A liberal dissident in the land of the Second Amendment

Statue in Minute Man National Historical Park Wikimedia Commons

Statue in Minute Man National Historical Park Wikimedia Commons

Such a loss could never have been imagined by anyone until that moment occurred, and the anguish of their loss that followed can never be forgotten.

After the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut of twenty small children and seven adults, the debate has begun again whether there should be gun controls implemented to help stop this senseless violence and death.

Knowing that my liberal thoughts on gun control would probably be different from the majority in my community that strongly supports the second amendment, and that many believe that President Obama has a secret plan to take everyone’s guns, I decided to review the comments, that I knew would be posted, from my local television station Facebook page.

I wanted to read what was written supporting or refuting the need for gun control, and to gauge the demeanor of my community.

I was expecting the conversation would be one sided in support of the gun-rights advocates, but I was surprised to see many advocating for gun control. We are a community of hunters and the very idea or threat of having the guns confiscated usually causes visceral reactions.

Needless to say, gun-rights advocates had many different responses to the tragedy. While some asked why cars were not highlighted like guns for killing people, others declared that the ‘gun-grabbers’ could never let a crisis go to waste without trying to politicize it to take their guns.

Many believe that incidents like this are more likely in places where guns are not allowed, such as schools, churches or places of employment, and support more concealed weapon laws that would allow more people with guns to fight back against mass shootings. I cannot see many teachers that would be qualified enough to be able to fend off a crazed shooter, like some intellectual Rambo.

Knowing that many of these shootings are done by those that are mentally ill, some question why solutions for this problem are not being highlighted while gun control is. They say ‘guns don’t kill people, people using guns kill people’.

When the President gave a press conference and had to stop and fight his emotions, there were many comments that believed he was not being sincere and was crying crocodile tears for political theater. Others said that President Obama was a hypocrite because he condoned abortion and killed innocent civilians with the U.S. drone attacks on Al-Qaeda.

The advocates for gun control on the local comments were ashamed of the hateful posts about the President and the basic lack of humanity that was being debated, while others could not believe how cold-hearted they were. Many continually stated that no one was coming to take their guns, just that they wanted more measures for the public’s safety to be considered.

There were some comments saying that if the President had not gone to Newtown, Connecticut and delivered his remarks at the prayer vigil, it would be said that he did not care about the victims, and if he did, it would be said that he was politicizing the shooting. They said the President could not win either way that he chose.

It was heartening to see many comments from supporters of the second amendment that also believed there was no problem with regulating or banning high power weapons, high-capacity magazine clips and armor piercing ammunition.

My father was a hunter and had many guns, and I grew up shooting them. He grew up in a time when shooting squirrels, rabbits and quail helped put food on the table, and I have had my share of them myself growing up with my father. I still see the need to at least attempt to control the violence by starting a conversation for finding common sense solutions that we all could agree would help. I find it hard to believe that this is not the case already, without the need of violence to call for a conversation to begin.

I can understand this long traditional history of having guns to help hunt and to defend oneself, but I question the need for the most powerful semi-automatic guns. They aren’t very good for hunting because they would not leave enough food to eat, and unless you plan to defend yourself against invaders, these type of guns are not practical for the home. It would be like Davy Crockett using a howitzer to hunt bear in Tennessee.

In the wild west, many towns had local ordinances that barred carrying firearms in public. With the high amount of gunfights from the cowboys that came into town, they saw it as the only means to insure the peace by having everyone turn their guns in at the Sheriff’s office to be able to stay in town. Their aim was not to confiscate the guns to collect them, but to make sure guns would not be used for violence.

When times are tough, we should be able to hunt, and when trouble finds us, we should be able to defend ourselves, but is a semi-automatic weapon with high-capacity magazine clips and armor piercing ammunition required to achieve this? No, of course not.

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...

James Madison, Hamilton’s major collaborator, later President of the United States and “Father of the Constitution” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is there always a  problem with calling for the high powered weapons to be controlled? I continually hear that this would infringe on our second amendment rights, and I question if this is what the second amendment was stating, and if it is truly understood. Here is the Second Amendment:

AMENDMENT II: 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.

As for a well regulated militia, our national guard would be the equivalent, but there are many weapons that are not distributed to the citizens of the United States because they are too dangerous.

President James Madison, who helped frame the first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights and is also considered the ‘Father of the Constitution‘, saw a need to have an armed populous in case the government turned tyrannical, but at that time, cannons were not distributed either and were stored in the militia’s armories.

At that time, the citizens, with their muskets, could fight against a tyrannical leader’s army, but with the firepower that the United States Army has today, semi-automatic weapons would not be enough to fight, so many question the purpose of owning these weapons.

There are two competing arguments concerning the second amendment. One, the Individual Right Theory, believes the United States Constitution protects the citizens from their legislative bodies that would attempt to prohibit firearm possession, and any regulations that prohibit or restrict their use is unconstitutional.

The second, the Collective Rights Theory, refers to the section of the amendment calling for a well regulated Militia. This theory argues that the citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns, meaning that guns could be regulated by the local, state and federal legislative institutions, and it gives the states a collective right to maintain state militias, in case the federal government tried, in the unforeseen future, to legislate away a state’s right to defend itself.

There have been many mass shootings in our recent history, but with the Connecticut shooting deaths of so many small children, this event cannot be anything other than a watershed moment in our history. This horrific event will not be forgotten so quickly because of the nature in which it shocked the nation. They were so young and innocent that not even the most fervent of second amendment supporters will be able to argue to the vast majority of the country that absolutely nothing needs to be done.

Other mass shootings seemed to be quickly forgotten, but I do not believe this will be the case this time. We can never forget, because this senseless act of violence that caused the deaths of so many of our helpless children should be something only read in the history books.

They will tell the story how the need arose for everyone to work together to stop the gun deaths by finding common sense solutions, and through much perseverance and compromise, gun violence was no more. The line had been crossed.


President Obama Speaks at Newtown High School

Joe Scarborough asks for sanity from gun right’s advocates

13 thoughts on “A liberal dissident in the land of the Second Amendment

  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog in related articles. This is by far one of the most thoughtful pieces on the issue that I have come across. You certainly gained a new reader in me. I will share your articles in my social networks. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for the mention in your blog. I really like webpage and that is awesome how you were able to trace your ancestors all the way back to the Revolutionary War in the “To have served under General Marquis de Lafayette” article.

    • Thanks. You can probably tell that I love history. Hearing this story from my family growing up always left me with questions, so I thought I would study the history in more detail and write about it. I had the best time writing it.

      I can tell you love history too.

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