Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gun Control And The Second Amendment

Before deciding on being pro or against gun control legislation, read this one sentence slowly and carefully.

"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." -The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States-

The Second amendment is as profound as it is ambiguous. It is the only constitutional amendment that states a specific and undeniable purpose for it's existence. That complex jumble of letters and punctuation alludes, but does not outwardly state, that there is a need of the people to have the weapons necessary to form or join an organised military for the purpose of securing or protecting the freedoms of the people. It also assumes that it is already lawful and even expected that the people are already allowed to own, keep, and carry weapons sufficient enough to form a military strong enough to protect the nation as a whole from another military power. It then states that owning and bearing arms is a right that can not be limited.

There is no reference to the type of weapons that the people can own, nor is there a statement as to whom this is being directed at. Nobody reasonably expects to be able to go water skiing behind a nuclear submarine loaded with ICBM's, and that is not what this constitutional amendment is about. This amendment is a statement of purpose that limits the power of any part of government to take any personal use weapons, of such a style that would be general issue in a military establishment, away from the citizens. This one sentence also gives the citizens the ability to stand up to and remove a domestic government, or foreign military that threatens their freedom. Before condemning this amendment as obsolete, or outdated, or saying that the writers had no idea about the new weapons and tactics that would come, it is important to understand why they thought that this issue was so important that it be the second "inalienable" right that a free people have.

The United States was created by people who had just won a war against the mightiest military power in the world at that time. These fiercely independent people fought and died to rid themselves of a tyrannical government that was bent on unfairly taxing them, and disallowing them a voice in the government that was supposed to protect them. This government used violence, torture, and fear to pacify the colonists into submitting to unfair laws and regulations. In setting up their new government they needed a way to prevent it from becoming the very thing they had just escaped. This was accomplished through the constitution and the bill of rights. Comprised of the first ten amendments to the constitution the bill of rights was specifically created to limit the control this fledgling government could have over the citizens it was created to govern. It also gives those citizens the ability to stand up to the government and demand the freedom that they had fought and died to earn. It would seem that without the second amendment, the authors of the constitution believed that rest of the document would not be able to stand on it's own.

The push to restrict or outlaw private citizen gun ownership uses mass killings, violent crime, and tragic accidents as the reason. They think that making guns hold fewer rounds, or outlawing certain types of "assault" style weapons, or even outlawing guns altogether will reduce or eliminate these types of tragedies. In a perfect world This would be true. After Figuring in the fact that Criminals don't follow laws, black market guns and ammunition will still be available, and 911 doesn't get called until after a crime has been completed that type of argument crumbles under the idealism that created it. Accidents and misuse of weapons have been around since there were rocks laying on the ground. There will never be a law that eliminates tragedy. No amount of regulation can substitute for education, mutual respect, and common sense.The net result of taking away legal guns and ammunition, or even heavily restricting them, will be the removal of any doubt in a criminals mind as to whether a victim would be armed. A hidden consequence would be the same thought process in a government like North Korea, or terrorist organisations like Al Quida that wish the people of The United States harm.

Some would argue that we have the most powerful military in the world making public gun ownership an obsolete notion. Except for a couple of small incidents in WWII (Pearl Harbor and some minor bombings and spy attacks) and the 911 tragedy the American public, as a whole, has been insulated from military style attack since the late 1800's. The lack of any immediate danger has made the American populace complacent and smug in their safety. As a world power The United States has garnered a lot of enemies that want nothing more than to see weapons get taken away from the general population. The Second Amendment was written as a way of defending the nation against such enemies by allowing the general public to have weapons. As remote as a military invasion of the United States may be, an armed populace could defend themselves against such dangers and aid the military in the defense of the nation. At the minimum, public access to defensive weapons gives a reason for pause to an invading military force.

The current arguments over (both for and against) gun control in the United States seem to be brought to the media by people who have an unwavering absolution in their opinions. These people use a lot of rhetoric and half truths in order to convince other people that their opinion is correct. These people also tend to use fear in order to promote their agenda. Neither side considers the consequences if their argument succeeds in becoming law. Both stances are valid and correct in their purest form, and both arguments are fundamentally flawed in their thought processes, and real world application. The real solution to the problem of accidental shootings, and gun violence in general, lies in education and common sense laws that restrict criminals (and the mentally unstable) from obtaining guns and ammunition, and allows the rest of the people reasonable access to all types of guns and ammunition for personal defense and recreational uses.

Personal Disclaimer:

This opinion was formed based on my own personal research and experience and is not intended to reflect the popular opinion or stance of any organisation or political party.

I encourage you to do some extensive research from multiple sources on both sides of an issue and form your opinions from factual sources outside of the rhetoric of politics and media.

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