Wednesday, February 06, 2013

GUNS AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT PRINCIPLES

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THE WOODWARD REPORT
Gun Violence: What Can be Done to Save Lives

By: Brian Woodward
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Barack Obama




"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed."- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787



These are eloquent words spoken by as educated of a man as there was at the time. Noah Webster is an American icon, an editor of the Federalist Papers, an eminent author, and an opponent of slavery. He also lived in a different era where different truths applied. The United States government has access to weapons far superior to the collective gun arsenals held by citizens. Tanks and fighter jets will quickly negate an assault rifle. One cannot argue with the fact that dictatorships have upheld themselves by the barrel of a gun. Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong took the guns from the people rendering them defenseless to brutality and genocide. While firearms would help in resistance against government they would ultimately fail in the face of the firepower of the United States military. Defense against an oppressive government is no longer a valid reason for owning guns.



The actual Second Amendment as passed by Congress states: “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.” Life is not the same today as it was in 1787. That is the unequivocal reality. The amendment specifically states that the reason citizens must be allowed to have guns is so that they can form a militia which is “necessary to the security of a free state.”




Where are the militias? Does anyone find it necessary or feasible for there to be well regulated militias? Sure there are some militias but what do we usually associate such membership with? These people are generally fringe characters with warped ideologies that would be better served holding a sign and selling pencils from a cup.



With no appearance of militias besides a few outliers what does apply from the Second Amendment? It does state that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. What is the definition of “arms”? Does that include any weapon? Should private firms be able to purchase tanks and fighter jets? Does it mean that you can own an automatic machine gun? What I am arguing for is a proper discourse on what is necessary to protect oneself while simultaneously combating gun crime. In my estimation there is no need for civilians to possess assault weapons. Whether or not the ban on assault weapons was effective or if this type of weapon is commonly used in mass shootings is in a way irrelevant. It is quite clear the potential of such weapons and if there is no societal need for these guns I think it is prudent to abolish the sale and manufacture of them. The right to bear arms does not mean unfiltered access to high powered weaponry.



When any entity begins to campaign for gun control it is greeted with a knee jerk reaction from the conservative right. Conservative talk show hosts and pundits insinuate that this is just the beginning and the endgame is to remove all weapons from civilian control. In addition, the left side of the political spectrum makes false assumptions as to how well gun control will tame violence. The government will never be allowed to remove all the weapons from the street, nor is there any good evidence that any administration would aspire to that. 



The best way to stop a person attacking another with a knife is to have a gun. Murderers will use any weapon to carry out their deed. Over the past two years there has been an epidemic of knife attacks on schoolchildren in China. At the core the individual is the killer, not the weapon used. 



Statistics indicate that violent crime has decreased by 22 percent in last ten years, and 18 percent over the last five. However, high profile shootings seep into the consciousness of observers giving the false impression that violence in on the uptick. Steven Pinker exhibits in his prodigious examination of human violence, The Better Angels of Our Nature, our impression of danger is indubitably perverted by isolated occurrences. Nevertheless, according to FBI statistics 8,583 murders (some news agencies have reported over 11,000) were caused by firearms in 2011. The United States has a problem, it cannot be denied.



Gun legislation should reflect the needs of the individual to protect himself. According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, more guns lead to more homicide. Furthermore, states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. It is time to do away with the tired argument espoused by some conservatives that more guns correspond to less crime.



Tougher restrictions on who can buy a gun are necessary. The military does not allow anyone who is on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or any other related antidepressant to join their ranks. The drugs themselves come with a suicide warning for those ages twenty-four and under and have been positively linked with suicidal behavior in children and adolescents. It would be prudent to deny the rights of those on such medication to ownership. In addition, stricter background checks must be enforced to ensure every owner is properly screened. 



The Second Amendment is clear in its allowance of citizens to own guns. Which of these citizens and what type of weapons should be allowed? This is the question that needs to be revisited. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban has had inconclusive effects that are minimal at best. According to a study by Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor, The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was purported to have no effect on gun violence.



