Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gun Control

After reading a draft of the U.S. Constitution, Thomas Jefferson (then serving as minister to France), suggested that a Bill of Rights was lacking from the document, and insisted that one be added. Since he was living at the time in another land where a revolution was taking place for the lack of rights, he knew the new republic would not be able to last without one.

So, ten amendments were made to the Constitution in order to give people more freedom and lessen the power of the federal government, in the hope that if these rights were able to be maintained, the republic would not fall. The amendments are known to us today as the Bill of Rights.

Of the ten, one of the most controversial (at least today) is the 2nd Amendment which 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."

Perhaps a little background into the state of mind of the men who wrote this would help. During the time prior to the revolutionary war, the colonists could not have their own militias, and British troops often stayed in their homes (against their will) and served as the common defense. This issue was such a problem to the Founders that they addressed it not only in the second amendment, but in the third amendment as well.

So in order that this would not happen again, the Founders (who were the intelligentsia of that era) decided that Americans should own guns and be trained in the art of using them, in case another time came when it would be necessary for a militia to be raised.

Today however, many people think this amendment has run out of usefulness. They now want to make it next to impossible to own a gun, and say that the only people who should have guns are people who are in law enforcement (I find it ironic that they hate guns but want to be protected by them). To give two examples, the philosopher Sam Harris has said "Getting a gun should be like getting a pilots license"  and the comedian Bill Maher has said "Guns are a religion in this country."

Then there is the other side of the argument, the side that argues that no one has the right to infringe on gun ownership, and that it is a right like unto freedom of speech. The NRA and other groups like them have lobbied in order to make sure that this right is not infringed upon.

Both sides of the argument have a valid points. It is very true that the right to bear arms should not be infringed upon, but is also true that guns have become a major problem in this country, with over 15,000 gun-related deaths last year alone.

Lets look at the text of the amendment once more "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."

So, the argument from the Founders is that in order to have maximum freedom and security, gun ownership shall not be infringed upon. It really is that simple, at least according to the founders. And it make sense, government probably would not just waltz into your home if they knew you had guns and would shoot on sight.

Let's quote the founders : "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"- Thomas Jefferson

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"- George Washington

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." - Alexander Hamilton

So, it appears that from the most conservative Founder (Jefferson) to the most liberal (Hamilton) there was a common agreement: Gun ownership is part of a free society.

"But the Founders could not have anticipated school shootings and gangs and all the horrible things that have come about  due to guns!" gun control advocates will say. To be fair, many grave and sad occurrences have happened because of guns. However, there is a slight flaw in this argument. Guns have not caused anyone; people have used guns to kill people. Guns don't do anything until someone pulls the trigger.

It is not right to infringe on a person's rights just because someone has abused them. People have abused every other amendment that is in the Bill of Rights, and yet no one is calling for there repeal. So why are guns different?

Because guns kill! Look, for the last time people , guns do not kill anyone. People use guns to kill people. I do not recall Cain having a glock in his hand when he looked sideways at Abel.

The real reason behind people wanting to restrict gun ownership is because they are scared that guns will fall into the wrong hands. What gun control advocates fail to realize is that most people who do bad things with guns did not buy them legally; they bought them on the black market. So background checks and restrictions would not stop them, they would only stop law-abiding citizens.

Some have said that owning a gun should be akin to getting a drivers license; only after having passed a test to get a gun could you get a gun. Two problems with this idea: One, owning a gun is a right, driving a car is a privilege.  Second, even if a person were to get a license to have a gun, this still would not stop a person from using it against a person.

This idea does have some plausibility  to it. It would be a good idea to have a person who wants to get a gun be trained to use the gun. However, that does not mean the person should not be able to own it. And it certainly would not stop them from using it illegally.

But 15,000 people died last year from gun use in this country! It is true that America is in the top four of gun related deaths by country. But if you take out Chicago and New York (the two cities with the strictest gun control laws) we would be in the bottom four of countries that cause gun-related deaths.

