Sunday, April 22, 2007

Guns, guns, guns

The second amendment reads:

"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."

We talk a lot about the "wisdom of the founding fathers", and how, virtually everything they wrote had meaning, and how it all went back to checks and balances. But, when you talk to second amendment enthusiasts, they want you to believe that the line "A well regulated Militia" is a throwaway line (and means nothing), and the "shall not be infringed" is the key to the 2nd amendment. I have had this debate with many of them. They say things like "what part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand"? I tell them that I'll answer their question when they tell me what a "well regulated militia" is. Over the years, very few have wanted to debate anything of the sort.

I have no desire for anyone to have to give up the guns. But I still, for the life of me cannot understand how Cho, could plunk down money at a pawn shop and the internet and come away with military/police grade guns, and fairly good sized loads of ammunition. It still, several days later leaves me shaking my head in disbelief - and the rush to defend the gun system in the US makes me shake my head even more.

Certainly nobody believes that Cho is part of a "well regulated militia"? Never mind, that he had been adjudicated to be a threat to himself by officials of the State of Virginia. Bottom line, how did this guy get guns? In his depressed and angry state, would he have procured the guns illegally? We'll never know, since he was able to get them easily, legally.

Here's two suggestions (of course nothing will happen to change anything on access to guns in this country because the pro-gun lobby is VERY powerful, with some very deep pockets, and have a lot of politicians who owe them big time).

1. Let's say the right to bear arms is not infringed. BUT, you have to have the kind of weaponry that was available when the bill of rights was written. Hey, the colonials hunted, shot targets and protected themselves with those guns, why not you? I often ask 2nd amendment enthusiasts, do you really believe that the framers would think and act the same way if they could have seen the lethality of current weapons and the speed with which they would kill large amounts of people? Again, few takers on that debate.

2. Let's say you actually have to belong to a "well regulated militia" to be able to buy guns. Attendance at a set amount of meetings enables you to buy a gun (see rule number 1 about the types of guns you can buy). And, I'm not talking about the militias that patrol the border, or the ones who train in compounds out west. I'm talking about a WELL REGULATED militia run by the county you live in. It could be similar to a volunteer fire department - except they would train on how to keep the community safe, and turn out in times of national disasters (and since our National Guard is being dismantled piece by piece in Iraq and Afghanistan, we might well need an organization like that in the near future). Maybe gun ownership comes with a civic price? Again, what did the framers mean by "A well regulated militia"?

Don't ask yourself if this means I'll have to give up my guns (I have no doubt that if tomorrow the government tried to take them, there would be a massive civil disobedience and most Americans would probably keep their guns). Ask yourself how Cho got the guns, and if it was too easy for him. And why it was too easy for him. And if it's easy for him, who else is lurking out there.

No comments: