Thursday, January 17, 2013

Second Amendment Misused By Gun Rights Advocates

Gun rights advocates have long distorted the meaning of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to justify their version of guns rights. The 2nd Amendment is clear, “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.” There is no mention of the type of gun that could be owned.

The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791 when a skilled user could manage to shoot and reload a musket 2 to 3 times per minute. Now the 2nd Amendment is being used to justify the need for civilians to own semiautomatic guns that can hold 100 rounds of ammunition and fire 45 to 60 times per minute or as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. The 2nd Amendment says nothing about the of gun anyone can own, it just says you have the right to own guns. As for the word “infringed” that some gun advocates become unhinged over anytime gun regulation is brought up, it simply means “act so as to limit or undermine.”

The second Amendment deals with the right to own guns and no one has acted to limit our undermine the right of law abiding citizens eligible to own guns from obtaining them or limit how many they can own. When the word infringed is extended to mean that it also includes no regulations on the types of guns available for people to own, that’s where the misuse of the 2nd Amendment occurs. Guns are commercial products produced by companies that design, manufacture and sell them to the public. Guns are designed to launch a projectile into an object and cause damage, if that object happens to be a living being like a deer or person it causes injury or death. If government authorities tasked with maintaining public safety determine that a certain type of gun or ammunition feeding device is involved in excessive human injury or death, they have the duty to address the issue with legislation to protect the public. None of the current gun legislation or proposed changes “infringes” upon anyone’s right to go to their local Walmart, Gander Mountain or Cabellas and buy the available gun of their choice. Please don’t bring up how many people die in automobile accidents compared to firearm deaths because it’s a false comparison, cars are designed for transportation and those deaths result from accidents and bad decision making, not from intention. These shooting spree killers did so with a gun, not a car.

The 2nd amendment is a clear statement in what it means in regards to gun ownership, you have the right to keep and bear arms, period. The 2nd Amendment does not outline the type of guns you have the right to own. Guns are a product just like automobiles, food and drugs. Automobiles, food and drugs are all regulated to ensure that safe products are available on the market. Occasionally regulating agencies will require products that have proved to be a danger to the public to be removed from the marketplace by their manufacturers or move from off the shelf access to prescription required in the case of drugs. Guns are no different than any other product when it comes to public safety. There is nothing magical, mystical or sacred about any one gun type or ammunition magazine that makes it essential for a gun owner to possess.

Jared Lee Loughner was taken down during his shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona when he was trying to reload his semiautomic handgun after his 33 round magazine was empty, but he dropped the second magazine and others on the scene took him down. What if Loughner had a 10 round magazine instead of a 33 round unit, that’s 23 fewer shots before he had to reload, could someone that is gone still be alive? Colin Ferguson methodically shot passengers on a Long Island, New York commuter train with a semiautomatic pistol in December 1993, he emptied and reloaded two 15 round magazines, when Ferguson tried to load a third magazine other passengers took the opportunity to tackle him. If Ferguson was limited to 10 rounds per magazine, would someone that was killed be alive because of 10 fewer shots fired? The 10 round magazine limit proposed is just common sense. Why does any recreational gun owner need a 100 round drum magazine on a civilian semiautomatic rifle like what was used by the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter. If 10 shots can’t handle what is coming at you in a defensive mode then it is likely that more rounds won’t be of much help either.

All of the noise against gun legislation is a smoke screen for the makers and takers. The manufacturers and gun lobby make money and politicians take money. Some gun owners just want to keep getting their favorite grown up toys that resembles the guns used by our brave troops on the battlefield. The sad truth is that we kill over twice as many of each other in the United States than the number of brave troops we have lost to enemy combatants during 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something has to change.

1 comment:

  1. Nice try but it seems the US Supreme Court may disagree with you on this point...In 1994, the D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago decisions didn't exist. There was no judicial barrier to passing bans. Now it is precedent that a) the people have an individual fundamental right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes not dependent upon militia service, b) that holding has been incorporated to the states, and c) Justice Scalia (in the Heller holding) clarified what the U.S. v. Miller (1939) decision actually said.

    Miller established a two-pronged test to define just what types of arms are subject to Second Amendment protection. It held that small arms "in common use" that "bear[s] some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia" enjoy constitutional protection. Semiautomatic rifles and pistols meet both prongs of this test, hence they are proscribed from any government ban. Since the primary purpose enumerated in the amendment is to place the people in parity with government forces viz small arms, standard-capacity magazines (erroneously dubbed "high-capacity ammunition clips") are protected as well because they are design components integral to the efficiency of the weapons. In other words, the very things that are now scary to the uninitiated are those the amendment was written to protect.

    "[T]he Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding." — District of Columbia v. Heller (No. 07-290) 478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.

    The Heller decision also addressed (and dismissed) the argument that the Framers couldn't have envisioned the capability of today's modern weapons. Just as the Internet has supplanted moveable type, so have semi-auto firearms supplanted muskets. The principle involved in both of these rights is not constitutionally affected by the evolution of the mechanisms to exercise them. Now, this may be bad news to some, but it is pure celestial harmony to others.