There is a practical solution to this problem: the answer is to own more guns. The more that we as a people understand how to use guns, the safer we will be. In order to prevent school shootings, all schools should have armed guards and teachers should have access to guns in the classroom as well. In public, more states should lessen gun restriction so that people can concealed weapons. Believe me, it makes a difference. Here is a fun fact: the man who dressed up as the Joker and shot up the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado went to the one theatre in the city where it was illegal to have a concealed weapon. Coincidence? I think not.

The Founders were quite right in suggesting that owning guns secured our freedom. Most people are appalled at the human rights violations in Nazi Germany, North Korea, Red China, and Soviet Russia. What did these nations have in common? No one could own guns. And what happened? The people had all their rights taken away, and many innocents were killed under these ruthless tyrants rule. Lets not follow their example.

At the end of the day, owning a gun is a right, just like any other right given to us in the Constitution. We should look for ways to improve out gun ownership, but restricting it is not a legitimate, life-saving option.

5 comments:

  1. I liked it. Gun control is an issue for a lot of people, but most people have no clue what is going to be taken away if we lose that right to have guns. A great example of this ignorance is the health care summit. People were all for the universal healthcare. It had gained a lot of hype! it was new and exciting, but it was a very broken program. Not that the other one wasn't but even more so. What I'm saying is, is that lets look at his subject carefully and with a lot of respect and reverence. If you take away guns from the civilian. Who will protect us? The police? What happens if they turn on us? Who will protect us then? The government? Need I go on? Lets remember that it was," farmers with pitch forks" that beat the british. Not the government. WE the people pushed back the red coats and made a name for ourselves. So if there is a war to be won. It will be by our own blood, with our own people, with our won guns. have we really become "Sheeple" in thinking that Papa Sam will protect us? When even he cannot control those who are in Washington.

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  2. Great article. It never ceases to amaze me, the people who truly believe in gun control. What part of "Shall Not Be Infringed" do they not understand? These same idiots are quick to point out "well regulated militia", but wait a minute folks...if we look at the word militia and find it's very meaning, it has nothing to do with being a paid, professional standing military. Nothing to do with the government at all, or the National Guard for that matter, as some believe. It means the people, WE THE PEOPLE, have a right to own firearms. Some think it is only for hunting or recreation, and yes, while those are two sports that firearms are used for, the real reason and intent is to keep WE THE PEOPLE free, and to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical. Wait, a government of tyrants? No, not here in America! Well just look at how the Constitution is trampled on daily, by people who ABSOLUTELY love their right to freedom of speech and press. And others, as long as they agree with what they say(CNN, MSNBC, anyone?). I could delve into those topics, but I'll stick to guns, as this is the topic. It is a fact that the Japanese were extremely hesitant and eventually did not even invade America through a ground assault, because they knew that many Americans were armed and would fight back. Hmmm, lets think about that for a minute. Obviously the world knows about our military power(even though it is shrinking, thank you President Obama and your Administration), but they also know full well about the countless numbers of law abiding gun owners who reside here. I am one of the many Americans who owns guns, shoots guns, and legally carries guns with a carry permit(side note-my favorite gun for carry is a revolver, particularly a Smith and Wesson Model 60, Model 66, or Model 586/686. 3 inch barrel for a 60, 4 inchers for both the 66 and 586/686). I grew up with firearms, going shooting and hunting with my Dad, as well as watching him clean them. I was taught firearm safety from a very young age, and both a respect and love for guns was forged. My family on both sides have long been law abiding, responsible gun owners who were/are upstanding citizens in their communities. I love my firearms, in fact I compare guns to lifelong friends, in the sense that you feel safe around them, you respect them, you take care of them, and when you need to depend on them, a quality version is highly unlikely to let you down. I hate it when fruitcakes think that gun owners are all a bunch of uneducated, illiterate morons who want to kill everyone and shoot up the world. Sure, we have our bad examples, but don't other groups? Of course they do, but they won't admit it and if they do it will be half assed. Some of the smartest and wisest people in the world have been huge gun supporters. John Moses Browning ring a bell anyone? He was a fully active Latter Day Saint, served his mission in the Southern States, and had over 150 gun designs, with tons of patents. We still use his weapons in the military(M2 50 cal machine gun and 1911 45 AUTO pistol in select units), and his designs are found in many other firearms, such as Glock, SIG, Winchester, etc. And he was smarter than most people not only back then, but today as well. Extremely well educated, religious, successful, patriotic, and a gentleman. There are plenty of gun owners today who share those same virtues, but anti-gun zealots would prefer to pretend there is no such thing. Guns are interwoven with America's history, and are just as necessary to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness today as they were when the Bill of Rights was written. Some may claim I and those like me are gun nuts, well if they do then so be it. I am a blue collar American who depends on guns for a variety of reasons, the most important being protecting myself and others from the scum bags of the world. So those of you who hate guns and their owners, please, get a grip. Go shoot a gun. You might actually like it.

