It is astonishing to me how many passionate supporters of the second amendment have never read it.
“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.”
They have been there all along, but, in their haste to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms, many people skip right over two of the most important words.
What’s so hard about regulation? Does anybody really believe a 19-year old should be able to legally purchase a military grade weapon?
Laws prohibit 19-year olds from purchasing a can of beer, and rules prevent them from renting a car.
But, nothing stopped a 19-year old from waltzing into a gun store, applying for a gun license and, that same day, legally purchasing an AR-15.
You want to know what else is necessary to the security of a free state? Laws that protect its citizens, especially its children.
It’s not an all or nothing situation. We can enact reasonable restrictions on gun purchases that still allow responsible adults to own guns.
Even Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the second amendment’s most ardent advocates, supported “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” according to a majority decision he wrote in the 2008 Heller case that extended second amendment rights to individuals who want to defend themselves in their homes. Scalia cautioned that the second amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Those gun enthusiasts who argue that we have a mental health crisis in this country and not a gun crisis actually make the case for tighter gun control. Because, if we have a mental health crisis in this country (and we absolutely do), then we need to be even more vigilant about to whom we’re extending the right to purchase and carry these powerful guns.
We have more sophisticated weapons at our disposal than the framers of the constitution could ever have imagined, and global technology literally at our fingertips.
Still, like theirs, our most powerful weapon remains our own common sense.
We should be doing whatever we can to prevent innocent people from being gunned down in schools, at concerts and in churches across this great and free country of ours.
- Restrict access to assault rifles.
- Mandate three-day waiting periods for gun licenses.
- Require thorough, not cursory, background checks.
- Make the 21-year age requirement mandatory for all gun purchases.
These would be four steps in the right direction of a well regulated industry. Setting rhetoric and politics aside, it’s the least we could do.