The way out of our gun mess lies not in restricting our Rights but in understanding them and applying them properly. The issue we are all debating expands way beyond guns because a threat to one Right is a threat to all.
If you are an American, you currently have the Right to walk around with a firearm. The Constitution’s 2nd Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear arms” may be awkwardly phrased, giving opponents hope for gun control. But we remain dangerously awash with guns not because that’s what the 2nd Amendment’s seeks to achieve but because gun proponents successfully argue for the broadest possible interpretation of its language. There is no need to once again roll out the litany of deadly shootings this flawed interpretation has given us. . You know the facts.
Sentiments of most Americans lie clearly on the side of gun control. But our past efforts at gun control have not worked and probably never will.
I share these sentiments but I love freedom more than I hate guns. A threat to the 2nd Amendment is a knife to the heart of all of our basic freedoms. The 1st amendment has its opponents too. Even in our current debate, many people want to prevent publication of the name of the killers. Law makers are actually preparing legislation to restrict video games and other forms of free speech.
Instead of trying to restrict the right to own a gun, a mission with a miserable history of failure, let’s do just as the 2nd amendment says and arm state militias. Well regulated. Today, “militia” goes by the name “first responders.”
America was at the beginning and remains now a nation of first responders. On 9/11, when we actually were attacked, the sterling exemplar of defense of freedom came not from the US Military, which accomplished an expensive nothing, but from the regular average Americans on United Flight 93 who banded together to take down that hijacked airliner. They immediately transformed into a militia to save your life. Recently, in the Oregon shooting, a shopper certified as an armed professional security guard drew his legal concealed gun on the shooter yet wisely decided not to fire into a crowded hallway. His response nonetheless seemed to have slowed the killer.
Today we are infested a bunch of loose nuts, members of a fantasy militia, with assault rifles at the ready to protect City Hall from the imminent landing of North Korean troops. That’s not rational and it’s not what the Constitution intended. In the most recent mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut, the killers used guns legally owned and operated until the moment they just reached over and picked them up.
A local community or an entire state joining in creating a plan of protection is what the Constitution intends and it’s still the approach favored by the vast majority of Americans. Let these people — volunteers — form the first line of protection. Not against an invading army but against the real threats: armed killers certainly, but also storms, fires and whatever each community decides its own militia should address.
Allow each state to monitor and control hunting equipment, clearly not necessary for a militia. It’s reasonable to think that the role of hunting is different in Montana than in New York. Outside the well regulated militia, make public safety the top priority in gun legislation. People not trained and regulated in the militia will not have the same ability to own firearms, for instance, no assault rifles.
For a while after mass shootings, the talk turns to mental illness reform. From 25 years of experience, I tell you the mental health industry will work harder than the NRA to prevent meaningful improvement. The poorly paid people in this field are so incompetent they can no longer even define the illnesses they are supposed to treat. For some years even serving on the board of mental health a center, I’ve stood by my brother for his entire journey through this system to the point, while under probation from an assault charge and clearly in the throes of mania, he passed a background check and purchased a handgun he used to fire into his neighbor’s bedroom. It’s a coincidence no one was hurt. I never want that to happen again.
The President has appointed a committee to study gun control so we know Washington, D.C. will once again fail to solve a national problem. Let’s not wait. Let’s each state begin to work today on its militia and remove the weapon pointed at our head right now.