Democracy gives us right to change gun lawsWritten by Steve Hartman | | email@example.com
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…”
Read that again. Ask yourself whether anything that follows it could mean what it did more than 200 years ago? I would argue no.
Gun advocates champion the Second Amendment as giving us the right to own firearms, but they ignore the above language that precedes, “the right to bear arms shall not be abridged.”
At the time the Second Amendment was written, this country was still developing. It had no strong federal government and it was under a persistent threat to its survival.
Against that backdrop, the framers understood the need to maintain militia was vital. Today, the militia is known as the National Guard, and the men and women who serve in it perform an invaluable service. Outside of the National Guard and law enforcement, is there a “need” for individuals to own guns? I think not.
Today’s reality is that guns do not protect us. They kill us. Given the astounding rate at which that happens, it is time to start a serious dialogue about guns and their continued existence in our society. The right to own them is not divine. It is law, and the law can be changed. When the Second Amendment was passed, slavery was legal and women could not vote.
The arguments in favor of guns are wholly unpersuasive.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Dirty bombs and biological weapons, by themselves, do not kill people, but does that mean you don’t mind if your neighbor keeps them in the
How about guns for home
protection? Law enforcement
officers warn that pulling a gun on an assailant or intruder is more likely to get you shot than your attacker.
Is the killing actually caused by guns? Of course not. But guns make it so easy to kill that they perpetuate the killing. I am not saying that getting rid of guns would end killing. But it is impossible to imagine that if we removed guns from our society, the rate of homicide would not drop dramatically. We, as a nation, have the most liberal gun laws in the world and we also have the highest murder rate. Do you not see a connection?
Deer hunters are quick to argue that they use their guns for sport, and it is important to keep the deer population under control. This past hunting season, one man shot and killed several people because they all wanted to hunt from the same deer stand. I am sure we can figure out other ways to thin the herd. (Perhaps we should try tasers. They have proven quite effective as tools for killing.)
When a right, even one stemming from the Constitution, can lead to the deaths of roughly 30,000 Americans per year, it is time to rethink the right.
Ironically, Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative members of our current Supreme Court, has (perhaps unintentionally) given us the rationale for changing the Second Amendment. In a dissenting opinion in a case involving gender discrimination in higher education, he wrote: “The virtue of a democratic system … is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is no longer so, and to change their laws accordingly. So to counterbalance the majority opinion’s criticism of our ancestors, let me say a word in their praise: they left us free to change.”
And time to change it is. We can no longer sit idly by while Americans are killed by guns in unfathomable numbers. The right to own guns stems from a need for militia in 1789. The gun lobby is powerful and will fight tooth and nail, but enough is enough. It’s time to get rid of private ownership of guns.
Steve Hartman is a trial attorney with the Toledo firm of Kerger & Associates.