Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2nd Amendment Talk

Once again, we are hearing more about the 2nd amendment in the current debate on gun control.  I’m not a scholar on such matters, but it seems even a basic understanding of history is lost by so many.  I do believe the original intent of the second amendment was to allow the people, i.e. the average person, the right to arm himself (and in their world, it was only “himself”) against a tyrannical government.  In this I agree with many gun-rights advocates.  However, there are several important points to consider:

1)      Our government is still “We the People…”  It has been my experience that people throw around the “tyrannical” label to describe the government passing laws they don’t like.  (Democrats:  “Republicans are tyrants!”  Republicans:  “Democrats are tyrants!”)  I’m no more naïve about this than Lincoln was when he described our government as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  When we step back and look at our nation’s history, we usually get the government we deserve – good and bad.

2)      If I’m wrong about #1, do we believe for a second that our ability to own firearms, of any type, would protect us against a tyrannical government with fighter jets, stealth bombers, armed drones, guided missiles, and nuclear weapons?  Now who is being naïve?  “Red Dawn” is just a movie.  Really.  I would suggest protecting ourselves adequately from a potential tyrant means more, today, than stockpiling weapons (Education, perhaps?).

3)      Those who wrote (and passed) the 2nd amendment could never have imagined the automatic and semi-automatic firearms we have today and the sheer volume of killing power they grant to those so armed.  Of course, they likely also could not have imagined a world where some human beings could not own other human beings.  Or where woman are citizens, who can vote and stuff.  Perhaps we should recognize we live a different world (thankfully) than our founders could have imagined and consider how we might honor the best of their intentions for a new day.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not for a blanket banning of guns or even for blindly moving forward with regulation without adequate research and study.  As the article I posted yesterday on Facebook suggests, what we really need to do is adequately study the success, or lack of success, of current gun laws, both in our country and other countries.  Unfortunately, the powerful pro-gun lobby has blocked even research into these questions.

Increasing regulation on gun ownership and use will not solve all of our violence problems in our country.  At best they are only one part of a larger discussion we need to be having.  However, refusing to even have a discussion of our options regarding guns and hiding behind the 2nd amendment in doing so is ridiculous.

Grace and peace,
James