It is time we challenged the Second Amendment.
The Amendment reads: “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.”
In the 2008 Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court ruled 5-4 to overturn a handgun ban in the city of Washington, D.C. The conservative Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the ruling in narrow and unprecedented terms: for the first time in American history, the Supreme Court explicitly affirmed an individual’s right to “possess an ordinary type of weapon and use it for lawful, historically established situations such as self-defense in a home.” The fundamental danger of this language lies in its vulnerability to misinterpretation and misuse. Surely, Justice Scalia did not believe that military-grade assault rifles and submachine guns qualified as “ordinary” home security and self-defense weapons. Yet this so-called “brilliant” magistrate showed how careless he could be in wording his opinions: by failing to adequately define the term “weapon,” Scalia paved the way for lawmakers, politicians, and even private citizens to redefine it however they saw fit. For example, “gun enthusiast” Nancy Lanza kept the following arsenal inside her suburban Connecticut home:
1.Izhnash Saiga 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun
2. Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S.223-caliber semiautomatic rifle
3. Glock 20 10mm semiautomatic handgun
4. Sig Sauer P226 9mm semiautomatic handgun
Ms. Lanza was, of course, the mother of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza…
Today, the militias of old have become the police, the National Guard, and the Armed Forces of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Indeed, these forces nowconstitute the type of “well-regulated militia” that the Founding Fathers had in mind. While twenty two U.S. states technically allow for localized “militias,” such groups are militias in name only: state and federal laws prohibit them from employing arms to incite violence or any form of civil unrest. The Second Amendment was written more than 200 years ago, during a time when “arms” were primarily limited to muskets, rifles, and bayonets. The men who authored this Amendment could not forsee the radically sophisticated weapons technologies of the modern era. It is absurd, therefore, to use the Second Amendment as justification for carrying any gun, anywhere, at any time. Ask yourself: how does the above wording of the second amendment guarantee that right? How does that wording guarantee the right to own and carry an assault weapon? Foolish and ignorant people interpret Scalia’s narrow opinion to include any gun anywhere any time. It does not. Sensible advocates for strict gun control would not argue with keeping a weapon at home for self-defense as long as it is not a weapon of mass destruction. As written the second amendment does not apply to today’s society.
Mass shootings will not stop until assault weapons are completely banned, and by assault weapons I mean any automatic or semi-automatic pistol or rifle, the kind of weapon that can kill 30 people in 30 seconds, and a complete ban on high capacity clip ammunition. There are two things standing in the way of sensible gun control and reducing the number of mass shootings, the gun lobby and the second amendment. The American public has effectively been brain-washed into thinking the second amendment is sacrosanct; it is not.
People who say banning assault weapons will not help are wrong, and the proof they are wrong is in countries which have already done it — countries which have far fewer shootings per capita than America, and virtually no mass shootings. The best example is Australia, which in 1996 banned assault weapons and instigated a mandatory buyback of assault weapons. Australia has not had a mass shooting since. Some have tried to aruge that the example of Australia is irrelevant to the U.S. case because Australia lacks our constitutionally-based gun rights and traditions. To these people I ask, what matters more: , or the lives of our school children?
The global roster of nations with sensible and strict gun controls on the books – and very few gun deaths – includes England, Canada, Japan, China, and Germany, to name just a few. It is possible for private citizens to own guns in these countries, but it is far more difficult. The following is what is required to own a gun in these countries and the number of gun deaths per 100,000 people:
Australia paid citizens to sell their guns to the government. Following a deadly 1980’s and 1990’s, culminating in a 1996 gun-driven massacre that left 35 dead, the Australian prime minister convened an assembly to devise gun-control strategies. The group landed on a massive buyback program, costing more than 500 billion dollars that bought and destroyed more than 600,000 automatic and semiautomatic weapons, pistols and rifles. A total ban on these weapons was instituted. Almost overnight, gun death totals got cut in half. Today Australia has less than 1 gun death per 100,000 people per year. They have not had a mass shooting since 1996.
