It is ironic that this morning, as I was framing a response to Florencia Hasson’s article on gun violence in the September 29 Star, I picked up the Press Democrat and saw yet another headline about a college shooting rampage, this time in Oregon.
What I was going to point out is that Ms. Hasson seems to have bought the NRA’s framing of the issue as one of defending ourselves against the State. But they have successfully hijacked the debate, especially deflecting discussion about the first part of the Second Amendment, which reads in its entirety, “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.”
Please note that the Amendment says “well-regulated.” Please also note that it mentions a militia, because we did not have police forces in those days. And it was put in place to ensure the security of a free State, here most likely meaning the collective, as the Constitution was written for the group of former colonies; they could have phrased it free States if they meant the individual states. But that is a matter for Constitutional scholars.
In any case, I do not see where this implies that random crazy people should be able to stockpile more firepower than existed in all of America in 1783 to bolster their manhood, or to get revenge, or just in case that sneaky ol’ gummint tries to pull something. (This is not a joke; look up what happened in Texas a couple of months ago when our military was doing some training exercises there.)
It is way past time to inject some common sense into this issue and put some controls in place. However, every time this is proposed, the NRA proves the point by threatening anyone who dares to suggest it and everyone backs down. Interestingly, they have about 3 million members and there are about 325 million of us, so the NRA is the other 1% that is holding America (almost literally) hostage. If we are supposed to be a democracy, how can we allow this to continue?