It is unclear what compilation of legislation would be effective and yet still afford citizens the right to protect themselves. The argument that civilians need guns in order to prevent a government takeover is deficient. Guns do no good against tanks and fighter jets. It is correct to assert one’s right to bear arms, and it is appropriate to defend the Second Amendment vigorously. Nevertheless, it is reprehensible to spread this fallacious assertion that the government wants to disarm all of America. Furthermore, it is unacceptable to allow the status quo to continue. 



Violence will exist no matter what weapons are available. However, guns are the most efficient killing machines available to civilians. 8,583 gun murders are too many. It is time to do something about it. 


Photo By: RD/Kabik/Retna

 

10 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:09 AM

    You are obviously implying the military will attack their own mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins and friends. Doubtful, but assume some will with 'tanks and fighter jets'. It's no secret who's in those tanks and fighter jets is it? I'll even wager some people know where they live. Sure would be a shame if some tank crew celebrating a tough week of blasting Americans had a pizza party and they all ended up getting some 'ailment'.
    The simple fact is this: for every 'trigger puller' on active duty, there's 7 former 'trigger pullers' wandering around.

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    1. I do not expect the military to turn on its own people by any means. However, the reason often cited as alluded to by the 2nd Amendment is that the public should have guns to defend itself against a forced dictatorship. In that unforeseeable event, I am simply stating the citizenry would be heavily outmatched. Even in the unlikely event that the administration wished to suppress the people via force I am certain that are men and women in the military would not comply. I expect they would be the last people to ever be involved in a forced dictatorship. Nonetheless, many people claim the public is among other reasons afforded the right to arms in case they need to use them to fight off government tyranny. I am simply stating that if such a situation would arise, guns would be futile against the weapons wielded by the military.

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  2. "Furthermore, states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. It is time to do away with the tired argument espoused by some conservatives that more guns correspond to less crime."

    This is simply a lie. Chicago, LA, D.C. - all have shown an increase in murder as guns were "outlawed". FBI stats clearly show homicides have decreased over the past 20 years as gun ownership has increased.

    You also seem to ignore that law abiding citizens defended themselves last year over 2MILLION times with a firearm. Are their lives and security without value?

    Please - criminals are criminals. Turing lawful gun owners into criminals serves no purpose.

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    Replies
    1. My statement that states with stricter gun control laws have less deaths resulting from gun violence is quite true. It is backed up by a study which can be found here : http://m.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/

      Furthermore, i advocate for the right of individuals to protect themselves with guns. I never insinuated that we should in any way turn lawful gun owners into criminals.

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  3. Typical lefty crap!! The army will not attack their own..

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  4. Anonymous10:19 AM

    "Whether or not the ban on assault weapons was effective or if this type of weapon is commonly used in mass shootings is in a way irrelevant. It is quite clear the potential of such weapons and if there is no societal need for these guns I think it is prudent to abolish the sale and manufacture of them. The right to bear arms does not mean unfiltered access to high powered weaponry."

    All I get from this is even though the law was not effective we should put it in place anyways. Making a law to make a law is not intelligent. I am sick of people talking about AR’s because they have a scary name. Of the 8,583 murders Hand Guns are used way way more then Assault Rifles. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls Also do not forget that "high powered weaponry" is a very big misconception to only talk about Assault Rifles. Many Hunting rifles (Semi-Automatic) are much more powerful than an “Assault Rifle”. Does that mean these rifles should be banned too? We tried this already with very little success, partly because of the way the law was put in place, and especially with having Guns Grandfathered in. What is the definition of insanity? This is what this is to me. Are we going to change that this time around and force everyone to turn them in? No way this would work and what a waste of time and Focus. AW are such a small piece of American problems. How about we focus on the bigger problems in America that would actually make a difference? How about securing our border and dealing with the illegal immigration problem in America that involves Millions and Millions of people instead of just 8,583? Regardless if you want them all gone or all granted citizenship this would change America. Of course I don’t want people murdered by guns or at all. If someone really wants to kill someone they will find a way gun or not. If they want to kill a lot of poeple they will find a way. If you want change we need to focus on something that really could makes an impact not on a small issue with little effect.

