I come from a gun culture. I grew up hunting with a Remington twenty gauge shotgun I had received at age thirteen from my parents. It would ride to school with me (sometimes loaded) in the back seat of my mother’s car when I could drive. I walked fields after school until dark and would take my quarry home to be cleaned and possibly eaten that evening (if I had killed enough). I never once thought to use that gun for anything other than hunting.
I don’t hunt anymore, because I have lost my skill at hitting a moving target. Years of living in the city softens those skills. I still know the gun culture. I know the difference between an AR-15 and a Sig Sauer MCX. I know the difference between a single shot, an automatic and a semi-automatic. I know what an assault rifle is and the difference between a semi-automatic and an assault rifle. That said, I am hearing and seeing a lot that disturbs me from within the gun culture, specifically from some gun owners. The loudest voices are saying “the government is going to take all the guns away”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Secondly, these same folks, who cling to the second amendment like a life line, have no idea what it truly says. It 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.” The key phrase is “Well-regulated Militia”. The second part being “being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms”. It does not say, the people have the right to have the same armament as the Militia. In fact, if you do not believe in a living, breathing Constitution, then the very definition of weapon hasn’t changed in nearly two hundred and thirty years. Which means, you are welcome to keep your muzzle loading flintlocks. You can carry as many as you want and own as many as you want, but come war time, the militia may need them far more than you. That is why they come first in the amendment. So, you’d have to give them up, unless you are part of the militia. Do you now see how this works? In fact, the second amendment HAS been amended several times since its inception. Once to ban sawed off shotguns. Another to ban the sale of Thompson machine guns or the “Trench Broom” as it was so affectionately known. In 1934 one of its provisions was that owners of fully automatic firearms were required to register them with the predecessor agency of the modern Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Banning all assault weapons or all semi-automatic rifles is not taking guns out of your hands. Building a strong cross reference data base for background checks is not taking guns out of your hands. Requiring licenses for gun ownership and requiring teaching courses on safety and responsibility is not taking guns out of your hands. Putting a personal identifier chip within the framework of a gun to allow only the owner to discharge that weapon is not taking guns out of your hands. And lastly, if you are caught with an unlicensed gun, you should go to prison…no second chance. Will this make America safer? A little, but our love affair with our guns has turned into an ugly, possessive and singular love affair where there is no reason or sanity anymore. Much less respect of the Constitution.
But, I am of the school of thought where so much has changed and so many are blinded by fear and hate this may never come to be in my lifetime. I knew, after Sandy Hook, if nothing changed on the books, then so many more were going to die. Because if we weren’t moved to positive action by the cost of innocent children being shot down, then our society was very sick and in the throes of denial. This sickness is only going to get worst. The NRA will insure any and all types of weapons (save sawed off shotguns or Thompsons-because there’s no money in them anymore) remain for sale. And eventually, one will find its way to your neighborhood, or your grandchildren’s school or your daughter’s work place. And then what? Are you are going out to buy more guns. Or will you say enough is enough and finally do something about this insanity known as the gun culture.