Thursday, May 24, 2018

Maxing Out: Second Amendment rights are dangerous

MAX FURIGAY ’19

COLUMNIST

The recent shootings in San Bernardino have brought the issue of gun control into public consciousness yet again: as did the massacres in Newtown, Aurora, Portland, Tucson, Oak Creek and countless other towns and cities all across America- all during the past few years.

Yet none of these tragedies have brought forth any change in American legislation. It is time for Americans to decide how much longer we are going to allow these horrible events to transpire before we do something about it.

The Second Amendment- an amendment written in a much different time and for a much different purpose- must be repealed or amended to reflect the necessity of promoting safety and protection of everyone in the nation. How much longer are we going to stand idly by, watching these horrific shootings take place?

America is the only developed country that allows a citizen to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon with no waiting period. In some states, an individual need not take part in a background check.

Put simply, there is no possible need for anyone to own this type of weapon. Civilians do not need a gun that can spray up to fifty bullets per second. You don’t use that kind of weapon to hunt deer, or any other animal. You don’t use it to defend yourself from a mugger or home invader. The only purpose for this type of weapon is to bring an end to dozens and dozens of lives as quickly as possible.

The right to a weapon without a background check is not constitutionally protected. Neither is the right to any weapon without a waiting period.

Why is it so difficult to implement these common-sense measures?

A common argument from gun proponents is that the real issue in America pertains to treatment and diagnosis of mental health issues, and that gun control is not the root of the problem.

This does not make any sense.

There have been insane people for all of history and all over the world. Wouldn’t you rather the homicidal maniac be wielding a club or something easier to control, rather than a military-style assault rifle, a weapon that is truly designed to kill?

Even if mental health in America needs to be addressed, it is obviously a long term solution for our short term problem.

There is a reason that homicide rates from handguns are three times greater in America than all other developed nations. These rates are also up to ten times greater than most countries in Europe.

Guns are regulated extremely poorly in America, due to the fact that our Founding Fathers thought that it was important to maintain a “well regulated militia.”

Later, this was interpreted as the right to bear arms, and is currently interpreted as freedom to own almost any weapon, including the aforementioned semi-automatic weapons, as well as grenade launchers and (under certain circumstances) “destructive devices” such as modified grenades. There is no way that this is what our original legislators meant by a “well regulated militia.”

In their times, the primary weapon was a musket that shot about one musket ball per minute, and people lived in constant fear of the tyranny of England.

Say what you will about President Obama, but he is certainly not going to militarily attack citizens of the United States of America.

Britain lacks such ambiguous wording in their constitution as “well regulated militia,” and guns are illegal in Britain completely. Their homicide rates are a tenth of ours. Giving people almost free rein with weapons isn’t a militia. In fact, most statistics have proven that it is  a recipe for disaster.

I understand the macho need to kill animals and that some people might enjoy it. To these people, I would say that it’s a fair trade to give up hunting to save actual human lives (as well as some animal ones).  I also understand that some fear a governmental takeover of one’s property, land, and freedom. The fact that not all the guns in the world could face the US military if they actually decided to raid anyone notwithstanding, I believe that these people are morons. If the government is going to come for anyone, your trusty shotgun will not help you.

The embarrassing political deadlock in Washington shows just how dangerous Republicans are on this issue.

In a time when the number of mass shootings per year has never been higher in the United States of America, our Congress still refuses to take even a symbolic stand against guns, much less enact policy to address the problem.

This is terrifying. Rather than address a shocking, dangerous, and shameful problem in America, our congressional leadership is choosing to pander to the gun-owning minority in an attempt to exercise small government.

Maybe some of current GOP presidential hopefuls spouting the usual anti-gun rhetoric might see the light and realize that one way to “make America great again” would be to bump our gun homicide rates above those of Croatia, Chile, or Mexico.

But who are we kidding? We would be extremely lucky if Ted Cruz shuts up about his frankly creepy love for guns for a week after any such shootings.

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