This is a deviation from my regular series due to me being pissed off and upset about the latest tragedy involving gun violence
I’m done. Done mourning innocent children. Done answering to criminals (politicians). Done having a moment of silence. It’s time to make a stand, time to take some action, and time to step up and solve this problem. Actually, it was time for all of that a few decades ago, but as the old adage says, Better late than never”. This country was founded on racist ideals, and for anyone who questions that fact, I point to the constitution of the United States of America. It was a mistake then for the northern delegates to compromise with the southern delegates (Finkleman, 2003), and we have been paying for it ever since. I have heard folks argue that I am wrong and that we have a bill of rights which protects us from our government. Yet were it not for Alexander Hamilton, we wouldn’t have that (Finkleman, 2003).
Funny how during the whole drafting of the constitution that not once were the people thought of until afterwards, hence the bill of rights is nothing more than the first ten amendments. America sure looked pretty good if you were a rich, white, male landowner. As for everyone else, well, you didn’t have to be rich to have rights, but if you weren’t a man, you were certainly a second class citizen. And heaven forbid you were Black, because then you weren’t even that as the 3/5 clause didn’t even make you a full person in the eyes of the law. The Electoral College was put in place to keep the folks in the south placated and happy, so that they could continue to profit from the evil institution (Finkleman, 2003). But this isn’t about racism; it is just a small history refresher to show how much the founders’ opinions should matter to us today. They were wrong then, and they are outdated and wrong now. That goes for all of them, not just about people.
Take the second amendment, for example. Here is the full text: 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.” (Jefferson) During the time, we did not have a standing army as was common in Europe. We depended greatly on a militia for protection. Article 1, section 8, clause 12 allows for the US to provide for a standing army, but only for a period of two years (Jefferson, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution). So in order to maintain security, the people had to be prepared to provide that security. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, but as you all should know, the world changed. Most of the time, we changed with it. We made changes to the constitution as amendments, and we made changes to society as well. Just as we no longer ride horses for our daily transportation, we also no longer have the need for our citizens to provide arms for a militia to protect the country. In fact, the Militia Act of 1903 (Parker) pretty much took care of that for us, along with the standing army we have, along with the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
Even when it was still a necessary part of life in the US, folks seem to forget about the well regulated part of the amendment. There were certain requirements, and although not written in the actual document, they were spelled out in the Militia Act of 1792, and the second Militia Act of 1792 (Congress) instructs them to equip themselves with a musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, a box able to contain not less than 24 suitable cartridges, and a knapsack. Alternatively, everyone enrolled was to provide himself with a rifle, a powder horn, 1/4 pound of gunpowder, 20 rifle balls, a shot-pouch, and a knapsack”. That is what is meant by well regulated”. The only purpose of the 2d amendment was to provide for this militia, and this militia became obsolete when the Militia Act of 1903 became law. Now, there is no need for Americans to be prepared to provide arms and ammunition for their service in the militia to protect the country in times of need.
I am not calling for the 2d amendment to be repealed, or even amended. I am calling for it to be taken to heart and implemented fully, by actually using the term well regulated” as intended. It is time for us to enact legislation to require a license for all gun owners. The common sense requirements of insurance, annual safety and range training, a mental health clearance letter, a background check, and a letter of need should be applied to this license. There is no need to change the background check, just to apply it to all sales, including private citizens’ sales. It is as simple as filling out a form and making a phone call, just like every legal gun dealer or pawn shop does now. There is no need to keep a national database of this information, that should be left to the states, and simply requiring the individuals to keep said information on file in their homes and available to present upon request would suffice. The penalty for falsification of this information would be loss of the right for either a period of time or for all time. The cost incurred for obtaining the requirements would be borne by the gun owner as a cost of exercising the right.
Now, to address the objections that I hear from advocates of unrestricted gun ownership. The first one I often hear is, ”that isn’t what the founders meant by well regulated”. To that I say, so? The founders didn’t consider women full citizens and Black folks full people. I think we can safely say that we have moved on from those types of founders’ intentions”, or at least most of us have. Anyway, do any of you think that any one of the founders would put up with kids getting shot like we do now? Next you’ll hear, ”that puts undue hardship on poor people”. To this I also say, so? If you want to own a gun, you need a reason, and you need to follow the regulations. If you can’t afford them, then maybe you don’t really need a gun, but maybe you do. If you do, you’ll find a way, just like you’ll find a way to smoke cigarettes even though they cost upwards of $5 a pack and you smoke a pack a day. If you quit smoking, you can afford a gun. I’m not sure of the health trade-off there, but if you want to do something you’ll find a way. Then comes the argument, I don’t want the government in my business and telling me what to do”. Well, that is an easy one to put down, move. Good luck finding another country where you have the freedom we have here and most of those places don’t allow guns at all. They also don’t have mass shootings like we do, so maybe you’ll be better off. You lost that argument when you allowed the government to mandate seatbelts, pre-employment urinalysis tests, and who is allowed to go on strike. If you think that all of those are alright because those aren’t rights”, then I suggest you do some soul searching and deep introspection to find out what you are so upset about.
