytime the mere mention of gun control even comes up, the NRA gets the people worked up into a frenzy and the topic quickly fizzles out.  Republicans like to charge that Democrats are against the right to own a gun, and that they want to take them away from everyone… which is outright False.  Now before I get too much farther into this, I want to make it very clear that I have no objection over responsible people owning a gun.  I do believe it is an American right to do so, and that there are thousands of Americans who are law-abiding citizens with their firearms.  But my generalized question is going to be this… What is wrong with having some basic, common-sense gun control laws on the books to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people that generally shouldn’t have one?

The general thought implanted into our minds by the NRA is that if one is for gun control then that person is against the Second Amendment and wants to take your guns away.  The NRA has been very successful with its lobbying and its communications.  When mass shootings occur, like Colorado and Wisconsin, they lead with their voice saying that we need more people to be able to carry guns with them wherever they go so that if someone starts to shoot, they can be taken down by a good citizen in the effort to prevent a massacre.  It doesn’t cross their mind (or at least they don’t act like it does) that in the chaos that comes during a mass shooting that with more people shooting firearms that more people could be injured or killed.  The concept is to fight gun violence by letting more people have guns.  To me, that seems to lack a bit of common sense and any logical rationalization.  In the state of Missouri several years ago, an amendment was proposed to the citizens for the right to Conceal and Carry.  The voters turned it down.  The legislature, thinking that it knew better than the people, then decided to pass the law on its own and make it valid.  It is not the first time the state legislature has done such a tactic when the voters didn’t give them what they wanted… or at least what that particular lobbying group wanted.

After each mass shooting, we always ask if it could have been prevented.  Sometimes, it’s just not possible.  Some law-abiding citizen just snaps and something bad happens.  But that is the exception and not normal.  Most instances would indicate jail time, violent behaviors, mental instability, etc.  Again, the purpose of any gun control law should be made to keep firearms out of the hands of those that want to do harm (or have a greater potential of doing harm) and not out of the hands of normal, law-abiding citizens.

So let’s go through a few to see what can potentially work.  Remember, I am not trying to keep law-abiding people from owning a gun, and I am a firm believer in their right to do so.  Background checks need to be more thorough.  Each state is different in how long it takes to get through a background check.  It also is dependent on what type of firearm you are attempting to buy.  Why not add some additional time onto it (whether it be a few more days or a couple of weeks) so that a more thorough investigation can be done?  Once someone has been through the background check, they are clear to go.  Why not make it like a driver’s license to where you have to do another one every so many years just in case something new has popped up with someone?  I think that any firearm should be registered (and yes, I know that they are if done legally) and that registration should be renewed each year much like we do when we renew our license plates.  It would be a way for us to make sure that each gun is with the person it is registered to.  Yes, there would probably be a tax or a fee with this, but again, how would this be any different than what we do now in order to drive a car?  First time gun owners would automatically have to take a gun safety class before they even receive their gun (even once they pass a background check).  People need to be taught the proper ways of handling a gun, storing a gun, etc. because some just aren’t that quick.  Every so many years when it’s time for a firearm license renewal, make sure the person is still familiar with everything.  This would be no different than taking a driving test (written or on the road) when renewing your driver’s license.

I just listed three basic, common sense reforms.  Note that none of those reforms are designed to keep the thousands of law-abiding citizens from owning a firearm.  They are designed to make sure that those that are getting firearms are law-abiding citizens.  We need to escape from the mentality that the NRA has ingrained into us.  It is possible to be pro-Second Amendment and still support common-sense gun control laws that don’t prevent good citizens of their right to own a gun (or guns).  It is not this side or that.  There is a middle ground that neither side really wants to acknowledge.  Full-on gun control (or banning gun ownership) won’t work and neither will more lax gun laws.  There needs to be that common sense middle ground, and we have to start thinking in that mindset and stop listening to lobbyist from both sides.

You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. The only one way to get real gun control: diasrm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time… It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience.” Ronald Reagan (1983)

SIDENOTE:
Politics:  It is often heard during an presidential election that one candidate wants to take away your rights to own a gun.  This is never true.  Even if the candidate is anti-gun ownership, they are usually smart enough to know that such a move would anger too many voters and would be instantly overturned in the courts.  So anytime you see an ad like that, one must learn that no candidate can outright strip away the right to own a gun in this country.

LINKS:
Gun Control – Just Facts
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

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2 Responses to Gun Control and the Right to Bear Arms

  1. Pingback: Oregon gun opponents greet Obama – The Register-Guard - Give Truth A Chance

  2. Pingback: The Silent Discussion – In Declaration

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