Time To Ban the Weapons
"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."
Of all the amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America, this is the most controversial. As with all amendments, especially the first ten, the Bill of Rights, the meaning is open to interpretation. What this meant for the Founders of our country when it was written in the late 18th Century and why this was included in the Constitution are far removed from any meaning we may give it today. It states clearly that a Militia is necessary for the security of a “free state” and today that means a police force – local, state, federal – of some sort. No one that I am aware of is debating that. But the “right” of the people to “keep and bear Arms” is THE topic of conversation, debate, argument and deep divide.
The worst mass killing in the United States occurred early on Sunday morning, June 12. 49 people were killed, many more injured, when one man with a high powered weapon opened fire in a club in Orlando, Florida. The questions about this horrific event are many – was he a Muslim terrorist, was he deranged, did his family and friends know he might commit mass murder, etc. But the big question should be, why was this type of weapon available for purchase by a civilian? Why are any military weapons available for purchase, in stores, on line, at fairs or gun shows? What possible reason could anyone of “we the people” have for owning weapons that have been made for use by trained military or police forces?
To me the “right” to keep and bear arms means that I have the right to own a gun and to use that gun to defend myself should anyone attempt to attack me in my home. In many states, especially in the West, one can also carry a gun, or keep it in the car, to defend against attack. But how does this translate into owning a high powered weapon and hundreds of rounds of ammunition? Is an army going to attack my home? Are we about to be invaded by anyone at all?
I do not hunt, and thus do not need a rifle or any other gun used to kill animals. I do respect the rights of hunters to own such weapons. But again, one does not use a weapon like the one used in Orlando to shoot a rabbit, a deer, or any wild animal that might be threatening humans or livestock.
Why exactly does the NRA object to a ban on the sale of military weapons? Why does any individual need to keep a fully stocked arsenal of weapons? And, the biggest question, why do the men and women who represent “We The People” feel the need to allow this?
There are debates now on who should be allowed to buy a gun. There are problems with this debate, of course, because of the very real possibility of infringing on the rights of citizens who are, for some reason, misidentified as being mentally ill, possible terrorists, criminals. How, for example, can the government, any government local or federal, identify people with mental illness without violating the privacy of their medical records? Most people receiving help for mental illness, or psychiatric conditions, are not in hospitals. Those who are will not be out buying guns. As for the people on a “no fly” list, to enforce putting them on a “no buy” list, the FBI, NSA, HS would have to clean up their acts. There are far too many people are listed as “no fly” by mistake.
For now, the fastest, easiest way to get a bill that might actually help save lives is to legislate the removal of high powered weapons for sale to the general public. And the biggest question I have, why isn’t this the debate, now, today?