Second Amendment vs. Gun Control
6/21/13 – In the wake of several high-profile mass shootings and the reported re-election of Barack Obama, the Left and “Mainstream Media” allied in an unprecedented full-court press attempt to greatly restrict or even eliminate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says: “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.”
Nearly all of the major communications media—news and entertainment—do a continuous blitz to condition citizens for further constraints to Second Amendment rights. Oprah Winfrey, for example, recently did a Harvard commencement speech where she made an impassioned, emotional plea for “gun control.”
Constitutionalists, Conservatives, gun rights organizations such as the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, Tea Parties, militias, Libertarians, have stressed the Second Amendment as a great counterweight to protect the rest of the Bill of Rights and Constitution.
Statists, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Chuck Schumer, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Former Vice President Al Gore and others, including Mr. Obama, have previously stated that civilians should not be permitted arms at all.
Mr. Obama said “you can keep your guns,” even as he has worked to do just the opposite, or to impose restrictions leading to a de facto ban.
Over 50 bills, some radically restricting gun rights, are making their way through the California legislature. Severe, “unconstitutional” restrictions have already been enacted by New York, Colorado, Maryland , New Jersey and other states.
Progressives of both big parties attempted to ram an “assault weapons” ban, enhanced background checks and other things through the United States Congress, but were stopped cold. However, they are re-grouping, campaigning and negotiating.
Ventura County, CA
The Ventura County Supervisors made a symbolic 4-1 vote to endorse a federal gun ban, with only Supervisor Peter Foy dissenting. Officials informally polled universally either failed to respond or said they would support and enforce whatever laws were passed.
Mr. Obama, in January, 2013, released “Executive Orders” of questionable legality to impose restrictions, saying he couldn’t wait for Congress to act. http://www.ijreview.com/2013/01/30518-president-obamas-23-executive-orders-on-gun-violence/
Law Enforcement and State Actions
Some 18 Sheriffs’ associations and 463 Sheriffs nationwide as of this month have refused to enforce new, unconstitutional gun statutes- http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights/. Colorado Sheriffs even brought a lawsuit over gun control.
Police Departments, being under control of legislatures, tend to await the guidance of their masters, whereas, Sheriffs are acknowledged legally to be the supreme law enforcement authorities in their jurisdictions.
Based upon informal surveys, local law enforcement is somewhat confused about this. Multiple states have nullified or are in the process of nullifying unconstitutional federal gun statutes.
The Case for Gun Control
Those opposed to the Second Amendment have pointed out that the Constitution was written in a simpler, more primitive era, before more terrifying weapons technologies were created.
Muskets in colonial times were limited to a single shot and slow to reload, so mass shootings might have been more easily prevented back then.
Gun control supporters believe that our government is benevolent and the idea of opposing the government, especially with deadly force, is outmoded, even absurd. They also point out that civilians with arms could never hope to oppose the government. Furthermore, they believe that civilian use of arms for defense against crime creates more problems than it solves and that people no longer need arms for self-defense.
Their belief is that we have a “living Constitution,” which can morph to updated interpretations, based upon current popular interpretations, trends, circumstances and exigencies, without even having to formally amend it, but only law enforcement modifications and court rulings. Gun control supporters want to use this claimed flexibility and power to institute gun control by statues and executive action, which constitutionalists believe is blatantly illegal.
Gun control supporters state that the United States has one of the highest gun death rates and gun ownership rates in the “civilized world” and that mass murders are proliferating, endangering children—all citizens, actually.
Gun control supporters point with pride to a lowering of gun deaths, which they attribute to gun control and a general drop in the crime rate due to improvements in life in our nation. Gun control supporters want to immediately eliminate civilian possession of so-called “assault weapons” which they believe encompass semiautomatic rifles with removable magazine and certain convenience features to enhance portability, reloading, high capacity and close-quarter handling suitability.
Automatic weapons, military explosives, artillery in civilian hands were nearly completely eliminated many decades ago, with a fair degree of consensus.
