Off topic: The 2nd amendment

There are a handful of issues that polarize our nation and become political issues which tend to divide party lines. Some examples are gay marriage, climate change, abortion, the death penalty, and healthcare. The second amendment is another example that is drawing a lot of attention due to the publicity of recent shootings. It states “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.”

On the extremes there are those that think guns have no place in society and those that think everyone should carry a gun everywhere. Most people live in reality and land somewhere in the middle. Recently, my Facebook feed has had countless postings roll through about how making meth and heroine illegal has not taken them off the streets so it will not work for guns; how we do not blame cars for drunk drivers so why do we blame guns; and likened Obama to Hitler because neither want you to own guns. While these might all be cute posts to some, they dramatically oversimplify the issue and misconstrue the solutions being proposed.

Reflecting on the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms is infringed upon with some exceptions today. We cannot carry weapons on to a commercial flight, in to courtrooms, nor countless other businesses and offices. In addition, documented gang members, those previously convicted of gun violence crimes, terrorists, the mentally ill, etc. are faced with restrictions. As an example, should a documented gang member be allowed to legally purchase a gun upon their release from prison where they spent time for murder and carry it on to a commercial flight? If you think yes, you might as well stop reading now. If you think no, then you agree that the second amendment is worthy of some exceptions and establishing the specific details around when and how to impose restrictions is the key.

At different points in time, the NRA and other organizations have painted a picture of how if any gun controls are passed, law enforcement would be breaking in to homes to confiscate high ammunition magazines, assault rifles, and more. In 1995, the NRA characterization of the ATF as jack booted thugs and Nazi’s led to the resignation of membership by George H. W. Bush and others. This characterization on what gun control would mean lives on today. In reality, polls show that what most Americans want is simple; to see the gun show loophole closed.

On any given weekend, anyone can go any of the dozens of gun shows happening throughout the US and buy as many guns as they want with no background check and no registration. Closing this loophole is what the parents of Sandy Hook sought for legislation, it is how most of the guns used in the Columbine shooting were obtained and it seems like a common sense approach which is gun friendly. There is paperwork involved in buying a pet from the humane society, there are background checks for volunteering with youth sports, but there is nothing to prevent the previously referenced recently released convicted gang member from buying lots of guns.

Locally, schools in my area are working to pass referendums to get funding via tax increases to rebuild school entrances and add safety precautions for improving lockdown abilities during emergencies. My kids’ schools routinely practice code red lockdowns and that is a sad reality of the world we live in. Some extremists would argue we should arm school staff or similar but that is not the answer and it brings forth countless complications. Even in the recent Oregon school shootings, there were conceal and carry members on campus who heard the shooting and opted not to engage for fear of the pending SWAT team arriving and being confused and shooting them.

In America, our gun murder rate per capita is twenty times the average of other developed nations and five times more than the next closest (Italy). In 2007 Missouri ended a background check and handgun licensing program that had been in place for decades only to see a 25% increase in firearm homicides follow while homicides committed by other means in the state remained consistent. In 1995 Connecticut created a handgun permit system and extended background checks to private sales and has seen a 40% decrease in gun murders.

Let’s admit that we have a problem and can do better. It is true that closing the gun show loophole will not mitigate every scenario but it is a common sense approach to improving an abused gap without restricting 2nd amendment rights.

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5 thoughts on “Off topic: The 2nd amendment

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for your keen insight, John. This is a very thoughtful, concise, well-articulated stance. Well done!

  2. Elysia young says:

    There is no such thing as this so called gun show loop hole. Any licensed FFL dealer is required to perform a background check regardless if they sell from a store, the back of a Walmart parking lot, their own home or at a gun show. So go ahead impart this so called gun show loophole that is so overhyped by the extremist who actually just want to have a disarmed society disguised as “it is for the children”. What do you really think the government is going to do with all the registration? At some point in time they will try and disarm all registered citizens, As Hilary Clinton, Obama and dozens of other politicians have already stated that is their ultimate objective and goal

    Then of course your “stat” of America’s gun murder rate being 20 times higher what other developed nations are. More bunk, we are not even in the top 100 out of 200 nations and nearly every nation with a higher murder per capita rate has stricter gun laws and less guns per capita than the USA does. So again, site the source of this “stat” as we all know what stats are, convenient set of number made up to prove ones point even if they aren’t a true representation at all. Any stat one can give in one extreme someone else can give in the other extreme especially on issues so gray.

