With the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech, both sides of the Second Amendment battle have come out in force. “Get rid of guns” or “Give everyone guns” are the battle cries from the two divergent groups. But, as with many things, the best answer lies somewhere in the middle, with a giant dose of common sense.
First, let me start by sayinh I am a once and future gun owner. I like the fact that I can own a gun, whatever kind it may be. And I am a true believer in the intent 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.” The government shall not infringe on the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. I know, many think that means only one type of weapon (see assualt weapon bans or handgun restrictions). The framers wanted the average citizen to be able to, at any given moment, be called into service to defend the free State. Imagine fighting off blood thirtsy Canadians* with single shot hunting rifles. It’s not what was intended. And yes, the framers knew times would change. The arguement I always love is that back then you only had the single shot rifles, and while this is true, you also had private citizens that owned cannons. Imagine someone owning todays equivalent? How would you feel if your neighbor had a howitzer in their frint yard, with a stack of shells at the ready?
Ok, maybe this is an unrealistic view in the modern context. Maybe we need to adapt the original intent of the second amendment to fit into the modern world. With all the cases of mental illness and the large cities with large crowds, giving people instant access to guns is unrealistic. I do feel the need for a nationalized standard for gun ownership, and an effective waiting period. I also think the standards need reveiwed and periodically updated. Why shouldn’t there be a national program, run by the states, that in effective licenses gun owners? You can even have classes, just like drivers licenses (yes, I know there are firearms classes, but why not expand it: Sporting Rifles, Handguns, Assualt Weapons, Automatic Weapons, etc). You could enlist law enforcement to develop standardized programs. I, for one, have no problem doing all this because I know that the added safety of these steps will help reduce random gun violence like the Virginia Tech Massacre. Take the impulse out of gun crime. Add tougher penalties to any crime involving a gun. Do what is required to make sure every citizen is safe, without removing the second most important amendment* to the Constitution.
But, and here is the real point of my ramblings, in order for this to work, everyone must work together. Both sides must stop being polar opposites and work together. This is the basis of our entire system. Nothing will ever get done unless we are willing to make compromises within the framework provided by our founding fathers. They wanted us to be just like the original minute men. Ready to defend our country on a moments notice. But they also wanted to make sure that every American can sleep safe at night, gun ownership or not. Good gun purchasing control programs coupled with education requirements can go a long way to accomplishing both the goals.
Now for the *
1) I once read an article on Operation Red Book. Since then I, like the creators of South Park, have used Canada when referring to an invasion threat to the USA. I want to assure any Canadians that I am not serious and that I respect their culture and rights to exist to our north.
2) Since it is number 2, the framers only thought of one item they wanted to put before it.
Take care, God Bless
~ M. Fairway
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