Gun control supporters claim that guns in homes are more likely to cause gun deaths. They believe, as Mr. Obama said, that restrictions are justified, if even only one life is saved. They concede that restrictions sometimes result in higher crime, but believe that a regimen of protracted, severe, strongly enforced restrictions will succeed. They reject armed citizenry as necessary to prevent tyrannical government, claiming that modern democracies are benevolent.
They opine that the Second Amendment only authorized use of arms as part of a militia, that said militia is now the National Guard and that a standing army and police protecting us have eliminated the need for civilians to be armed.
Gun control supporters concede that hunting may continue, under tightly controlled rules. They say that arming citizens will not reduce gun murders.
The Case for the Second Amendment
Second Amendment supporters tend to interpret this amendment more literally and believe that restrictions on responsible gun ownership and use should be minimal, if at all. They generally agree that felons and those with mental impairments, which could make them prone to violence, should be barred from access to firearms. Most believe that minors should only utilize firearms under tight supervision.
“It is clear that the Framers…counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.”–Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. in McDonald et al. v. City of Chicago, Illinois, et al.
“The Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful proposed, most notably for self-defense within the home.”–From Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Second Amendment advocates believe in the wisdom and experience of the founders in establishing this amendment in perpetuity for all Americans who followed them. They state that militia and the individual right to arms are separate and have been supported since colonial times. According to them, the Citizens’ militia, also known as “unorganized militia,” exists separate and distinct from the National Guard. All able bodied men are technically militia and should train with local units formed.
In response to Mr. Obama’s nationalizing many National Guard units, some state Governors have responded by forming State Guards, which has vexed the Obama Administration and allegedly elicited threats to multiple Governors.
Second Amendment supporters wonder why gun control and why now? Of all the safety issues, gun deaths are nowhere near the principal cause of untimely deaths. Untimely deaths are caused more by accidents, drug abuse, medical malpractice than by guns. Gun deaths are in fact down by half since 1992, even as gun sales soared to stratospheric heights and some gun control rules have been scrapped.
Gun control rarely reduces gun violence and in fact has helped lead to the greatest genocides of all time and totalitarian control. Places in the United States with the greatest gun controls—Chicago and Washington DC—are hellholes of gun violence, while Kennesaw, Georgia, which legally mandates gun ownership, has no gun murders at all.
Mr. Obama has said that “weapons of war have no place on American streets,” as he puts weapons of war of unprecedented quantity and sophistication on the streets in the hands of military, law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Park Service and 70 plus agencies.
In fact, mass murders have not increased as gun control advocates claim, but reporting of them has. Second Amendment advocates observe that most mass gun murders are perpetuated by
young, alienated, white, liberal, “crazy” males in “gun-free” zones. The worst mass murders in American history were done with bombs and Boeing 767s, not guns.
Some Second Amendment supporters insist that a civilian should be armed like a typical infantryman. However, today’s infantryman is far more heavily armed that any law-abiding civilian, with automatic weapons, grenades, handheld missiles, and ability to call in airstrikes, artillery, even ballistic missiles.
Law abiding citizens do not have anything close to parity with even many criminals, so making that imbalance any worse is a poor idea.
World War II Japanese Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto cited one of the reasons Japan never attempted to invade the United States was because “There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
The gun genie is out of the bottle—we must live with it—and mange it wisely. As for those who say the Second Amendment was written only for muskets and colonial days, was the First Amendment written only for the Gutenberg press and personal live speech?
- Gun deaths are down by half since 1992 (8775 gun murders with 3.5 percent by rifles. So-called “assault rifles” account for a tiny percentage). More people are killed by hammers and clubs than rifles.
- Gun ownership has skyrocketed, even though surveys indicate it has fallen. Nearly 70 million gun background checks were performed during Mr. Obama’s first term alone. Total gun ownership is estimated at 250-280 million. But then numbers could be higher since people are reluctant to confide in surveys, given the stigma of gun ownership.
