On Gun Control and the 2nd Amendment

As we all know, a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut left 26 people dead. This has caused renewed calls for gun control in the United States. But unlike past calls for gun control, this time something is likely to happen. Because though there have been many mass shootings in the country, Newtown was different. It’s harder to simply move on when first graders are most of the dead.

However, these dead children haven’t stopped the many people from decrying the government for “trying to take their guns”. These people believe that the 2nd Amendment means people can own whatever weaponry exists in the world to protect themselves from the threat of a tyrannical government. They believe that citizens have the right to bear arms, and any attempts to limit those arms constitute tyranny. Of course, I can’t bring up gun control and not mention the NRA and Wayne LaPierre. Don’t worry, they are still spouting idiocy:

The problem is that they haven’t read something they claim to love: the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment says “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”. If you don’t trust my copy-and-paste skills, read it for yourself here (It’s a government site, so some might not trust it). The words “well regulated militia” are clearly written, so what do they mean? Let’s go to The Federalist No. 29 for answers. Reading that, it seems that Alexander Hamilton is arguing that “well regulated militia” means something akin to the Army National Guard. He wrote that the militia would be “employed in the service of the United States” but trained by the states under directions instructed by Congress. One last interesting fact about militias: the Army National Guard was born of the Militia Act of 1903.

But let’s toss all that aside. What parts of gun control are really so bad? Various polls show that universal background checks have wide bipartisan support. One of the current problems in gun sales is that online and private sales aren’t regulated. That needs to change. The country obviously needs to do more to improve mental healthcare. Who doesn’t support that? A ban on large capacity magazines? Besides just wanting them, what’s a good reason for anyone to have them? Is a ban on assault weapons (I know that “assault weapons” isn’t the best term, but that’s very minor) controversial? It’s not retroactive, meaning those who already have them won’t lose them, so what’s the problem? Just wanting them isn’t good enough.

If we can’t buy large amounts of fertilizer without showing up on law enforcement’s radar, why should we be able to buy large amounts of ammunition without the same attention, as James Holmes did before the Aurora shooting? It’s illegal to yell fire in a crowded movie theater even though we have freedom of speech. That’s not because your government is tyrannical, it’s because there’s a certain point where your personal freedom is to others’ detriment. We all want these shootings to stop. Act like it.

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