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Friday, February 16, 2018

Common Sense and the 2nd 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.

We must explore this controversial Amendment as it applies to the 21st Century and not the 18th Century. We must use common sense and societal changes to interpret this amendment, just as we have the 1st Amendment in 1992.
Context is always helpful. We should look at the Amendment from the point of view of Jefferson, the author. The British Army was living in people’s homes, weapons were confiscated, and searches could happen whenever and so on and so forth; thus the Amendments.
The first four words of the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia,” introduces the idea of a ‘Militia’, a band of men forming a fighting unit, which is ‘well regulated’. ‘Well regulated’ is a powerful pair of words as it conveys regulation, which has to be outside regulation, not internal. We now have a large Military, so we are not in need of a militia. “Being necessary to the security of a free State,” continues the concept of creating an Army out of its citizens for defensive purposes. Again, we now have a large Military, so the idea of the citizens doing this has become moot. The citizens do not need Arms to protect themselves from foreign powers; we have a Military to do this.
“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This often quoted part of the Amendment is predicated on the beginning of the sentence. Since that first part has become obsolete and replaced by a far better Militia, the US Military, citizens don’t need Arms as they did in the days when this document was created. Having them for hunting and farming is obviously acceptable, but in congested communities? We don’t hunt for food; we go to a store to buy our food. Hunters represent about 20% of all gun owners. When the Founders drafted this document, “Arms” were single shot manually loaded guns, muskets; NOT an automatic weapon designed for the Military, the AR-15 specifically and all other automatic rapid fire killing machines that were designed for war, not peace.  It is irresponsible for us to allow these kinds of weapons in our society. I believe the Founders would agree, especially if they saw them used by children to kill other children.
Other countries such as Switzerland have a lot of guns in its society, but they do not have the kind of misuse we have in this country. Russia is going through a similar kind of student violence but no one is dying because they don’t have guns, just knives and fists. Australia got rid of them altogether. We need to examine the proliferation of guns, especially automatic, war-killing machines in our society that end up killing children in our schools. This is not what the Founders envisioned, Americans killing Americans because they have the right to own a gun as defended by the 2nd Amendment.  It’s like the car and Nader, so now we have seat belts, it’s the law ands “well regulated,” as well as with alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Once rogue industries, whose products were proven to be deadly, were eventually “well regulated.” Guns are not “well regulated.”
We need to have common sense applied to our gun laws. We need “well regulated” laws and a consideration of just what “Arms” means today.
Our Founding Fathers could never have envisioned what has become of the country they created when children kill children in schools with military style guns. I believe Jefferson would have reworded the 2nd Amendment accordingly. Now it is our turn 227 years later to use common sense to interpret the Amendment as it applies today, 2018.
Why not keep all military style and automatic weapons locked up in gun clubs, shooting ranges and the like. The problem is children are getting ahold of these weapons too easily, because the weapons in adult hands are not “well regulated.” Just as we have licenses for so many things and inspections and tests to determine proficiency of user, we should have such oversight when it comes to gun and gun ownership. Owning a gun demands responsibility, too.  America prides itself on states rights and yet in the gun discussion, I am now hearing how the NRA wants to have federal laws of open and conceal carry, which is acceptable in some states allow owners to take their guns into states that have different laws. In other words, federal laws override states’ laws when it comes to guns. This is outrageous. America is in trouble. We have become morally bankrupt over such certain issues like guns, race, and women. The time to grow up is long past. Why is it that we have such violence in a country considered the greatest in the world? We are adrift.  We lack a moral and coherent leader. He is just a bully and a name caller, in short a fifth grader.  35% of the WH staff has left for any number of reasons and this includes cabinet members. The turmoil in the WH continues. Chaos is the order of the day. Congress is floundering and toothless because the NRA money trumps common sense. America is becoming a shithole country because of our poor leadership, our racism, bigotry, misogyny, and love of guns; a harbinger signaling the fall of this American Dream. I fear our next iteration will be of ignorance, greed, and deprivation if current trends continue. Sadly, expect more of this, because like always it will continue. I wonder when the bookies will start laying odds.  Enough is enough, fix it adults or get out of the way so someone else can do it.
Perhaps the children, the victims, in all of the school shootings, will grow up and become better leaders and stewards of the American Dream because they have been the recipients of the bad results of their elders’ misguided ways. Maybe the guns will be a common umbrella for this generation just as nuclear threat was our common umbrella. Imagine Peace!

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