Second amendment rights hard to simplify

"States with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides", noted one exhaustive 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health. That might still seem like a heck of a lot for those of you living outside the USA, but keep in mind this the lowest gun ownership rate in almost 40 years.

As a result, too many gun control efforts can be dismissed as liberal elites lecturing Middle America about the moral and macho failures of the gun culture.

While people see other constitutional amendments such as the First Amendment-which apparently doesn't protect ashy knees caused from kneeling during the national anthem-as conditional, the Second Amendment, our three branches of government say, is fairly absolute. "I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes a year ago, they have the strictest gun laws in the country". Three percent of the adult population owns 50% of all guns, and a large segment of those do so because they're anxious that the government will come to take their guns one day. No matter that Heller itself was no vindication of any absolute individual right to bear arms. It won't work. It won't go anywhere, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief on that point. But perhaps we need a discussion on what kinds of guns and how many make sense for people not considered collectors. Take this tweet for example. He then presumes to speak for Madison and suggests that if the great Founding Father were alive today, he would be for taking guns away or "at least...[taking] the presumptive right to them away". This isn't rocket science. My politics are informed by my life here in the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extent by what I see happening around me in the world.

Enough is enough, and while I don't know all of the answers, as a responsible nation we must start somewhere.We are past the time to put politics aside.

After one such call, a friend in law enforcement said, understanding the painful irony, "You know, I've been reading some of the online comments, and I'm serious about this - I think you'd be smart to carry a weapon".

The Las Vegas shooter already violated several laws on the books before he took the first shot.

If you can't define something, you can't regulate it. An army, Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper 29, "can never be formidable to the liberties of the People, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow-citizens". But it was also a no-brainer to restrict people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns, as was proposed after the Orlando slaughter of 49 people past year. I understand that gun ownership makes some individuals feel more secure and safe in their homes.

The latter may explain why we who are much too naive are advised during the instructional phase that any attempt to grapple with the amendment's 21st century ramifications is beyond our capabilities, as well as tantamount to treason.

Let's do something real this time to curb the gun violence infecting America.

Because last weekend, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in modern USA history with 59 people being murdered and another 500 injured in Las Vegas.

When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, the only weapons known to the Founders were swords, knives, and guns that could shoot only one bullet at a time. But it's not that simple. In particular, we won't address the biggest gun problem we have, which is not mass shootings but the daily carnage that claims around 90 Americans lives every day - and that means handguns, not military-style rifles or accessories like bump stocks. Banning semi-automatic weapons won't do a damn thing to save the lives of thousands of women terrorized by abusive men.

Firearms control in the United Kingdom is among the toughest in the world after Thomas Hamilton unloaded his legally held arsenal of handguns on Dunblane primary school killing 16 children and their teacher.

  • Leroy Wright


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