Just My Opinion – The Second Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms
To begin, let me say that I believe in the Second Amendment, or at least what I believe is the spirit of the Second Amendment. “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.” People in our country should have a right to defend themselves, their family and their property from harm and do so with “arms”.
Unfortunately, the Second Amendment is one of the most vaguely worded and ambiguous legislative pieces of the United States Constitution and is so wide open to interpretation, anybody, especially politicians, can mold it to perfectly align it with their own value system, moral code and political agenda. Along with the advancement of weapon technology since it was adopted in 1791, it goes a long way in explaining why we are where we are today, a nation divided between our Constitutional right to own a weapon, how powerful and lethal that weapon can be and what, if any, restrictions should apply.
I am so tired of hearing the self-rationalized excuse for not regulating guns, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Of course, they do. Every person “murdered” in the history of mankind was killed by another person. Whether it be with bare hands, poison, knives, guns, hammers, cars or nuclear weapons, it does not matter. Human beings are always responsible for murdering other human beings. The question is “Why do we make it so damn easy?”
No matter how it is worded or defined or applied, the Second Amendment is not absolute. Common sense limitations must be included for our own protection. Even the First Amendment’s right of free speech, one of our most sacred rights, has its boundaries. The law does not allow anyone to yell “fire” in a crowded venue or falsely and maliciously slander or libel a person’s character with impunity.
We first need to specifically define what “arms” are with respect to the Second Amendment. To leave it so vague, it could be argued that it can include bazookas, grenade launchers, flame throwers, etc. as well as assault rifles. You can see where I am going with this. Where is the cut-off?
At the same time, we need to implement background checks across the board and a minimum waiting period for any gun purchase. I do not understand the opposition to this. Are background checks that much of an inconvenience to law abiding citizens that they would not want them to help protect their own families from those bent on killing for whatever reason? Try getting a good job today without a background check.
Many opponents to this type of legislation argue we should focus on mental health issues instead. I argue that we should do both. We need to help people with psychological deficiencies, especially at an early age, but we also need to be aware of their possible mental health status when they want to buy a lethal weapon.
Should we allow individuals that have been radicalized through the internet or through an affiliation with an anti-American organization to stockpile an armory without any sort of investigation?
A lot of our political leaders in Congress, Republicans mostly, claim they cannot stop the mass shootings with legislation and it would be a waste of taxpayer money to try. It is a feeble and irresponsible excuse perpetuated by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in order to validate and sustain their own existence. They never offer a solution, only thoughts and prayers. These same people also claim that “gun control” means the government takes away all your guns. It is a scare tactic. One, that unfortunately, is very effective, but not at all true.
Sadly, this latest mass shooting, at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas will not be the last. Two teachers and 19 young children were gunned down despite the thoughts and prayers that were disingenuously sent from Congress to grieving families and communities after Buffalo, El Paso, Pittsburgh, Aurora and Columbine in Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut and on and on and on. Some of the bodies of the dead children in Uvalde were so mangled because of the “legally” purchased type of weapon and ammunition used that DNA testing had to be used for identification.
The NRA’s response to the Uvalde massacre was to go on with their annual meeting, ironically also in Texas, and have Republican King, Donald Trump, read off the list of the deceased, mispronouncing their names along the way while a gong sounded after each victim. Trump finished his speech with a little dance, a little jig to show how much he cared. He may as well have been dancing on the 21 graves that had yet to dug.
The majority of Americans believe and will support common sense gun legislation. Most have grown sick and tired of what has become a uniquely American phenomena, an American epidemic of gun violence, too often punctuated by mass murders of our children, all facilitated by lax gun laws and apathetic self-serving law makers.
Turning schools into fortresses and teachers into armed security guards will not work. Think about the teachers you had in school. How many of them would be capable of holding off an active shooter? And it is not just schools we have to worry about. It is shopping malls and grocery stores and movie theaters and festivals and any large public gathering.
More guns are not the answer. Our elected officials need to find another way and if they cannot we need to find some that can.