Guns in America – Get me off the merry go round
Let’s just start with the central argument, right out of the gate:
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.
While not the original version submitted, this was the final version ratified by Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. I’m not going to delve into the assumed context of this amendment here. Both ersatz “sides” of this “debate” will argue context. Pro-gun lobbies will assert that Jefferson meant for the Second to, at its furthest application, be used to protect against tyrannical government.
Anti-gun lobbies will assert that, at the time of the ratification, the United States was a weak, fledgling, backwater nation dependent on an armed citizenry for its survival. As that is no longer the case, we no longer need to define the Second as applied previously.
Both arguments are valid, plausible and, from a certain point of view, accurate. But neither makes the most logical or expedient case for the modern application of the Second Amendment. The most important word in the entire amendment is “infringed.” This implies that, in any effort to apply or interpret the intent of the law, one must always do what one can to protect the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Thus, any discussion of “gun control” and the intent of gun legislation must first focus not on the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, but, instead, on the penalty for those who abuse that right.
Prevention or prohibition of any kind as a form of gun control is, at best, problematic and, in reality, largely impossible. Anyone who wants a gun can get one. Even—perhaps, especially—when the penalty for owning one is imprisonment or death. For a relatively modern case study on this one need not look at Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. Look at Ireland. Oppressive British gun laws, crafted to keep their angriest of stepchildren in line, did little to coerce the opposition. The lads hid their weapons and made their own ammunition. Or else they stole from the military or simply made bombs. Similar case studies are, quite possibly, endless.
Any honest assessment of the facts must conclude that unilateral gun control is no more tenable than is illicit drug control. Demand drives the market. The only other factor to be considered is risk-reward. For sufficient reward, many will risk anything.
In light of this, increased restriction seems, well, silly. Or intentionally obtuse. To limit the freedoms of lawful gun owners is a step in the wrong direction. There are many ways to move toward the goal of reducing illegal gun violence without “infringing” on one’s right to own a gun.
The conversation should begin there. Starting it anywhere else only feeds the beast, creating an endless cycle of circular nonsense.
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The proceeding article is Part 2 in a 5-part conversation about guns in America. To read more, click the links below.
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