For the sake of argument, let’s say that the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militia” is the equivalent of the United States’ rottenly regulated availability of all sorts of guns whose primary function (handguns and automatic rifles) is harming people. The U.S. Supreme Court, a slight majority, seems to accept this odd notion. No matter how much the deadly technology and availability of guns improves, we are all still living in 1791, or so the court’s literalists believe.
If what happened yesterday in Roseburg, Oregon and the myriad other mass shootings and daily shootings of Americans by their fellow armed Americans is what the authors of our Constitution intended, then it is surely time to amend the Second Amendment (as we have amended the Constitution before to reflect enlightened reconsideration) in order to place strict controls on the buying and owning of handguns and assault weapons, the sort of sane regulation that other industrialized nations practice. As the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence points out:
The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.
These sorts of numbers suggest we really ought to do something as a nation to drastically curb the number and availability of guns.
Firearms for hunting need not be banned or limited in order to curtail access to the most dangerous sorts of weapons, but in general much stricter gun permitting is necessary.
Of course we have to address the other issues involved with gun violence, including mental health and the primarily male fascination with gun-toting toughness. But to claim that guns themselves and their proliferation are not the most significant cause for our nation’s crazily-high number of gun deaths is simply to be in a dangerous and irresponsible state of denial. It’s time for our legislators to address this insanity. If not now, when?
P.S.– Some of the weapons the Roseburg, Oregon shooter was armed with were reportedly “military grade.” Here’s a modest proposal: no civilian should have access to military weapons, as a report on the Sandy Hook school mass shooting has rationally concluded.
P.P.S.– Get Marc Jampole’s take on the Second Amendment and gun control via the Progressive Populist.