Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Real Quandary 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 always sounded pretty simple to me.  It had one straightforward purpose. Citizens have the right to keep weapons in their homes to protect their properties, primarily to protect the nation from possible corruption of government leaders causing law enforcement or military to be corrupted also and potentially enable repression to turn a democracy into a stratocracy military dictatorship even tyranny. Now that all the buzz words are on the table for the legitimate reasons for the second amendment, it may be good to understand the key distinction compared to the remaining nine amendments in the bill of rights. Most amendments indicate responsibility. For those who don’t have time to go look them up on Wikipedia®: The right to say what you want without being criminally, (not so much litigiously) responsible for what may ensue as a result; not being required to house soldiers; not being searched; not being required to say what will incriminate you, right to speedy trials, right to a jury when it is a civil case, right to bail, additional rights and everything not addressed be left up to the states, or to the people rather than the federal government). The second is the only one enabling citizens to have the right to own or possess something they are able to kill other people using, without requiring them to have any knowledge or responsibility for learning to use them. If I am over 21, I can go purchase a handgun and keep it in my home and all’s well. In some states I can carry them openly in a holster on the street (or even in a bar while drinking); in others I cannot do so but still am not required to know how to use it in order to own it. With situations like Florida's law to stand your ground law, would it infringe on those rights to require a person who owns a method of killing someone to be required on a Federal level, to learn how to use it? The overall prevention of multiple errors causing accidental fatalities and the overall public good brought about by a learning permit/license to carry seems like a viable option that even the NRA might be able to support. It is not a way to prevent 2nd amendment rights, but a way to facilitate the overall security of them. If we developed a federal law signifying that while everyone of legal age can go purchase a weapon, before they use it (on a deer or a quail or a person) they need remedial training to keep it loaded in their home or carry it on their person. This could prevent a great deal of the incidents that put the 2nd amendment at odds politically and philosophically to the degree it seems to be currently. Whether I’m in the middle of Montana dealing with animals attacking me or in New York City where they from time to time consider auxiliary law enforcement and others being allowed to carry, this would simplify and facilitate gun ownership while reducing the potentially fatal calamities that can occur. Without prohibiting ownership, but instead requiring the conscientiousness to learn what a weapon does in the same way Americans are required to know how to use an automobile before driving on public roads. All of us of driving age can currently get a license and drive a car as soon as we learn to use one. What we cannot do is drive while intoxicated or recklessly use it. We also are vulnerable to both punitive measures and litigation if we do either of these. Would it really dissolve the second amendment and its intended role, if a gun were treated similarly?

1 comment:

  1. I generally agree on the idea of licensing people to carry a firearm. It makes a lot of logical sense when we are dealing with undeniably deadly weapons. But I know why the NRA would never support it. They seem to be pathologically paranoid about a list of gun owners existing somewhere. Usually argued as if this would allow the government to go roundup any guns, and maybe even those who own them, as part of their evil designs on liberty.

    Really, I don't see the NRA as being at all reasoned any more. They have seen nothing but a continued expansion of gun rights over the last 3 years, yet insist on denouncing Obama as 'anti-gun' and hinting at his hidden agenda if re-elected. So, I'm afraid the NRA has become as unstable as far too many conservatives these days.

    What I've always found interesting is that if you just read the 2nd Amendment and try and just look at it in isolation, it seems to me to have little to do with guaranteeing you the right to carry a gun into a bar. I think you could reasonably interpret it as simply talking about guns being needed for a state and/or national militia. You could argue that the National Guard fills this role completely. It's a state militia after all. But somewhere along the way it was interpreted as meaning everyone over 10 years old is Constitutionally endowed with the right to carry a Glock in a hip holster as they go about their day.

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