This is one of the steaming bones of contention in 2014 America. It’s right up there with abortion, gay rights and immigration reform. People turn blue in the face, (or red in the face depending on where you are) when this emotional and extremely controversial subject comes up in conversation. I must admit that through the long list of gun related atrocities that have plagued the country the last 20 years, I’ve had my opinions, sometimes expressed, but oft times kept to myself. It just another one of those hot button topics that will instantly earn you a label, that will immediately piss off someone within earshot, that will brand you as a progressive thinker or a subverter of the Constitution! I’ve decided that before I weigh in with my thoughts on guns in America, I’d do a bit of research and see what exactly all the brouhaha is about.
No discussion of guns in America can even begin without an investigation of the 2nd Amendment. You know that pesky little piece of legislation that the Founding Fathers felt was necessary to be included in the Constitution as an item in the Bill Of Rights.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “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.” The exact intent of this language has been debated ad infinitum. To be sure it was a different world in the America of the late 18th century. Could the Founding Fathers have envisioned the society that has developed over the last 230 some odd years. I think not. Having said that I believe their meaning to be quite clear. If you need to defend your self against an oppressive government, you must have the right to bear arms. If was an interesting and no doubt “revolutionary” idea back then. When applied to the conditions that exist today it is as outdated as riding horses and keeping slaves.
Cornell University on their web site says,” On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional.” This is the argument that is voiced by many on the right and in the conservative camp in today’s political climate. Cornell continues,” On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.” This second interpretation is generally espoused by those on the left and by those who consider themselves progressives or common sense thinkers.
Where exactly did the idea for this even come from? According to WIKIPEDIA the Second Amendment was “based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common-law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689”. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.
So where does Joe Refano and his big mouth stand on this issue? Let me say right here that my interpretation sides with the left in that I feel the Constitution sought to protect the people, as represented in their regional states, from an oppressive centralized government and not to guarantee every citizen the right to carry a firearm.
But let me also add I SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS TO POSSESS FIREARMS IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.
I believe it doesn’t matter one bit which side of the fence you’re on. Why??? Because what we need is a logical, rational and workable plan that addresses the problem with reasonable solutions.
I HAVE JUST SUCH A PLAN and I will clue you in as to what my solution (s) for the gun violence epidemic in my next posting.