“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth for home defense.  But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon of needed for defense of a home.”

Ronald Reagan

The Constitution and Bill of Rights form the foundation on which our Republic was created and guarantee our individual liberties. 

Despite the Bill of Rights literal text, Courts have ruled and Americans have come to accept certain reasonable limitations on each of its enumerated freedoms.

  • Freedom of Speech does not allow one to shout “Fire” in a crowded theater. Neither can a person “incite” imminent illegal actions or breach of the peace or threaten elected officials. 
  • Religious Freedom has limitations as polygamy is illegal and tax-exempt religious organizations are prohibited from endorsing political candidates or preaching politics from the pulpit.
  • Freedom of the Press does not permit inciting violence, unlawful activity, or defamation and even allows school administrators to suppress articles in school newspapers.
  • Freedom of Assembly is limited when protests pose an immediate threat to public safety or block major highways or bridges.
  • The War on Drugs and Patriot Act have emasculated many Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments Rights.

Yet, when it comes to the Second Amendment (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.”), gun rights groups want to parse the language to simply ignore the “well-regulated Militia” clause and rely solely on “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

These are the same folks who, after mass shootings, offer “thoughts and prayers(a meaningless, feel-good slogan which does nothing to prevent future shooting incidents) before placing the blame on the shooter’s mental health (which may or may not be true). 

Even Conservative Justice Scalia opined, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”  He continued, “the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Despite the gun lobby’s rhetoric, virtually no one is proposing taking rifles, shotguns, pistols, or antique guns away from Americans nor limiting their rights to hunt, target shoot or protect their families or homes.  Rather, gun control proponents seek:

  • Universal background checks prior to all gun purchases or transfers … no gun show, Internet, or other exceptions.
  • Require waiting periods of up to 30-days … no automatic approvals until the checks are complete.
  • Ban the sale of military-style assault weapons which were specifically designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible.
  • Ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition, without which the human carnage assault weapons can inflict can be greatly mitigated.
  • Require mandatory gun safety courses for all gun owners.
  • Enact Red-flag laws permitting removal of guns from people posing a threat to others due to diagnosed mental illness or court-issued restraining orders.

While proponents of increased gun control measures argue limiting access to certain weapons will save lives and reduce crime; opponents insist it would accomplish just the opposite, preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves against armed criminals.

Their mantra is, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  While true, people frequently use guns to kill people (more than 9,800 so far this year) and, where mass shootings are concerned (reportedly 647 in 2022 and more than 130 in the first 90 days of 2023), military-style, assault weapons are the firearms of choice, most legally purchased.

If the anti-gun control activists truly believed their literal interpretation of the Second Amendment, they would not tolerate any firearms restrictions whatsoever.  Yet, they are perfectly happy with certain minimum age restrictions on gun ownership; banning weapons from government buildings and legislative chambers, schools, churches, polling places, and other venues; and criminalizing possession of a firearm by convicted-felons.

As insanity has been defined as, ”doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” perhaps it’s time give the recommendations of the gun-control folks a chance and see if our schools, supermarkets and society at-large might actually be safer.