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  3. It is funny that you asked my thoughts on this topic. Yes, I can be a moderate in many things, but in gun ownership I agree completely and utterly in the foresight of "the greatest generation."

    I can understand the fear that many see in guns. However, like most fears this usually stems from ignorance. I was raised with guns. I see them as a tool, and the primary means of defense of my family and myself. However, what does surprise me is how so many are so fearful, and how so many don't know their global history on warfare when it comes to topics like these. Interestingly, it is not the history from the countries you have named that have taught me the need for the personal ownership of guns, although they certainly teach well, but the Rwandan genocide that I look to. For we (global culture) thought that only through modern tech can millions be killed (as taught through the example of Hitler and the Holocaust), yet if we look at Rwanda it was not done with guns or any higher level of tech. I was mostly accomplished through the use of machetes and fire. It was done through the "re-education" of the unemployable youth.

    Lastly, 15,000 deaths due to guns really is a very very small percentage of total homicides. If I remember correctly it is either a bat or hammer that has the highest number of homicides, and its number dwarfs that of guns.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your blog. It was well thought and fair to both sides of the controversy. I liked that you quoted many of the founding fathers. Also, I agree that making laws for owning guns more strict is only going to effect the law abiding citizens and make them more vulnerable to those who get guns in the black market. I sure hope that the cities with the highest death rate by guns can be sorted out soon.

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  5. By a long shot, my favorite part of this article was the quotes from the founding fathers. And it isn't just because it gave me warm fuzzies or anything, it is because it solves a large portion of the controversy, but no one is seeming to get it.

    I'm familiar with most of the arguments for gun control, and I can't come even close to saying that they are all without merit. Gun deaths are horrifying, and there may be some good reason to, well, try to be reasonable about it, gun control-wise.

    The thing for me is, as a message to those that are pro-gun control: stick to telling the truth.

    It is popular now to suggest that the 2nd amendment doesn't mean what it sounds like it means, or what we think it means. There are arguments to what individual words mean, or arguments about what exactly they meant by militia, or whatever. Basically the arguments amount to: "We don't have to change the bill of rights to ban guns. We just need to interpret them differently."

    This is false. I'm not saying that means the conversation is over, but this particular argument is false. Gun control advocates: find another argument.

    Look, I'll admit. The language of the 2nd amendment is all kinds of confusing. Oh sure, I've heard a thousand times: "what part of 'shall not be infringed' don't you get?" See, that isn't the confusing part. It is literally everything before it, the mess that totally sounds grammatically insane, that people fight about. And until we sort that out (theoretically, more on that in a sec) "shall not be infringed" is meaningless, because we don't know WHAT "shall not be infringed."

    That is the pro-gun control advocate's argument. And it would hold water (as far as I'm concerned) if we didn't know EXACTLY what the founding fathers meant. These quotes, as seen above, tell us exactly what it meant. The argument "we don't know what they meant. It could have just been muskets, or an army. They said militia!" does not hold water because we have these supplementary quotes and essays by the founding fathers, the ones who wrote the dang thing, on what it meant. So The End. The 2nd amendment means exactly what these right-wing gun-crazy conservatives say it means.

    Now, you can still argue for the appeal of the 2nd amendment. You can argue that the founding fathers were wrong, or that times have changed, or whatever. You can still argue that we need to change the 2nd amendment, or that it doesn't make any sense today. Fine. Be honest. That is what you are asking for. Be prepared to fight those battles.

    Do NOT argue that the founding fathers meant something else when the wrote it. We know they didn't. That is one avenue of argument that can't work.

    Just be honest as to what you are arguing.

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