As I watch videos of men in fatigues marching streets with assault-rifles …… There are few topics that bring about as much passion, debate, frustration, and anger, as the topic of firearms and the right of ownership. First of all, the numbers do not lie, the United States in among the most gun-violent nations in the world. Depending on the study and the measure methods used, we likely have the highest per capita rate of gun violence in the world. In addition, we have tragically high rates of domestic gun attacks, accidental gun deaths, and the visible horrors of mass shootings.
To the point of this post, those statistics are not relevant. Right here and now the thought is of but one thing, is gun ownership a right for all citizens?
This is where openness and honesty is a must as before I began my more in-depth reading I would have argued no. Upon reading the amendment, related federalist papers, and various court rulings, I feel that I likely was wrong and will admit to that fact. As written, and as explained, I find it hard to disagree with the courts and other scholars … it does appear that the intent was to ensure private citizens could in fact own firearms. So this brings me to a key point in the discussion, what does “well-regulated” mean? This I feel is the true gray area in which discussion resides.
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can refuse ownership of military grade and military-esque weapons?
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can demand background checks for all weapons and ammunition purchases?
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can dictate training, licensing, and insurance requirements for gun use in the same way required for car operation?
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can refuse gun ownership to those convicted of violent crimes, diagnosed as mentally ill, or are in any way legally deemed dangerous to themselves or others?
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can refuse open carry of firearms?
Does well-regulated mean state and federal laws can allow businesses choice in whether or not to allow firearms on their premises?
To that end, all my reading points to a strong yes for each question. State and federal laws in these areas in no way infringe on the ultimate right of owning a weapon for those not legally and logically disqualified from doing so. General federal guidelines with states then owning the level of adjusting and requirements seems to fall in line with conservative thinking as well, with the unfortunate exception being gun ownership. Here it seems nothing less than an all-clear for everyone is acceptable which in a civilized society is ultimately unreasonable.
With that I’ve probably ruffled the feathers of those on the liberal and conservative sides of this debate, and I’m OK with that. I’ll conclude this is a topic where I will continue reading and learning and I expect to continue growth in understanding of what our founding fathers truly meant with our so heavily debated 2nd Amendment.
UPDATE October 3, 2017 – Yesterday our country experienced the worst mass shooting in *recent* history. 50+ dead and 500+ injured from ONE man in ONE place. The time to discuss “well-regulated” has come and gone, risen and fallen, approached and passed many times over. We cannot allow this to continue. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons, tactical gear, silencers and suppressors (despite not doing what TV and movies show), armor piercing ammunition (also despite not doing what TV and movies show) must be discussed. They are not needed for self defense. They are not needed for home defense. They are not needed for hunting. The time is NOW to admit that being pro private gun ownership and pro strong common sense gun control laws are NOT mutually exclusive. Training, registering, licensing, and insuring them as we do any high-risk device or profession is not an infringement on any right. A country that makes owning a deadly weapon of any kind a right while saying the healthcare required after an attack with said weapon is a privilege is a country with a morality problem. We must be better than this. We must make a change. Now.