The Second Amendment to the Constitution
“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. ”
Todd’s Overall View
First of all, let me confess that I am one progressive Democrat who actually believes in our (law-abiding) citizenry’s right to own guns. Hunting and sporting activities are an accepted part of American culture, and some would argue hunting is not only stringently regulated, but also a necessary tool to control certain animal (over-)populations from seasonal starvation. And while many liberal friends would consider me a rube for thinking so, a SMALL part of me — coming from my civil liberties side — is even moved SLIGHTLY by the historic argument that a right to bear arms is our citizenry’s last defense against tyranny. I think the rise of Trumpism only adds credence to that argument. That said, please note the all-caps emphasis, as well as my belief that there are just far too many guns in this country — we certainly have more than we need to protect against fascist-like tyranny.
But I feel even MORE STRONGLY that putting rules on the sale of guns, gun use, ammunition, and limiting our right to certain guns is absolutely necessary and allowable. The amendment doesn’t read “keep and bear any kind of guns Americans want.” It doesn’t say, “and be sure and manufacture bullets that can pierce a bullet-proof vest.” It doesn’t even say or suggest HOW MANY guns Americans should or can own. Do Americans really need AR-15s to hunt? NOPE. Do Americans need an AR-15 to stop a home intruder? NOPE. Even an intruder WITH an AR-15? …well, if we smartly regulate guns, that intruder won’t have an AR-15. So make your shots count until the police arrive.
Does anyone feel their free speech rights were violated when the Supreme Court declared one can’t arbitrarily create panic by shouting “fire” in a theater? NOPE. Were their riots and protests over this decision? NOPE.
And by the way — who makes up our well regulated militia? One could argue the National Guard and Reserve, and no one doubts their need for guns. Does this alone meet our 2nd Amendment test? Some can argue it could, but there is no doubt the debate over guns could rage for the existence of our history. People who interpret the 2nd Amendment to mean that even suggesting any responsible gun measures are an affront to their liberties are a passionate bunch, to put it mildly. They are not easily swayed by reason, facts, or tragedy, even suggesting ridiculous “wild west” style notions that the only way to stop gun violence is to arm everyone as a deterrent. And how well did that work for the “wild west?”
But there isn’t as much public debate regarding reasonable restrictions on gun ownership and use of ammunition as the media, the NRA or the “passionate bunch” would have you believe.
According to PolitiFACT, even vast majorities of NRA members support reasonable background checks. Check out this passage from the PolitiFACT Texas’ Website:
“PolitiFact identified two other 2013 polls of gun owners. A Pew Research Center poll taken of 1,502 adults from Jan. 9-13, 2013, found 85 percent of some 529 polled gun owners in favor of making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks — nearly identical to the Luntz poll. The gun-owner results had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. A CBS/New York Times poll conducted of 1,110 adults from Jan. 11-15, 2013, showed that 85 percent of respondents living in a household with an NRA member supported universal background checks.
More recently, according to the results of a national January 2013 poll presented in the March 21, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine, 84 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members supported requiring a universal background-check system for all gun sales. The poll was conducted by GfK Knowledge Networks for researchers led by Colleen L. Barry, an associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
And what of Americans in general?
The January Pew poll found 85 percent of all respondents in favor of making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents, Pew said. The margin of error for the entire sample was 2.9 percentage points.
The CBS/New York Times poll indicated that 92 percent of all the respondents favor background checks for all potential gun buyers. The poll had an overall margin of error of three percentage points.
PolitiFact Georgia, looking into a similar claim about support for universal checks, noted a Fox News poll conducted Jan. 15-17, 2013, of 1,008 registered voters. Ninety one percent of respondents said they favor “requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers, including those buying at gun shows and private sales.”
A Quinnipiac University national survey of 772 registered voters, taken Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, 2013, found 92 percent supporting background checks for all gun buyers. The survey, pointed out by Everhart, had a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.
A subsequent Quinnipiac University survey, taken of 1,944 registered voters from Feb. 27, 2013 through March 4, 2013, found 88 percent in favor of background checks for all gun buyers. The poll had a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.”
And these polls were from 2013 — do you think given the growing number of mass shootings, any of these numbers would have gone DOWN? Sadly, when these tragedies occur, gun sales go UP. Talk about exploiting violence for financial gain — thanks, NRA.
What I support
- Universal background checks for ALL gun sales
- Require all gun sellers to be registered businesses that gain a license to sell firearms that must be renewed every 5 years based on meeting an ISO (International Organization on Standardization) quality management system standard (one may have to be written for guns?)
- Require gun “clubs,” like homeowners associations, to register with their respective Secretary of States office in the state in which they congregate, or, if an “online” club, state in which they were founded
- Must be 501c3 nonprofit organizations that cannot profit from the sale or trading of guns
- Regulate gun ownership similar to car ownership
- License to own, with renewal periods based on safe behavior
- Gun safety classes with practical “hands on” training and a 1) written test and 2) witnessed gun use fitness test
- (I don’t even care if the NRA is the organization contracted to conduct such classes and personal use certifications, so long as the NRA doesn’t write the curriculum)
- Curriculum must be universal nationwide
- Liability insurance must be carried for gun ownership, just like we require for car ownership
- Ban on gun sales AND gun ownership for persons on the FBI’s “No Fly List”
- Ban on sale of guns to any domestic abuser… for life
- Ban on most, if not all, assault weapon ownership
- Impose high taxes on the sale of ammunition to, in part, fund gun safety classes and insurance claims paid out to victims of gun violence
- Ban the sale of large capacity clips that can fire off high-count rounds of ammunition in just seconds