Filler #1: Gun Control

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, December 03, 2007 12:21 PM

This is the first (of what will probably be quite a few) of my debate/question responses from Helium (though I will use other "filler" as well - I reserve my rights to do so). These are things I have written in their entirety off the cuff. I joined to improve my rhetoric, and, since they are ranked by other Helium users, I tend to learn a lot about myself. It proves to be rather convenient now, since a) I'm entirely too busy to stop and write a thoughtful entry, b) it's still thoughtful and relevant content, and c) it keeps this from being a dead site. So, without further ado, here's Helium Filler #1.

Q. Are gun control laws compatible with the Constitution's right to bear arms provisions?

A. Yes.

Gun control laws are necessary to keep others safe. Most people assume that gun control laws mean the state will automatically take away all firearms that have any power. Yet this is not the case at all: gun control is meant to make people use common sense and safety.

There is a reason fully automatic weapons have been prohibited around the country and world. There is no reason to hunt with a fully automatic weapon. They are made to be able to kill as many people as possible. For instance, the AK-47s that insurgents around the world use are examples of the kind of weapon these organizations look for - a gun that loads fast and sprays faster. Fully automatic weapons are meant to maximize kills. There is nothing sensible about having such a weapon.

Gun control laws are not out to take away shotguns and rifles. The primary aim of gun control is to take away concealable weaponry. Why do we need pistols under our pillows? If we can get rid of them all handguns, then there ceases to be a threat that such defense will be needed against. Most people will not take a rifle to a robbery or a shotgun to break and enter. Gun control is about minimizing the threat.

Think about a robbery or a gunfight that has happened in the past. What guns were used? More than likely they were handguns. Rifles and shotguns (hunting weapons the last I checked) are too heavy and bulky to be used for such things.

Now that I've made my case for the principle of gun rights, I'll answer the actual question of whether gun control is "compatible" with the Constitution.

The Constitution is about protecting people from each other and often from themselves. This is exactly the reason the second amendment was ever written. See here:

"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."

"A well regulated militia" is a protection organization. We have the National Guard now, who takes this role as guardian of the state. At the time the Constitution was written, a militiaman was also a citizen. It was in this way that the power of the state was in the hands of the people, and the people rose to participate in militias as part of the defense of the state and their right as American citizens.

Yet the militia has been replaced with the National Guard, a military organization. There are still self-proclaimed militias in parts of the country, and if the state proclaims them as "being necessary to the security" of the state, then none of us can deny their right to bear arms - in defense of the state.

It doesn't come so easy for the rest of us. Somewhere along the lines "a well regulated militia" became every man, woman, and child that could afford a gun at Wal-Mart. Flouting the second amendment, and only quoting part of it, has led to a great misunderstanding that each of us is entitled to be a gun-toting American.

So is gun control compatible with the second amendment? Absolutely. I'd go so far as to say that gun control is what the second amendment was originally *meant* for. But is it compatible with how we interpret and understand it today? No, but that's something that can change with more education and less fear-mongering that the government is out to strip you of your rights and leave you defenseless.

2 Response to "Filler #1: Gun Control"

Justin Ray Says:

I wish that all of these constitutional issues would finally wake people up to what is really wrong with our government. The Constitution was written to ensure that democracy was protected in a world that is radically different than ours. The world is not the same, nor are the threats to democracy. We need to get over this document and its aged and decrepit institutions.

Anonymous Says:

I think that each person should be able to carry which ever weapons they feel is necessary for their protection. I own a 64'Tayana Sail boat that I often take throughout the Caribbean. Now My home port is in the Florida Keys. Why should I have to worry about being arressted when it is perfectly reasonable for me to own both a M249 SAW and a Barretta M90. I need very powerful wapons to protect me, and my property while I am in International waters. I know you probably think that there is no reason but there are still pirates and drug runners throughout the world. SO, when I return to Florida, I could get arrested for what is in essence, my home protection. That my friend, is Bullshit. granted, people who commit violent crimes and live in the cities don't have a need for Automatic weapons, but I do.

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