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’.
The Supreme Court decided that the word militia used here is descriptive and not restrictive. I disagree. I don’t know that it should be restrictive but it could be. I do not however believe that it is descriptive. This amendment was written over 200 years when there were actually militias that were armed with muskets and a few years later revolvers (no semi-automatic pistols or shotguns), not for ordinary citizens living in today’s society.
Over the past couple of days, since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the issue of gun control is a hot topic. I am stunned, angered and disappointed that I have been repeatedly hearing all over the media (when the question is raised whether or not this tragedy will put gun control high on a priority list in Washington) how feared the National Rifle Association is and that because they are very powerful lobbyists that the answer to that question is no.
Regardless of mine or anyone else’s opinion on the matter of gun control it should outrage any American that the issue isn’t even brought up out of fear of this organization. It has the aura of The Mafia or a Fascist Regime. Last time I checked the people and the government were in charge. Not the NRA or any other organized group of radicals.
Getting past the political threat of the NRA, let’s put gun control on the table. Let me start by saying I shot my first gun when I was 10 years old. I started hunting at the age of 13. I bought my first handgun, a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum 3 1/2 inch stainless steel barrel, when I was 18. I also have in my closet the 30-6 that belonged to my dad. When my oldest daughter was 5 years old I took her out shooting with us. With her hands on the grip of my pistol and my hands around hers and the grip we pulled the trigger. It scared the shit out of her and from that moment on any curiosity that might have been sparked about any gun she might see somewhere in our house was satisfied. I also never allowed my kids to have or play with toy guns, not even squirt guns because I kept real ones in my home and on my and young children don’t know the difference. I have always lived in New Mexico and now Arizona which have some of if not the most relaxed gun laws in the country. The only restriction on handguns in both of these states is that without a permit your weapon cannot be concealed. A gun can be carried in a holster in any and all public places.
Back to gun control. Here’s what I propose;
First and foremost, legal age to buy a gun should be 21, not 18. If you aren’t old enough to drink you damn sure aren’t old enough to own a gun.
Second, include in the background check for gun purchase applicants:
- any restraining orders as a result of domestic violence complaints, not convictions but complaints
- drug testing, include screening for any applicants required by law to attend AA meetings or any substance abuse classes
- any mental health history including if the applicant is currently taking antidepressants or anti-psychotic medications
- applicants required by law to attend anger management classes.
Now before anyone starts yelling that this is a violation of privacy or civil rights let me throw this out there. The federal government requires all those conditions I mentioned being met before they will give an applicant asking for Social Security Disability Benefits any money, or for those applying for Food Stamps or Welfare.
Next, put a limit on the amount of ammunition and magazine clips any one individual can purchase. There is a reasonable number that can be agreed upon that would be needed for protection. Requests for larger amounts for hunting should require one to show a hunting license. There should be further restrictions here, if the hunting license is for ducks then purchasing a gun or ammunition for shooting polar pears or elephants should not be legal.
There also needs to be a limit on how many guns one individual can own. One limit for handguns and a separate limit for rifles, allowing ownership of both without counting them together.
There are limits on how many drinks one person can have in front of them at one time, there are limits on pills can be dispensed at one time for certain prescriptions, there are limits on how many dogs someone can own, and there are limits on how many children one adult can babysit at a time.
Anyone purchasing a gun should be required to take a class on gun safety and to take shooting lessons followed by a written test requiring a passing grade as well as a requirement to pass an eye exam.
Let me state that prior to getting a driver’s license you must have had a learners permit for a certain length of time and there is a certain amount of driving time required. Driving and written tests as well as eye exams are also required before the DMV will give anyone a driver’s license.
I hear the protests but I am not done yet.
Hold whoever sold any guns and or ammunition to someone who gets convicted of a crime involving the gun they sold to them responsible to some degree, and charge gun owners whose family members are convicted a crime involving one of their guns with at the very least negligence or reckless endangerment, unless they reported their guns stolen prior to any crime is committed.
One more time before the protests…
Bartenders and liquor store owners and customer service reps are held responsible for selling alcohol to any individuals who gets convicted of DWI or those convicted of vehicular homicide while driving drunk. Homeowners are held responsible if a child drowns in their backyard pool if there wasn’t a fence.
I absolutely know that what I am proposing will be seen as a violation of certain civil rights.
When dealing with something that can and does kill, civil rights come in second. Owning a gun needs to be considered a privilege, not a right. Any American who wants the privilege of owning a gun should respect rights of other Americans to be protected from unstable people be able to buy or own a gun.
Besides, anyone who doesn’t have anything to hide has nothing to worry about. Protesters need to get over being ‘inconvenienced’. They need to deal with it.
Now let’s address what kinds of guns should be illegal.
If, as the general protest is, everyone has the right bear arms for protection what in God’s name could anyone possibly need to be protected from that would require an assault rifle or a 16 round Glock 10 millimeter? The name ‘assault’ rifle alone says it all. And a Glock 10 mm? These guns are issued to Forrest Rangers to use in case they are confronted with a polar bear.
In addition if someone needs 16 rounds, extra magazines or hundreds of extra bullets to ‘protect’ themselves then either they need to take shooting lessons or they are being assaulted by a tank or an army and no amount of ammo is gonna help.
Now to voice my complaints about the current gun laws.
Gun laws should be written and enforced at a federal level and should be consistent nationwide, not left up to individual states. Plus, defendants facing any gun related charge (including if so charged, those who sold or owned the weapon used) should only be tried in a federal court and sentenced by a federal judge, not in a county or municipal court and not by a local or district judge.
I will end this post on a very personal note.
When I purchased my handgun I took shooting lessons and I was taught by a Marine how to keep, load, carry, clean, disassemble and reassemble my weapon. I never left my weapon lying around when I didn’t live alone nor was it easily accessible to anyone else but myself.
I make these proposals even though I have been convicted for what I feel were unfair gun charges. One of which was unlawful possession of a firearm. I lost my right to vote and to own a gun in 1983, almost 30 years ago, and I have been refused every presidential pardon I have applied for. (The federal law requires a presidential pardon for gun crime convictions that can only be requested once every 7 years).
As the legal owner of a .357 magnum and a resident of New Mexico, where the only restriction on owning and carrying a handgun is that it cannot be concealed without a permit, I took my gun with me on a trip to the state of Iowa where handguns are illegal. I take responsibility for not checking the gun laws in Iowa or any state I drove through for that matter and blame no one but myself. But, I don’t agree with or understand how I was convicted of a federal crime for violating a state law.
I fight for the right to bear arms.
I also fight for more gun control laws.
Would more laws be an ‘inconvenience’? I don’t know, let’s ask the faculty and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School.