The second amendment of the Constitution reads 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.” The Founding Fathers, acutely aware of both internal and external threats to this nation’s existence, envisioned no greater deterrent […]
The second amendment of the Constitution reads 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.”
The Founding Fathers, acutely aware of both internal and external threats to this nation’s existence, envisioned no greater deterrent to potential invaders of this continent than the thought of provisioning an army large enough to overcome an armed populace in street-by-street warfare. The idea is not without its merits.
The issue before us is how do we achieve the intent of national self-preservation and negotiate the distance between the phrases “well regulated militia” and “shall not be infringed.” With more than 30,000 victims of gun violence each year, it is clear that we have dropped the ball on the “well regulated” side of the argument.
The right to throw your fist ends where the nose of another begins, or so the saying goes. The right to free speech does not extend to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded venue. Rights are not absolute; reasonable limitations on rights are part of our social fabric.
Do not misconstrue any of this commentary as “anti-gun.” My father provided venison and other game to supplement the family diet. He taught his son the power of firearms and to respect them as tools. My military service involved qualification on small arms and carrying them from time to time as a Shore Patrol. It is definitely preferable to have a firearm and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
It is nonetheless worrisome that we are more stringent about licensing and registration of an automobile, the express purpose of which is transportation, than we are about a firearm designed with killing in mind.
For many of us who grew up believing that “gun control” constituted the ability to hit one’s target, the carnage of recent years has tempered our enthusiasm for unbridled second amendment rights. Too many toddlers have killed themselves or others not to support the idea of mandatory trigger locks.
Decades ago, nearly 60,000 people died each year on our nation’s roadways. Government imposed seatbelt and airbag regulations have dropped that number to under 40,000. Can you imagine a world with a 30 percent reduction in gun deaths?
Polls suggest that a super-majority of Americans support the idea of at least some incremental changes in gun control laws. Let’s resolve in this New Year 2016 to inundate our legislators and the National Rifle Association with a call for common sense legislation that better protects the fundamental right of all to live and breathe.