Updated: February 17, 2013 6:10AM
First of all I would like to commend the viewpoints by the Yorkville Middle School students on the gun control issue. These were well written and thoughtful. Unfortunately, these opinions (and those from many others) are totally missing the truly important issue — the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
“Amendment 2 — Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. 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.”
This amendment was added to our Constitution to accomplish two purposes:
1. Citizens that owned and were familiar with their arms, would be more readily trained and utilized in military service if needed.
2. To provide for an armed citizenry that could serve as a deterrent (and potential resistance) to a government that became tyrannical and/or oppressive.
I am often amazed by the lack of understanding and/or disregard of the term “shall not be infringed.” It was the specific intent of this amendment that the citizenry would own and be familiar with the same “tools” that were available to the military to accomplish the above two goals of this amendment.
While you might make a case that the first purpose may no longer be applicable with today’s high-tech military, the second purpose is still valid. It is definitely wrong to circumvent our Constitution to implement restrictions without considering the real purpose and explicit meaning of this amendment. If the 2nd Amendment is viewed to not be relevant or appropriate today, then here in the U.S. we have a process for dealing with this — it’s called the amendment process and this process can revise or repeal existing provisions.
It is amazing when some people pick and choose what to believe the Founders intended with the Constitution. Would these “strict constructionists” have us revert to slavery and no women voting rights — both of which our Founders originally codified?
The Constitution is a living document, which is adapted over time and not frozen in the 18th century. The list of changes made to “original intent” also includes changes to age 18 voting, income tax, poll tax, popular voting for Senators, etc. The real genius of the Constitution is that it is not static — and was never intended to be.
Regarding the Second Amendment, in the same sentence it says “a well regulated militia” is the reason for the right “to keep and bear arms.” Do gun owners claim to be part of any organized, recognized militia? Leaving that part of an argument aside, the “well regulated” portion has certainly been lacking, in that it is easier to buy and sell guns than it is to buy and sell cars or obtain a driver license. The unregulated, unregistered gun markets and resales must be addressed.
More troubling, certain contributors here reveal their real objective which is not necessarily the justifiable self or home protection or hunting and sport, but rather being part of some unregulated shadow force armed as heavily as the police or the Army. They stretch credible gun rights to include police-killing armor-piercing bullets, assault weapons and high volume magazines. There is a fault line between reasonable personal arms and unknown quasi-armies with unreasonable overkill. Given the stunning disparity in gun violence between the U.S.A. and the rest of the western world, a national conversation and reassessment on the subject is past due.