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  5. Anonymous1:46 PM

    nicely written sir, and agreeable at certain points. alhtough 8500 people compared to the 300+ million we have in america is good statistics in my view. and your right, we cant fight the government tanks and jets. “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.” shall not be infringed. different time absolutely i agree, a dumber time id argue. so yes, maybe more enforced background checks. the problem with the gun laws is that the problem is not guns, its people. as you pointed out. but why are people so susceptible to crazy actions in the 21st century? ive read some that states its because of the stress that their mind cant handle so they blow up killing everyone, or themselves. i would account that for maybe 2 out of every 10 pyscho trips. the other 8 out of 10, how many and what medications were they on because their "doctor" said it would help? if factual evidence were to ever be gathered and released, my theory would be medication is to blame for mind sickness, in turn-gun violence

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  6. Anonymous2:06 PM

    I like how kfd211 feels the need to berate the author stating "the army will not attack their own" when the author already replied to an earlier post stating that he did expect the military to do anything of the sort. Then another commenter feels the need to post stats about assault weapons being rarely used although within the article it already alludes to the fact that they are not used often in gun murders.

    My favorite line is " These people are generally fringe characters with warped ideologies that would be better served holding a sign and selling pencils from a cup."

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  7. Anonymous3:56 PM

    The underlying problem here is the continued drastic inequality compounded by a fervent wish, whether it just exists in the mind of some individuals or not, to go back to the way things were previous to the current stratum of life activities and entertainment culture in america, which lacks any purpose, thereby relegating us all to regurgitating viewpoints on message boards pretending to have ideas of our own. These topics are directed misallocation of our time. Yes, we can not heartily fight back against the tyranny of the government which has been entrenched with the business and banking interests and has now descended on the previously, atleast not out in the open, attack on the bill of rights. A military and intelligence superpower that has been bought on the taxpayers investment and then handed off to private industry. A empire that has divested in its own future citizens as the expense of keeping the wealthy in their positions of power. But, we still have the negotiating power, imagine for one second, the turning off of the television to educate our children ourselves, or organizing labor on a large enough scale to work for lesser hours in which to do so. Holding these measures ransom because everyone bands together to instead of going out and mindlessly consuming on black friday, instead stay home or go communicate with our community and show some civil actions for the betterment of our own places of interest where these intellectual endeavors can be promoted. Such as meeting halls or social engagement venues like parks and local coffee and book houses. But, instead the talking points will be set and misdirection of our opinions and energies continually works to shut each other down and pretend there are two opposing viewpoints on the matter, while we receive the short term pleasure of collecting more and more products wasting the planet away. Snap out of it!

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  8. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Typical Democratic nonsense. "Throw logic out the window and listen to what we are saying, we know what is best for you". During 2012, Chicago police recorded 2,364 shooting incidents and 487 homicides, 87 percent of them gun-related. Shootings increased 12 percent from 2011 and homicides were up 19 percent. Chicago has strict gun laws and they are basically the murder capital of the world. At one point in 2012 there had been more Americans murdered with guns in Chicago than killed in the war abroad by guns. But that never gets talked about... Why? Because that doesn't fit in with what the government wants us to think. They want us to think that if they ban guns they will disappear. You have to live in la-la land to think that all the guns will disappear. All that effectively does is leave the criminals with the high powered weapons and us with pepper spray, until they make that illegal too of course. When are these morons that got elected going to realize that it isn't the guns killing people??? It is sick people who are going to do it one way or the other, as you pointed out with the stabbings in China. Get real, wake up.

    As the principal in Happy Gilmore said, "what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

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