Japan puts citizens through a rigorous set of tests. Japan seldom has more than 10 shooting deaths a year in a population of 127 million. To own a gun, one must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and a practical test on a shooting-range, and a strict mental and background test. All assault weapons are strictly banned. Japan has 0.08 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
England bans automatic and semi-automatic pistols and rifles. A 200 million dollar buyback program led to the destruction of 162,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition. Today in England there are roughly 6.5 guns per 100 people, compared to 88 guns per 100 people in the U.S. The result has been a country of 56 million that has 55 gun deaths per year. That is 0.1 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
Canada has federal gun restrictions indicating that a potential firearm owner is able to obtain a license, but only after completing a background check as well as a safety course. Prohibited firearms include automatics and other military firearms which cannot be possessed by civilians. Canada has 2.05 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
China has strictly regulated gun ownership. Civilians are not authorized to have guns and can face prison if caught trafficking firearms. Institutions such as sporting organizations, legal hunting reserves and research entities can own guns. Individual ownership can be obtained for hunting. After a strict process, a license can be obtained for those without felony convictions. Fully automatic and semi-automatic weapons are strictly prohibited. China has 0.7 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
Germany has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. To get a gun, Germans must first obtain a firearm ownership license. Once you have a license, you’re limited in the number of kinds of guns you may own. Fully automatic weapons are banned for all, while semiautomatic firearms are banned for anything other competitive shooting. Gun owners are subject to continued monitoring by the government. Germany has 1.01 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
By comparison, the United States has 11.96 gun deaths per 100,000 people; that is 38,000 gun deaths per year!
The argument is made this is the price of freedom. So, the death of our innocent children is the price of freedom? What a stupid concept!
The takeaway from the above statistics are:
In countries with no second amendment, and very strict gun laws, it is still possible to own a gun.
This is irrefutable proof that strict gun laws work, contrary to the absurd argument put forth by the gun lobby and the corrupt politicians who are paid by it, that strict gun laws do not work.
The following is what we mean by sensible gun regulations:
A complete ban on all semi-automatic and automatic pistols and rifles, and high capacity clips.
A mandatory buy-back on all such weapons and clips.
A mandatory background check on all gun and ammunition purchases regardless of where and how they are purchased, facilitated by as complete a national data base as possible, like we have for traffic violations.
A national registry on all guns by serial number, the same as we have for drivers licenses.
Any weapon’s purchase would require acquisition of a license, and a written and practical test as with vehicle licenses.
Current owners of conventional weapons would be required to register the weapon with a state agency analogous to our DMV, and acquire a license and undergo a written and practical test.
No individual under the age of 21 would be permitted to purchase any weapon, without a responsible adult accompanying.
Guns produced on 3-d printers must be registered and stamped with a serial number to make them traceable, and they would be subject to all restrictions as other conventional weapons. The making of automatic and semi-automatic weapons on a 3-d printer would be illegal and severely punishable because ownership of such weapons would be strictly prohibited.
A majority of Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws, but all but a few are either afraid to challenge the second amendment, or don’t know what it says, or believe that it must be honored because it is part of our constitution. Banning assault weapons is not a violation of the second amendment, any more than banning a shoulder held rocket launcher. Challenging the second amendment and banning assault weapons must become part of the national conversation on guns. We are not talking about conventional pistols, rifles, and shotguns, even though the gun advocates believe that is where it is headed. These people are irrational about guns, and unfortunately, the only thing that would change their minds would be if it happened to their family, and they would change their stance in a heartbeat.
With respect to carrying guns, a licensed gun in a vehicle should be permitted, and the same for keeping guns in the home, and using conventional guns for hunting and sports shooting, but carrying guns into public places and buildings should be prohibited. It should be permitted to obtain a license to carry a conventional concealed weapon, but the restrictions on this should be severe and a very reliable justification would be required. Open carry should not be legal. The argument, put forth by the NRA, that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun is nonsense because the probability of this happening is virtually zero, unless everyone carried a gun all the time everywhere, a situation which would multiply the number of gun deaths a hundred fold.
Gun advocates accuse proponents of gun safety, “you are trying to take our guns away.” No, let me say what we want to take away and what we do not want to take away.
What we do not want to take away:
The right to own conventional pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
What we do want to take away:
The right to own automatic and semi-automatic pistols and rifles, and high capacity clip ammunition.
The right to carry your conventional weapons in public.
The right to own any weapon without a license.
