January 8, 2016
As the debate over gun rights heats up once again, this time after President Barack Obama lashed out against the National Rifle Association and the firearms industry during a gun-control town hall event this past Thursday in Fairfax, Virginia, I find it absurd that those Americans who cite the Second Amendment as the right of every American to own whatever weapon of mass destruction they so desire, all fail to mention the entire wording of the actual amendment.
Proponents of gun ownership, the NRA and the firearms industry scream out that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives every citizen the right to keep and bear arms. However, these folks all seem to leave out the extremely significant first four words of the actual amendment. The Second Amendment, as passed by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill Of Rights states, “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.” A well regulated militia, in this day and age, to me and I think most every educated person would agree would refer to the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the National Guard. Yet, these very important, first four words of the Second Amendment are never mentioned by gun advocates. It’s as if those words do not exist.
In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued two rulings regarding the Second Amendment over the years. In United States v. Cruikshank, the court ruled in 1876 that “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to only that of the federal government. Furthermore, in 1939, the court ruled in United States v. Miller that both the federal government and individual states could limit any type of weapon not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”
America’s fascination with firearms has evolved into becoming the most violent nation on Earth, with the possible exception of those countries who are presently engaged in actual warfare, which it seems would include this nation as we have been at war (or wars) for twenty-five of the past thirty years. And, even more incredibly, America, which was founded on the mass genocide of its indigenous people, have been engaged in some sort of military conflict two hundred and twenty-three years out of our two hundred and forty-year existence. We are arguably the most violent nation in our planet’s history. Even our entertainment, be it football, movies, television, music and especially video games, are all heavily geared toward violence and mayhem. I find it sadly ironic that video games, first devised by the military to train young soldiers for the horrors of war are now given to children for Christmas presents.
There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine clip, yet our politicians who dare have the courage to speak up for sensible gun laws quiver in fear of reprisal from the National Rifle Association. Politicians who do speak out in favor of new gun control legislation face the wrath of the NRA come their next election. To believe that arming every citizen is the answer to curbing gun violence, as the NRA espouses is just preposterous.
Growing up during the hay-day of Westerns ruling television networks, the image I always remember is that the very first thing the town sheriff did when rowdy cowboys came into town after a long, hard cattle drive to visit the local saloons was to take away their guns. However, just the opposite is occurring throughout America as more and more cities and states are allowing the concealed carrying of firearms into drinking establishments.
Over the past seven years, the NRA has convinced a good number of Americans that President Obama’s hidden agenda is to take away all their firearms. Yet, in the only two firearm bills signed into law to date by this president during his presidency lessons current restrictions on gun control, contrary to popular opinion. If a person wants to own a firearm, fine, join a well-regulated militia as required by the Second Amendment. We, as a country always seem to be at war, so there will always be a need for someone who aspires to shoot something. I see nothing wrong with a hunter owning a few rifles, and have many friends who hunt, but as a general rule, hunters do not shoot their prey with assault rifles capable of firing hundreds of rounds semi-automatically without having to reload. For anyone to have the ability to purchase military assault weapons capable of creating the type of massacre seen in this country time and again over the past twenty years is asinine.
Be it this country’s latest, senseless mass shooting, the tens of thousands of murders committed every year in America’s inner cities or our seemingly endless, countless wars, this is a violent, violent nation.
Steven H. Spring