Would this much restriction on guns have made a difference in any of the mass shootings? I am not qualified to say this with absolute certainty, but yes, it would likely have stopped most of them, since in most cases the shooter obtained a weapon legally. I own an AR-15 and would gladly give it, along with all the rest, up if it meant that there would be no more mass shootings. I would willingly submit to any of these and any other restrictions as well. If you or anyone else would not, then not only is the deep introspection and soul searching needed, but you need to remove yourself from society and find a commune that will take you or become a hermit. You do not deserve the protection of society if you are not willing to accept the responsibilities of society. The first and foremost responsibility is the safety of all of us, not the rights of the privileged few.
I realize that laws alone are not enough to deter the most determined attacker, so my plan is not a single faceted one but it also has allowances for addressing the root cause of the violence. Mass shootings are like almost every other problem we have in society, as they do not have only one cause, but are a chain of events leading to the problem. If you break any one link in the chain, you stop the action. Making it hard to get a gun is the priority now, since it is the one thing that can be done immediately with the least change in society. This is a short term solution. A longer term solution would be to address the shooters as people who are in need of help. Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology at Hamline University, and James Densley, a professor of criminal justice at Metro State University, studied mass shootings and found that all the shooters had very similar backgrounds. Peterson says, There’s this really consistent pathway. Early childhood trauma seems to be the foundation, whether violence in the home, sexual assault, parental suicides, extreme bullying. Then you see the build toward hopelessness, despair, isolation, self-loathing, oftentimes rejection from peers. That turns into a really identifiable crisis point where they’re acting differently. Sometimes they have previous suicide attempts. (Warner, 2022) From this, we can take away that in order to prevent shootings, we need to address the precursors.
In short, we need to make compassion common. Every single one of these shooters went into the place with a sense of desperation. They knew there was no way out, that they were either going to be killed or go to prison. If we were to do as the authors suggest and make mental health professionals available to them all, it would take half a million at the cost of around $36 billion, given a $70,000 salary each (Warner, 2022). That is a mere drop in the bucket for the yearly budget in America, and now that we have stopped the forever wars we have at least that much to spare. To go a step further, we need to teach our children compassion at an early age, so that if someone were to fall through the cracks in the programs, they wouldn’t necessarily get bullied, or would at least have a friend to talk to about the terrible things they have experienced and have a chance to deal with it rather than become so desperate that they want to end their lives and the lives of others.
Things that will not work are more police or armed guards in our schools, and we have seen that repeatedly. Other things that will not work are more thoughts and prayers. Most people in the US identify as religious, many Christian as well as others. Isaiah 1:15 says, When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of the blood. (Translators, 1989, 1993, 1995)” This applies to every single person who says that they have the unrestricted right to a weapon, along with every single politician who refuses to do anything meaningful about the gun problem, along with the domestic terrorist organization that is otherwise known as the NRA. There is a lot of blood on a lot of hands in this nation, and I, for one, am tired of it. This plan is not only a workable plan, it is a life saving plan that should be implemented immediately. I have every reason to believe that it will fall on deaf ears and be ridiculed by every traitor to the country wrapped in the flag carrying a Bible, like the Devil himself intended. But that does not stop me, for the mission is critical, and I have children and grandchildren and am not ashamed to say that I love and care for them deeply, and cannot stand idly by and not at least try to get something done. My conscience is clear, how about yours?
Christian, Patriot, Veteran
Congress, A. o. (n.d.). A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875. Retrieved 05 29, 2022, from Library of Congress: https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=003/llac003.db&recNum=691
Jefferson, T. (n.d.). second amendment. Retrieved 05 29, 2022, from constitution annotated: https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-2/
Jefferson, T. (n.d.). The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Retrieved 05 29, 2022, from The Heritage Foundation: https://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/52/army-clause
Parker, J. (n.d.). The Milita Act of 1903. Retrieved 05 29, 2022, from jstor: https://archive.org/details/jstor-25119439/page/n10/mode/2up?view=theater
Translators, C. o. (1989, 1993, 1995). The Holy Bible, NRSV, Catholic Edition. Nashville: Catholic Bible Press.
Warner, M. (2022, 05 27). Two Professors Found What Creates a Mass Shooter. Will Politicians Pay Attention? . Retrieved 05 29, 2022, from politico: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/05/27/stopping-mass-shooters-q-a-00035762?cid=apn&fbclid=IwAR1YEUKKSKTrNpks4F4FqpVeIeyhTgi73nMnGbxzKl_ysr9gusaUbCkzqJg