- About 60 percent of gun deaths are suicides
|Expanded Homicide Data Table 8|
|by Weapon, 2006–2010|
|Firearms, type not stated|
|Knives or cutting instruments|
|Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)|
|Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)1|
|Other weapons or weapons not stated|
|1 Pushed is included in personal weapons.|
4. Nearly half of national gun deaths are caused by one ethnic minority comprising only 13 percent of the population.
5 Violent crime in Great Britain, often cited as a gun control nation, is nearly four times the rate per capita of the United Sates and eight times that of America when the 100 biggest urban areas are omitted. Some 67 percent of American firearm murders took place in the country’s 50 largest metro areas. Some 62 cities have a firearm murder rate of 9.7, which is more than twice the national average. Among teens, the firearm murder rate is 14.6 or almost three times the national average. (Note: These numbers are from six years ago. They have grown worse since.
6 The United States population is approximately 315 million; deaths are at 2.5 million. Deaths from guns are at 8,775 (Federal Bureau of Investigation) or 0.35 percent.
7. The United States has a higher rate of gun deaths than most “civilized” and modern democratic nations at four per 100,000.
From the World Health Organization:
The latest Murder Statistics for the world:
Murders per 100,000 citizens
ALL the countries above the United States have 100% gun bans
8. A report cited that homes with guns have a higher gun incident rate.
9. Worldwide, there are far more government caused gun deaths than private citizen perpetuated ones. Many nations with tough gun laws have higher gun death rates. Gun availability does not appear to be the primary cause.
10. Mass shootings have not skyrocketed, or even increased but media reports have. The few mass shootings are overwhelmingly committed by young, white, liberal, “crazy” males in “gun-free” zones. Terrorist attacks appear to be rising.
Areas of General Agreement
- Restrict felons and those judged mentally or emotionally incompetent of ownership by court order.
- Improve mental health programs and monitoring of people adjudged to be a danger. The problem is that the monitoring has become politicized.
- Restrict weapons such as nuclear bombs, tanks, antitank weapons, bombers, armed drones.
- Do background checks, if no records are kept, or only for refused people. This could possibly done at the state level with wider inquiries.
Courses of Action
- If gun control advocates are correct, the Second Amendment would need to be eliminated or softened significantly to legally permit the restrictions they propose and in fact are implementing in some jurisdictions through statues, litigation and executive actions, bypassing the Constitution.
- Gun bans will mainly inhibit law-abiding people and leave them defenseless from criminals who ignore laws. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the United States. Criminals will get them.
- .Be prepared to defend self and or family. Police cannot provide adequate protection and tend to act after crimes are committed. Arming law-abiding citizens prevents many, many gun crimes.
- Background checks haven’t kept criminals from illegally acquiring guns, but have reduced possession by law-abiding people. Some criminals are foiled in this manner, though.
- Mental health programs would go a long way toward mitigating gun violence and solving many other problems. Anecdotal evidence of using mental health classifications as a weapon to deny gun ownership is already on record. Recent mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and Santa Monica, California all might have been prevented by early, decisive, preemptive help for unstable persons.
- Better security of weapons- locked away. Educate citizens. Such programs work, as anti-smoking education has proven. Others want to mandate it and make violations felonies, an extreme step.
- Better security in high-risk killing zones such as schools and public places. More guards could be used to secure facilities and selected educators could be armed.
- .Proper training and preparation of gun owners, in use, care, security and use justification, including storage, security, maintenance, handling, and appropriate legal use of guns.
- Licenses should be avoided, as they are an unwarranted violation of the Second Amendment, provide de facto registration, which facilitates unconstitutional future government actions and confiscations.
- Gun control advocates say: “Do more gun control, if even one life could be saved.” But this leaves unsaid how many additional lives, guns could save and freedoms protected. The genie is out of the bottle—we must live and manage it wisely.
George Miller is a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.