Monday, April 29, 2013

GUNS: Rights and Violence

I have been following the debate about guns, both about rights and violence. Both sides have valid points and there seems to be no middle ground. The extremes on both sides of the issue make it almost impossible to reach a logical solution. To make matters worse their paranoia is fueled by each others rhetoric. Those who propose a reasonable plan to provide for both gun rights and public safety are shot down by both sides.

As a Libertarian I have a strong belief in the second amendment and as a Mayor responsible for public safety I am concerned about the people who are willing to do violence like that of Sandy Hook and Boston. It is a tough issue to deal with. The people who suffered the trauma of those kinds of actions require some action to stop it from happening again.

The Second Amendment 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.”

When this amendment was crafted the new United States of America relied totally on the state militia to fight wars. Each state militia required its citizens to provide their own weapons which at that time were muskets. The federal army was very small and not well provided for by congress. Times have changed. Today the state militia is called the National Guard and is well provided for by both federal and state governments, as modern weapons of war are more complicated. We are still relying on them to fight wars. The Second Amendment was designed for our national defense. The up shot of well armed citizenry is that any nations that would dear to send troops to invade us would be met by gun fire from almost every house and cave. I know private citizens who are very good shots.

The other side of the coin is the violence that seems to be happening with greater frequency every year. How do we deal with that issue? I do note that not all of it is committed with guns but a lot of it has been. This is a difficult issue for all of us as a greater population has produced more violent people, most of them men. There have always been angry violent men in this world who enjoy killing people. Ad to that the testosterone poisoning that makes young adult males so aggressive and you have problems. One way or another they will make trouble. They will find someone to sell them guns, purchase enough fireworks to make bombs or use knives to kill innocent people just because they can. How can we control this problem that is now world wide?

Some how we need to be able to think this through and it will not be easy unless both sides of the issue are willing to come to the table and talk sense and at this point that is not happening. We do not need to collect and destroy guns and no one is really trying to do that even though the fear mongers are raising that idea for gun owners to react about. Perhaps the term “Well Regulated Militia” has some room for regulating who can legally purchase weapons of the military variety as some people should not have them. Is it possible to register guns in such a way so that if a gun is used in a crime they can be traced with out people fearing that registering their guns will be used against them? The tricky part is protecting everyone else’s right at the same time. Public safety is important but so is our constitutional rights and both need to be addressed. I doubt that our congress is able to do that any time soon. 


  1. A tough issue for sure. If we don't obey the gun laws we have now, what's the point in writing MORE? I say we need fewer laws, more well defined, more enforceable, AND THEN ENFORCE THEM. Certain people...felons, the mentally unstable, etc...MUST NOT HAVE GUNS. Law enforcement needs an up-to-date database that is shared across ALL jurisdictions. As it is now the FBI might know something, but not share it with local law enforcement, and vice versa. (Some national security issues exempt, of course.)

    We'll never stop all gun violence, but it can be better controlled than it is now.


  2. There is a flaw in your premise. The second amendment is not in reference to a militia for the common defense against outside enemies, the second amendment is for the common defense against internal enemies; more specifically, common defense against tyranny.

    "Madison warned that the greatest danger to the constitutional order and to the liberty of the citizen was not the
    possibility of a tyrant President, which he regarded as slight, but the risk that Congress would take over the powers of the other two
    branches of government. "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands," Madison wrote,
    "may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." THE FEDERALIST No. 47, at 329 James Madison)"

    As Low correctly points out, the issue is not the regulation of guns but, rather, preventing gun use in the commission of crimes.

  3. Burstmode I reread number 47 and he does articulate the problems of separation of powers but it has nothing to do with the second amendment. So I disagree with your premise that it was against our federal government.

  4. OK, let's assume that your very contrary reading of 47 is correct and that Jefferson wrote nothing further (which is to the contrary of reality). How would you stop a renegade congress?

  5. It was Madison but I would do it with the vote.
    We have a renegade congress now but they can't get their act together.