Sunday, December 16, 2012

The right to murder

" 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."  Second Amendment to the US Constitution

I am open to being convinced. I have never held a gun but I'm not anti-gun, so I am open to being convinced.  I  do not believe that guns are vile and the source of all of society's ill, so I am open to being convinced.  I teach my students that we are all better for sharing in the marketplace of ideas, so I am willing to wade into the debate with an open mind.  Convince me that anyone's rights are being violated with stricter gun controls.  Other than the politically powerful and moneyed gun lobby, who loses with laws intended to clean up gun ownership and make us all safer?

The second amendment to the United States constitution is held up by some as an irrevocable right of every American to freely buy, own, use firearms of all kinds. Even if I suspend my understanding of the sentence - that citizens may not be prevented from bearing arms in protection of the country - and agree that we are endowed with an inalienable right to own and carry a M16, I still cannot fathom the resistance to gun control laws that will create safeguards against murders like those in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.

What is the resistance to requiring a license to sell firearms?  What legitimate purpose is being impeded by requiring thorough federal standards for background checks?  For what purpose does a law-abiding citizen need finger print resistant grips?  Is there a non-violent reason to own an assault rifle like the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle, or other weapons with large magazines?  How are my rights being violated if everything is done to prevent someone with a mental or psychological illness from getting a gun?

We have all heard the adage: guns don't kill people; people kill people.  That may be true, but guns sure make it easier to do.  Could 20 children and seven adults have been killed with a knife?

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