Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Amendment Number Two

I decided to resurrect a previous post on the Second Amendment in light of yesterday's tragedy. My opinion is my opinion. I am in no way attempting to make light of the Virgina Tech tragedy nor am I stating that stricter gun control laws would have prevented it. We do not know nor could we know that.

In fact, CNN is reporting that Cho Seung-Hui presented three forms of identification when he purchased the 9mm Glock at a gun shop. A background check was conducted in less than a minute. Cho was 23. It was unlikely that he had done anything in his 23 years on this Earth that would have prevented his obtaining that gun, however, a thorough background check certainly takes more than one minute.

That being said...

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.

Misrepresentation runs rampant when it comes to the Second Amendment. What people fail to understand is that limitations may be placed upon the amendments. The amendments are not absolute. I am not a strict constructionist. I believe that the U.S. Constitution is a living document. I believe that the Constitution has to be interpreted in conjunction with the Framer's intent and the current world situation. The First Amendment guarantees free speech. Yet, free speech is not absolute. You cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theater - it creates a clear and present danger. You cannot present false or misleading advertising. You cannot slander or libel another. These are all limitations which the U.S. Supreme Court has placed upon the First Amendment. Now, given that it is the First Amendment, one could reasonably argue, that the Framers intended it to be the most important. Yet, reasonable limitations have been placed upon it.

Shifting our attention to the Second Amendment. Back in 1776, our fore fathers were fighting a revolution for freedom. They were seeking independence from Britain. Britain had the Royal Army. The Thirteen Colonies had nada. As such, a militia was required to fight the Brits. The Framers gave each person the right to bear arms, in order to form a militia which was necessary for the security of a free state.

Now, let's jump to 2007. We have the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force. All of which were formed for the security of a free state. So, naturally it begs the question as to whether the right to bear arms is even necessary?I believe that the right to bear arms should be preserved. If we unilaterally eliminated an amendment, it would be bad policy. There is something to say for preserving the Constitution. However, as limits have been placed upon free speech, it is not unreasonable to place limits upon the Second Amendment. Let's be realistic.

Is an AK-47 necessary to home defense? No. Are waiting periods and background checks an unreasonable restriction before a gun can be purchased? No. Is it unreasonable to hold gun manufacturers accountable for their creations? No. So, let's have a serious discussion about the second amendment and discuss the small steps that can be taken to maybe lessen the violence that our children are growing up to.

The massacre at Virgina Tech was an unspeakable event that no one would have imagined. I've read many blogs and stories over the last two days and many people talk about being "numb" to the tragedy. I cannot fathom being numb to the numbers of dead and wounded. As much as we have been exposed to over the last several years, I am still shocked that someone had the ability to act in the manner as this poor, deranged man did. Maybe it's my inherent belief that we are all good people, I don't know. What is shocking is the fact that every day U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet they do not receive the same amount of press coverage. Does the fact that they are soldiers make it alright to dismiss their deaths? Death, in most instances, is tragic. Preventable death is horrific.

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