Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Political Tuesdays - Second Amendment

I was sitting with my family at a local Mexican restaurant for my wife's birthday. Here is the conversation that took place between me and two of my daughters.

22-Year-Old: I am joining the gym.

David: Why?

22-Year-Old: Well, when I go out running the neighborhood, I get home and hear gunshots around the corner (a few months ago, they were in front of the house, that last time there were in the neighborhood).

David: Get a gun.

22-Year-Old: Yeah, right. I'll just shove one in my running shorts.

6-Year-Old: Don't do that, you'll shoot your privates off.

So much for advancing the dialog for safe and legal gun ownership.

U.S. Constitution: 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.

As an average citizen untrained in constitutional law, I have a couple of thoughts. First, what is a well regulated militia? Second, doesn't this give me the right to own a weapon that I can be a part of the protection of a free state; free of tyranny and oppression from the government and foreign enemies? I don't have the answers to those questions.

US Courts have determined this right to include the following SOURCE:
- Deterring undemocratic government
- Repelling invasion
- Suppressing insurrection
- Facilitating a natural right of self-defense
- Participating in law enforcement
- Enabling the people to organize a militia system

Those that originally debated the 2nd in Congress, saw the personal right to bear arms as a potential check against tyranny. I see that as the primary purpose of having a personal weapon. On 9/11 most of us in the office chose to bear arms until we found out what and who the threat was. Had the terrorism spread, I am sure many folks would have preferred to be armed.

There are may pros and cons regarding legal gun ownership. Even the most right-wing enthusiasts agree the illegal gun ownership should be a punishable crime. And they'd like see them off the street.

In Boston, Police Chief, Ed Davis was on the radio (WBZ 1030 AM) asking for a mandatory 10 year sentence for illegal gun possession. The media billed it as "increased gun control." What he asked for was tougher sentencing at the country club we call jail - which has better care than most nursing homes - for felons that are caught with guns legal or otherwise.

For the record, Massachusetts has one of the toughest right to carry laws in the US. Here are some of the requirements.

- Cannot have been institutionalized for mental health or addiction problems.
- Cannot have any convictions for felonious crimes.
- Cannot have had any misdemeanor convictions for assault or a restraining order.
- One must have personal references to obtain a permit.
- One must pass State Police sanctioned training and a written test.

Lots of folks, like me, question the shootings at Virginia Tech. Those were legal guns. For 2nd Amendment supporters, that is a bitter pill. However; if VA had the same laws as MA, the shooter would not have been able to purchase a gun, or be licensed for one.

It is hard to find reliable stats on gun deaths on the Internet. The debate is polarized and emotional and I find statistics very one-sided.

I would like some conclusive stats on how many legal gun deaths vs. illegal gun deaths are we talking about. Is it true that if guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns? That is my opinion. It is also my opinion that left leaning news sources do not want that fact to get out.

Any gun death is not a just a gun death. Why we don't focus on illegal guns, as BPC Ed Davis asked, can't we have tougher laws? It is beyond me. I find it interesting that the suicide rate by guns is often lumped together with all gun related fatalities.

I also find it interesting the Vermont does NOT require a permit to carry a concealed handgun - nothing. They are way down in the death by gun statistics, where NY, MA, CA a way up in the standings, and have strict gun permitting laws.

The other issue is children that are exposed to firearms where a shooting occurs. This scenario is preventable. If properly trained and permitted adults have guns, a gun safe to secure them should be mandatory. There is absolutely no reason that an adult should ever have an "out of control" of a weapon. It should carried or locked. Duh!

Children in schools with guns; are you kidding me? Again, there are mostly opinions and few facts. It appears from my limited research, that these are again, illegal guns, or ones that are "out of control" of the rightful owners. Schools where kids feel the need to protect themselves, is entirely another issue.

Automatic weapons ban? Fully automatic weapons are illegal. The one use in the North Hollywood Robbery a number of years ago were illegal, and illegally modified.

Much of the reported shootings take place in urban areas. Boston records about one a week. Interestingly Chicago has ban in legal guns. Their homicide rate is 9 times greater than Honolulu, Hawaii who also has a legal gun ban. More insane, an 80-year-old man was robbed and bought an illegal handgun to protect him and his family. He killed an intruder who shot at him first. He may face charges. STORY

In Malden, MA just a few weeks ago, a licensed gun owner shot and killed one would-be bugler, and wounded another. HERE is that story: Is this an isolated incident? Google it , there are licensed gun owners that protect themselves and their loved ones everyday in the US.

The CDC has exact stats on murders in the US - but again, they do not differentiate between legal/illegal guns.

Even the FBI does not classify homicides by the method.

We often hear the phrase, "if one life is saved, then we should pass anti-gun legislation." Conversely, if those legally possessing and using firearms save a life or two or three, can't we view it from that perspective?

And yes, there are even some countries where guns are illegal that top the US for violent homicides each year.

I do not believe there is any conclusive evidence, either here in the states, or abroad proves that guns, or the lack of guns reduces death by gun statistics. I believe the most common factor in preventing tragic deaths, is cultural, not control.

So the last issue is this. Why would a Christian need to defend themselves. HERE is more on that.

How about you, can you support the constitutional right to bear arms? Can you join me in asking for sane legislation for gun permitting?


Charlie Chang said...

I think we go this amendment all wrong. I think the founding fathers really meant that we have a right to "bear" arms. :)


photogr said...

If we are legislated out of the right to bear arms, only the criminals will have guns. I think that scenario is a disaster waiting to happen. They are allready better armed than most police officers.

As it is now, most Americans have a rifle for hunting or a hand gun for protection. Sadly the criminals have assault rifles, machine guns, and high powered repid fire pistols.

In Cincinnati recently two police officers were shot at with a machine gun in a drive by shooting. I witnessed a drug deal go down at the new community where I am trying to clean up and reported it to police. When the police apprehended the Herion dealer he had an Uzi machine gun and a glock pistol ( both unregistered).

We don't need to take the law abiding citizens right to bear arms away. What we need to do is be sure the criminals don't get guns. Stiffer penalties and halting the sale of unregistered guns might be a start if the police can find the criminals.

What is the old saying touted by gun lobyist? "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." There might be some truth to that.

Although I choose not to have a gun around because of a hair trigger temper, the thought of at least having an AK47 or one of the new police short assault rifle has sparked my interest not to mention criminals becoming more heavily armed seems to sway my though process.

As far as banning the right to bear arms by us being questioned by the Washington bunch now in power, I think that is a ploy to disarm the American citizens there by leaving us denfensless against their socialist agenda.

Not that I want to be able to go around and shoot people. I would feel safer if I now owned some tactical fire power for self defense.

As far as your question at the end of your article, The answer is yes.

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