The following is how we could track mass shootings for the purpose of amassing evidence for gun control:
With each mass shooting, record the following:
The number of deaths
The weapons used
Where and how the weapons were acquired
The background of the shooter(s)
The motive (if possible to ascertain)
What we would find is that in some of the shootings, gun measures would not have avoided the shooting, and in many more cases, they would have stopped the shooting. To do this effectively would be expensive, but well worth it. Who would pay for it? I have a suggestion, Michael Bloomberg, who claims to be in favor of gun control, and has more money than he knows what to do with. Either he or another wealthy individual who is a supporter of gun control could do this. It is amazing this has not occurred to them. Such a program would add more proof in favor of strict gun laws, proof from within our own country, over and above the evidence from other countries.
Guns are as dangerous as cars, and this is why they must be regulated as strictly.
Now we will attempt to analyze people who are so strongly against any restrictions on guns. They do not all belong in the same category.
Passionate, almost rabid, opponents of gun control. They tend to resent, if not hate, the federal government, and what it stands for, and they see the government’s attempt to restrict their guns as one of the most egregious moves of the government. They tend to be arch conservative and white, and they believe they will someday need their guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Gun control is not the only thing they hate about the government. They hate political correctness, they hate civil rights, they hate the government’s control of their schools. They hate almost anything about the government’s influence over their lives. They are some of the most unreasonable members of out society. Many of them are either on Medicaid, or Medicare, and receive Social Security, or enrolled in the Affordable Healthcare Act ( not realizing it is Obamacare), and many are actually on public assistance, and they are happy to get it, but they still hate the federal government, totally ignoring or forgetting where these benefits come from!
Hunters and sportsmen and women. These tend to be reasonable people, but uninformed. They actually believe that the government wants to take away their rifles and shotguns. They are wrong.
Moderate opponents of gun control. Again, these tend to be reasonable people, patriotic believers in the US constitution, who are loath to oppose the second amendment, thinking that they understand what it means, when they hear the conservative politicians say, we want to ‘protect your second amendment rights.’ They never question what is meant by their ‘second amendment rights.’ They think they are on the right side of the argument by saying that they believe in ‘universal background checks’ again not knowing what they are talking about, like Michael Bloomberg, who talks about universal background checks as if that alone would solve the problem.
Then there are the leaders of the ‘never again’ movement who came on the scene after the Parkland, Florida shooting, saying, at first, that they demanded a stop to these mass shootings, and now have soften their tone to “we don’t want to take people’s gun away, we believe in the second amendment, we just want sane gun control.” They never articulate what they mean by ‘sane gun control.’ In other words, they have become part of the problem and they don’t even know it.
I’m sure I have left some out.
All of these people will eventually have to capitulate, because strict gun laws are coming. The demographics are changing, and young people, for the most part, are very much opposed to guns.
Again: If you oppose what is written here, you will only change your mind if it happens you.
I don’t expect you will allow this to be published- in my experience, the gun control camp is far less interested in discourse. But, I would invite you to read a bit more on Scalia and what is meant by weapons in common use……as well as the Militia Act. You owe it to yourself to at least argue from an educated position, rather than an emotional one.
Thanks for this comment — I appreciate your reading my essay. Yes, Scalia does state that certain types of semiautomatic firearms (like moderan “sporting rifles”) are in common use today, and therefore protected under the Amendment. But he also acknolwedges that the U.S. has historically prohibited “the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons,” including those “most useful in miliary service” like the M-16, and he concedes that these are not necessarily protected. At least some of the semiautos currently available for private use are based on the M-16 (I think the AR-15 is one example), so in my opinion, Scalia should have qualified these as clearly “dangerous and unusual.”
In any case I’ll take your suggestion and read more of Scalia’s writing.
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Appreciate the response. I would argue that most types of semi-automatic weapons in existence qualify as “in common use”, since the mechanical function doesn’t widely vary beyond piston, striker or direct has impingement. “MSR’s” (not a term I use) are based on some automatic weapons, but it’s because those automatic weapons (called select fire) have single shot functionality, just as the civilian versions do.
The obstacle for the gun control camp (in my opinion), is promoting the false narratives, such as conflating the two types of firearms. I cannot in good faith, believe that semi-automatic firearms qualify as “dangerous and unusual”……….as their clearly not unusual…..and no lore dangerous than other firearms.
Additionally, there is the cognitive disconnect in trying to paint the 2A as only applying to the gun control camps ideal of a militia……and calling the firearms clearly suited for militia use, as “dangerous and unusual”. Thankfully the Militia Act of 1903 clears all of this up. We’re i in favor of gun control, I would attempt to rescind this act before attempting any of the other ineffective and disingenuous tactics.
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