George Mason, one of the principal architects ...

George Mason, one of the principal architects of the 1776 Virginia Constitution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Being removed from the gun debate there is probably less emotion in the discussions. Though it does seem many of the people I talk to are on the side of gun controls being tightened. This debate is not an easy one. One of the key features of the American people is they are very tied to the constitution and its aims. Though it could be questioned whether the interpretation in the present day is accurate or relevant. Firstly the second amendment reads “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.” (Young, David E., The Founders’ View of the Right to Bear Arms, p.222.).


An argument being presented against this amendment is the timing and the lawlessness at the time of the writing of this amendment. Which on the surface is a valid point. However, since the amendment has been in place guns have been a part of American society and there have been numerous periods since that have seemingly required drastic self-protection measures, 1920’s Chicago, gang wars in the 50’s and 60’s, the LA riots and numerous others. So it does appear that there have been continued periods requiring some level of self-protection and therefore a desire to uphold the second amendment.


Where this argument muddies is the current situation, there have been many mass shootings, generally they come in spates, and the recent history attests to this. One common denominator with the recent shootings is the use of semi-automatic weapons to inflict many deaths and injuries. This is the key point of the current discussion, one which has divided the masses and created a level of hysteria in the media.


One commentator is acting in a very hysterical manner and really negating his valid argument, Piers Morgan. Though some are saying his argument is invalid because of his origin, where his argument is invalid is his frequent use of invalid facts and his berating and belittling the gun lobby guests. Piers, you do have a valid point, but there are better ways of saying and presenting it, to get the point across. Some of the gentlemen you have had on your show have been calm and behaved in a decent manner and you berate them and call them stupid. Sorry, but if you are representing the voice of the people, please do this in a civil manner and professional manner. Remove the emotion from the debate and talk about the reality and facts, then your voice will be heard and maybe accepted.


So what, or how should the argument be framed? Firstly, is the second amendment valid today? Secondly if it is valid should there be some control on the types of weapons that are permitted to be owned?


To the first question, it does seem almost impossible to suggest the second amendment is no longer a valid constitutional amendment. There is and always  will be a criminal element that acts outside of the law, and given the population size and density in US cities, it seems difficult to prevent average citizens from having the ability to protect themselves or their families from harm by arming themselves. So I would say the second amendment should stay.


To the second question relates to the type of weapons able to be owned. This is the key question and something that seemingly has a simple answer. There is no rhyme or reason for any person to own military style semi-automatic rifles that are intended to kill many. Weapons should be more a deterrent to violence than a method, a prime example being nuclear weapons that no current possessors really have the intention to use them, they are merely a deterrent. So to semi-automatic weapons, these are nothing but killing machines and have been the main weapon of choice in these recent sad events. The gun lobby continually suggest “the only way to stop a bad man with a weapon is a good man with a weapon” and they point out that the criminals have weapons too. One thing this fails to notice is the majority of these events have been perpetrated by individuals who are mentally unstable though not criminals, so in reality they are normal citizens who have lost their grip on reality and blame the world for their problems. Arming everyone is never going to prevent this occurring, what is needed is to understand what drives these individuals and put measures in place to prevent them having access to these murdering machines. Does that mean everyone has to suffer? Well I don’t see how not having access to these killing machines can be considered suffering, if you have access to weapons that can reasonably protect you, then you are getting your second amendment rights and you are protected.


From my perspective I am a pacifist who despises war or weapons, though I was in the Royal Australian Air Force and I have hunted, I am repulsed by these things I did and will never do them again. I do however understand the necessity and the feelings this problem brings forth. I hope the powers that be can come to an amicable solution that suits the majority and prevents another meaningless tragedy like the one that recently occurred.