What my thoughts are on Gun Control
This appears to be the hot topic of the day, doesn't it? More gun control; less gun control; criminals have guns so we must protect ourselves; we must prepare for an invasion; we must prepare to stand up and protect ourselves when the Government tries to take our guns, our freedom, our lives. Where does it stop? Where does reality lie? Hell, I don't know.
What I do know is this: the Second Amendment states "the right to keep and bear arms". But how is it meant? What was the primary meaning behind this amendment? The entire line of the Second Amendment, as adopted on September 21, 1789, is as follows:
"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."
This was ratified by a three quarters vote on December 15, 1791 along with nine other amendments as the Bill of Rights. Only three quarters? So, even then there was some dissension in the ranks, wasn't there? But it is only recently that this portion of the Bill of Rights has become such a divisive force in America. Is it a statement for the "well regulated militia"; or a purpose for the people to "keep and bear arms"? Is it both? Is it neither?
Personally, I think the primary reason was so the fledgling United States would be assured of never falling in to the state that Britain had become, and still stands today: common people may not own firearms for fear of revolutionary acts against the government. Therefore, we the People would maintain our freedom through having firearms to protect ourselves against invaders from without. But what about those within our boundaries? Should we be able to defend against them?
Over the years, this simple concept of bearing arms for use in a militia has been re-defined to mean EVERYBODY has the right to own a gun. Or many guns. Of every type. The only ones off limits seem to be fully automatic weapons of war used by our military and possibly by some special police forces. We the people are not allowed to own this type of weapon. And I'm good with that.
It is not the law abiding, common sense American I worry about. It is the extremists; the mentally ill; the criminals. These are the people committing these heinous crimes against our communities, and we should do all we can to protect against it. That means we need to do more to identify those in need of our help; not less. Government, if you want to really help those who have mental issues, hold the doctors, hold the insurance companies, hold the families accountable for these people. Supply more money to the study, treatment, and assistance of these people and their families; not less. We cannot ignore an entire section of humanity just because they "cost more" to maintain. Perhaps we need better counseling in the schools early on to identify those possible persons who might become this type of killer. Perhaps we need to educate family members in how better to assist them.
This also means we need to either eliminate those from society that are bent on its destruction, or house them in an secure environment for the remainder of their lives. Has the time come to reinstate the old adage "an eye for an eye"? If a person takes a life, or destroys a life in a horrible manner, do we need to just eliminate them? In short order? No lengthy appeal system that drags on for years and years. If you did it, goodbye. Say hello to St. Peter as you approach the Pearly Gates, and don't blame me if you are refused entry. Has science reached a point where it is able to, without a doubt, verify with physical evidence that a person committed a crime? If so, why should we provide a place for them to live out their days without any responsibility at all? Society paying for guards, food, housing, college educations, and such for someone who has no use of nor will ever become useful in society? Are we throwing good money after bad?
I know, I know. You are probably thinking "What does this have to do with gun control?" Just this: if we keep the criminals where they should be (behind bars) we might have fewer crimes to protect against. If we get the mentally unstable better help, we might have fewer crimes against our population. Can we eliminate all such activity? Probably not; but we can cease putting our heads in the sand and ignoring the fact that there are more and more violent criminals in our midst; and more and more unstable personalities who are able to have easy access to weapons of destruction. That is a fact we cannot ignore any longer.
But to place restrictions on our Right To Keep And Bear Arms is an infringement on us as Americans!!! No, not really. We have restrictions all over the country aimed at protecting us from ourselves. Drinking age limits; driving age limits; smoking age limits; speed limits; parking restrictions; look around: they are everywhere. What is the big deal with restricting guns from people who want to do us harm? While I agree that the current legislation is not the be all, end all answer, I do feel it is a step in the right direction. I mean, who really needs a gun that will fire 30, 40, 50 rounds at a time? Is it for home protection? Really? Are you planning to shoot that much at an intruder? Well, make sure I'm out of the line of fire before you squeeze that trigger, Bubba! You'll destroy everything else in the process, and possibly other innocent people at the same time you shoot at that intruder. One well placed shotgun blast with 00 buckshot should do nicely, and won't have the collateral effect on the surrounding neighborhood.
To those of you who decry the background check at gun shows, I have to ask why? Is it a problem to call on a phone to ask and find out if the person standing before you is a criminal? Or is it the person standing before the dealer that is selling the weapon that is upset? Do you have something to hide? Are you the criminal? Or are you stockpiling guns for that day when we go to war inside our boundaries against the Government; or are you hiding them from the Government for another reason? If we are to have faith in one another, and live together as a nation, we first need to trust one another enough to stop hiding in the shadows. Step into the light and make yourself known. For anyone to be against this simple legislation is to be against the majority of Americans. It means, to me, that you have something to hide. What, I wonder?
Ultimately, this is not over, nor will be for a long time. But any responsible American should realize the time for action is at hand. And not just for gun control. We have given over many responsibilities to those who have no reason to have them. We are not responsible for ourselves in so many ways. Yet when something occurs that incurs our wrath, we simply scream, holler, raise our fists and shake them. We grasp our sabers in their sheaths and rattle them, but what do we really do? When was the last time America had a President they were proud of? I mean, the majority of the country? How about our other government leaders? Are we satisfied with what they are doing for us? Or are we tired of it all, and just rolling over and playing dead? Do these minority groups (and yes, the NRA is a minority group no matter what they say. If they have 2,000,000 members, how many Americans are not members?) have the right to tell us what we are going to do? Or playing on and to our leaders, forcing them to take their side in discussions while we more normal, middle of the road, not really vocal people stand back and allow it to happen?
The bottom line is this: are we as Americans tired of seeing children killed in schools, movie theaters, malls and such? Were these tragedies preventable? Should something, somewhere, sometime before they occurred been done to minimize, or even eliminate, the possibility of them happening? And if so, how much blame should we take on because we either did not care enough at the time, or did not think it would happen, or did not want to stand up enough to be heard as a nation? People, we are at a crossroads in the history of our country! Will we stand and fight against all of the horrible things that are occurring, such as these insane acts of violence; or will we stand on the sidelines, weeping as it happens again. And again. And again. And again. How many times has this occurred in the short time since Sandy Hook? Two? Three? Four? How many more have died? How many will it take until we say ENOUGH!
I have no problem with responsible gun ownership, or common sense guns. But I have a problem with guns in the hands of children; of criminals; of mentally unstable persons. I have a problem with families of criminals and mentally unstable persons who enable them to get guns and perform acts of violence upon the body of civilization. I have a problem with those who attempt to bully us into giving up that right to be free. Our country is not just about the freedom to keep and bear arms; it is about freedom for all without the threat of tyranny, without fear of our neighbors, without fear of having our child shot attending a shopping mall or theater or school or driving down the road.
A bully isn't just on the playground. Or the bus. Or in the neighborhood. A bully is anyone bent on depressing you to a point where you feel powerless to act. The NRA is such a bully. The gun toting extremists who say we have the right to have any gun we want is such a bully. The bully is only powerful until you stand up and say stop. I say stop, now. Are you with me?