    Finally, it is not a conceal and carry permit, you don’t need to conceal at all. It is simply a carry permit.

    Where are the stats on Chicago, murder capital of the USA and Obama’s homeland where guns are only held by criminals for the most part due to the extremists laws of the city leaving people defenseless against the thugs who don’t follow the law, any law. So adding more laws will not dissuade them from breaking yet more laws, it only goes to work against the law abiding citizen.

    • olan002 says:

      Elysia,
      Thanks you for taking the time to comment and demonstrate your passion on this topic. You are correct that FFL dealers are required to perform background checks regardless of where they sell. The issue is that the majority of guns sold at gun shows are via “private sales” and only seven states require background checks for all gun purchases so the majority of gun show transactions are not documented.
      The statistics you question were pulled from http://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/ (scroll down) and you are correct in that some other countries with stricter gun laws, their per capita gun deaths rate is higher. For me, taking nations in the middle of civil wars and those with extreme poverty out of the equation is appropriate.
      If I may summarize. My point is that as a nation we should admit there is a problem and begin to discuss and take steps to mitigate it. To me closing the gun show loophole will aid that cause. I did not advocate anything further and I do not believe gun registrations will result in the government at a later time trying to disarm society. Even if something that illogical somehow made it in to law, the logistical and physical process would be impossible to execute and would likely lead to a civil war.
      Your primary point / concern appears to be that the any gun restrictions will not be effective and would likely lead to a government you do not trust from trying to disarm society.
      Thanks again for the dialogue. All the best to you.

  3. Elysia Young says:

    The government cannot be trusted, they have shown time and time again that they cannot. Given that, what makes you think they will not try and keep their word about no guns in America except for their protective staff. military and cops of course. All the while providing millions of guns and weapons to foreign nations who then often use them back against us. You really think they are trustworthy? That they don’t have some higher agenda?
    Private citizens can sell at their own home, on craigslist or on the street corner. It is not a “gun show loophole” and I find the term offensive and ignorant. But you are correct, my concern is laws only affect the law abiding, and it is pretty well established that a very high percentage of the guns used in crimes were not attained via any legal means nor were they attained at gun shows. So how does making it even harder with more laws actually help prevent any criminal from getting their hands on a gun?
    I concede that there are some dealers like the Milwaukee store of recent that should be shut down and prosecuted for “straw sales” but the leap to going after everyone because of a few bad apples is akin to banning coffee because one lady spilled it in her lap and got burned.
    This “new America” of always having to be politically correct and so few taking responsibility for their failures. ie… it is someone elses fault, ie… the guns fault, Mcdonalds fault for an obese society etc…

    We DO NOT have a GUN PROBLEM in America what we do have is a criminal problem and a self responsibility problem all compounded by an overpowered double standard government who loves to reach well beyond its intended scope and infringe on everyone to appease the few. How about people go after the real issue first, criminals! Get rid of the root cause which is the criminals!
    Guns have been around for centuries and will continue to be regardless what the government tries to do, it will just differ in how many new criminals their new laws and regulations will create. I am willing to bet out of the millions of gun owners in the USA a very small percentage would give up any of them willingly, I likewise doubt military personell or law enforcement personell would follow any law for them to break in and sieze weapons as that would indeed start a civil war and most likely many of those people would stand on the side of gun ownership. But the government would be far more covert and sneaky about how they confiscate the guns or otherwise render them useless/less effective. Which is the crux of the situation, their end game and any new laws they try and pass to achieve that end game. As was stated, Hilary and countless others have said they plan to have a gun free America- it is not even hidden, they blurt it right out. So why should I not believe that is their ultimate goal and rationale for anything they do?
    Guns save lives. far more than they take them away. It is not a gun problem. The gun can be left loaded and cocked by the front door all day and it won’t shoot the mailman or the barking neighbors dog, it takes a criminal to do the acts. Besides someday probably not too far off the citizens of the USA will need those guns to overtake the tyrannical government and start anew, ala 1776- because they have gotten that far out of line and out of touch with a huge populous.

    So where is the article about criminals? Lets pull up our big boy pants and go after the criminals, you know, the real problem in America!

    • olan002 says:

      Thanks again Elysia, your passion is admirable. It sounds like we have common ground on the notion of focusing on mitigating criminal activity and opportunities without imposing on law abiding citizens.

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