Friday, April 20, 2007

The 2nd Amendment

Guns are a part of our society. Its a fact. I completely understand that many people want to own guns, particularly for hunting. I think that is perfectly fine, in fact I personally love venison and greatly appreciate the hunters in my family that provide a supply of it. Despite this, I think we need to have a serious discussion of guns and the 2nd amendment.
Before I go any further, I should probably make it clear that I am not a "liberal nut who wants take everone's guns away." I simply think we should reassess our laws and perhaps consider making some laws stricter. In Michigan, for example, you have to have a background check for a pistol but not a rifle. A few years ago, a man in the state wanted to get a gun so he could shoot people at work. When he couldn't get a pistol because of a background check, he simply bought a rifle instead. This makes no sense to me and I do not think it makes sense to most people.

The recent tragedy at VA Tech should have been a catalyst to bring the gun debate back to the forefront. Instead, nearly ever presidential candidate on both sides simply stated that the events were a tragedy but people had the right to own guns. While people can have guns, there is no law that says they have a right to a gun. At this point, most people bring up the 2nd amendment. I have no problem with this argument, but people in this debate seldom actually discuss the 2nd amendment. They usually only talk about part of the amendment. You know which apart I'm talking about, "the right to bear arms." The part no one ever want to talk about is the part referring to "a well regulated Militia." While I am not a lawyer, I think I have a basic understanding of the law. My understanding is that we must consider the entire law and not just the parts that we like (despite the current Presidents attempt to do so through signing statements). The 2nd amendment guarantees "the right to bear arms" to "a well regulate Militia." This essentially means the Michigan National Guard. Why are they guaranteed the right you may ask? The amendment is about the states being able to defend themselves from oversteps by the federal government. The Michigan National Guard is that defense. They report to the Governor and not the President.

Despite the fact that the 2nd amendment only guarantees guns to the "Militia," there is no law that says that individuals cannot have guns. In the interest of society, we should make sure that the citizens that do have guns are not within our best knowledge a threat to themselves or others. I find it hard to believe that many people would think that this precaution is unreasonable. If you don't have a criminal record, mental problems, or other concerns then you would be able to get a gun. You just might have to wait a week to get it, but that should not be a big deal. I cannot think of any reason that someone would go to buy a gun and have to have it at that exact moment. If you are going to start hunting, then you have to plan ahead enough that you can get a background check so you can pick up your gun before you go. This is not unreasonable and it is not restricting upstanding citizens from owning guns.

We have a responsibility as a society to protect our children and the current laws are not doing that. We have heard over the past few years about several major shootings at schools (VA Tech, the Amish School in PA, Columbine), what we tend to not hear about are all the single shootings that occur unless that happen in our area. I recall a couple years ago where an elementary school girl in Flint was shot by a classmate and a few months ago when a girl in Midland was shot outside of her school by a boyfriend. These are the local incidents that we hear about. What about all the other ones across the country we don't hear about. Kids are shooting kids, our schools are not safe. We must address this and we must address it now.

1 comment:

johnboy29 said...

An intelligent reasoned argument that the NRA will readily reject.