“The Second Amendment was designed to allow states to defend themselves against a possible tyrannical national government. Now that the federal government has stealth bombers and nuclear weapons, it is hard to imagine what people would need to keep in the garage to serve that purpose.” ~ Judge Robert Bork
I have been listening to the pro gun supporters and all their feeble reasons as to why they think the United States government does not have the right to infringe on an individual’s right to bear arms. One common theme is they believe the author of the Bill of Rights, James Madison, in writing the Second Amendment, wanted individual citizens to be armed in the event they needed to could rise up in bloody battle against the fledgling government he and the other Founders of the nation were creating.
This thinking is so unfounded. First, the Founders – including Madison – were of the 1%; they were a part of the elite of colonial society. Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and most of the rest, were very rich ruling class white men who owned slaves and land. They did not want to be free of England because of the altruistic reasons portrayed by history books; they wanted to be free of England so they could cut King George out of his take of their wealth.
I am sure some of the more liberal members of the Continental Congress believed in the democratic philosophies espoused by men like Patrick Henry and John Adams but the idea they would create a government that had a fail safe, that would allow the “people” the ability to rise up and overthrow their new government, is ludicrous.
The most recent Supreme Court opinions reaffirmed the individual’s right to possess a hand gun in the home for self-protection. The court has also ruled States have the right to control who owns guns, citing felons, the mentally handicapped and the young can be denied that basic right under the constitution.
In the late 1960s states such as California, under the leadership of then Governor Ronald Reagan, instituted strict gun control measures because of the perceived threat created by the Black Panther Party and Native Americans. Reasons cited included that the great threat to society outweighed any infringement on gun ownership. Seeing 30 black men and women with weapons on the steps of the California capitol scared the white establishment into gun controls that were not only supported but written by the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA).
As Judge Bork pointed out, Madison laid out in the Constitution the ability of states to have militias in the event that the federal government became tyrannical. What the Obama administration has done in its executive plans for reducing gun carnage does not even come close to any definition of tyrannical and yet you hear voices calling for secession, bloody conflict and an individual’s right to decide if they should arm themselves to the teeth for fear of the federal government.
Comparable ideas have already been decided by the courts and public opinion; the Timothy McVeighs of America are domestic terrorists and should be dealt with just as any threat to America’s sovereignty. The Civil War is over, there is not going to be any armed uprising – and the people who think a bloody conflict is the only way for a society to resolve differences are out of touch with reality.
The estimated number of guns in America is 300,000,000 - almost one for each of us. Gun proliferation has now crossed the line of public safety into a public health issue. Gun deaths will out number auto accident deaths in America by 2015, becoming the number one cause of death in the land.
Critics cite other factors such as video games and movies for gun violence, but what never changes is the fact that the proliferation of guns has made America a very dangerous place for every citizen. Reasonable people will come up with reasonable public health initiatives that can and will reduce the number of citizens who are killed or maimed by guns. The choice is very clear: do Americans want to live in a land that allows more than 30,000 citizens to die needlessly each and every year, or do we want to live in a free and open society where terror is eliminated and laid to rest?