Once again I sat in stunned silence as I watched the reports of carnage in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Columbine, Sandy Hook, and now Orlando. There are others, of course, but those mass shootings are the ones that make it hard for me to sleep.
I'm really pissed. I'm angry at the politicians who refuse to pass sensible gun laws. I'm angry at the NRA, which spends millions of dollars to prevent the implementation of sensible gun laws. I'm angry at responsible gun owners who don't rise up and demand sensible gun laws. I'm angry at the bastards who use guns to kill people.
I'm a gun owner. I believe in people's right to own guns. But I do not believe that the Second Amendment is a blank check for any nutcase to own any firearm they want. In fact, I don't believe the Second Amendment gives individuals any right to own a gun at all.
“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.”
The right to bear arms was first codified in England by Alfred the Great (849–899). He required that the men of his counties turn out to defend the realm against the godless Vikings and other invaders. He did not arm his people; he expected them to provide their own arms and to be ready to enter military service when called upon by the state. There was also an obligation to train so the army defending England against the Vikings wouldn't be just an unruly mob. This concept of militia has survived the ages, and was written into the Magna Carta and our Bill of Rights.
In the case of Heller in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
There you have it, folks. From the Supremes themselves. The Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to band together for the common defense against a tyrannical government. Not to shoot kids in a school or people at a theater or nightclub.
Do you really believe that you have a right to own an AK-47 to protect yourself from a tyrannical government that has Green Berets, Navy Seals, tanks, jet fighters, and nuclear weapons? Do you really think you could win?
We can never get rid of all guns, and people should be able to have them to defend themselves from all the crazies out there. But you lose me completely when you tell me you need automatic weapons, oversized ammo clips, and armor-piercing bullets.
We need to start by banning these items, and we need to start now. Every politician needs to grow a pair. That won’t solve the problem, but it’s like Obamacare—it’s not perfect, but it’s a damn good start.