While there have been many mass shootings in this country over the past several years, it seems the latest mass shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has caused quite a stir on social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter. I see all kinds of posts from both parties, republican and Democrat. Most from the republican party (conservatives) are not true or are a bastardization of the truth to fit either narrative. However, I'm looking at the arguments from a much broader perspective that everyone else seems to be missing.
Republicans like to claim that Democrats are trampling on their "God given rights" of the 2nd. Amendment. First, it's funny to me that they have to put God in the claim. I guess it means something more to them than what the 2nd. Amendment really is, a Constitutional Right afforded to them by the U.S. Constitution as a U.S. citizen. I have a real problem with someone thinking that God would give them the right to own firearms capable of killing God's creatures, including humans! But, whatever...
First, let's take a look at the 2nd. Amendment:
"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."
If you read the Wikipedia Page on the 2nd. Amendment, you will see the main intent of the 2nd. Amendment is to keep tyranny at bay for the sake of our free nation. Meaning, our government cannot invoke a tyrannical position of power over the people. It was thought that as long as the citizens of the United States were well armed, this would provide a significant check of governmental power over it's citizens. There were other intentions as well like aiding law enforcement, repelling invasion of our land from other foreign countries, and self defense. Mind you, nowhere in the 2nd. Amendment does it list hunting as a right or a use for guns!
So, I've been thinking about the listed use for the 2nd. Amendment.
"Aiding law enforcement": While this sounds perfectly appropriate, in practice today, you would probably be shot by an officer if you pulled a gun out to defend yourself or assist in a law enforcement engagement when police are present. Sure, you could take a chance at it, and maybe everything would work out OK. But, you really have to be quite careful with this thought. The officer(s) really need to know who you are and what side you are on at a very critical moment in time for this to work well for you. As well, if you made a mistake like shooting an officer or an innocent person, it could be your last move. Either you could get shot yourself, or put on death row. It's a big risk to take. And why take it anyway? There are way more police officers that have way more firepower than you with your gun. It's their job, they are trained better than you, let them do it! Seems like a very high risk activity with very little gain considering.
"Repelling invasion of our land": In short, we have a very large, very well funded military for this. We have two huge oceans separating us from invasion of our homeland. Unless you really think that the Canadians or the Mexicans are going to invade the U.S. homeland, this argument seems silly. Still, we are talking about a foreign army getting though our military, getting through our civil defense mechanisms, then our state and local police before it get's to you in your home. If you think that you and your AR-15 are going to really defeat the "enemy" after getting through all of that, you are quite the dreamer. In the 1700's this was a real possibility, today however, not so much.
"Self defense": This is the only reasonable argument for the 2nd. Amendment today. Self defense for you, your family, and your property. But, you don't need an AR-15 for this. A pistol and some good training would do just fine.
"Tyranny": This is the big one. This is the one I read many times over as to the argument for the 2nd. Amendment. To protect "us" from our government. But, this one takes a bit of thought to defend.
The real purpose of the 2nd. Amendment is the intention to keep our government "scared" of "us" and thereby keeping the government from controlling our lives in ways "we" don't agree to. The very definition of "Tyranny"!
So, let's get real. Our government has a fully funded and very large military that could invade "us" several times over even if you have your AR-15. No match at all. Our government has significant control over our state and local police. Again, no match at all even if you have several AR-15s! Now, perhaps, if ALL of us had AR-15s, and were trained and really good shots, * maybe * this would actually afford "us" the intended check against our government by the 2nd. Amendment. But, we all know, that's not the case.
So, what does all this boil down to? Are you scared of our government or do you really think our government is scared of "us"? There are roughly 320 million people in the U.S. Of those, there are roughly 78 million gun owners. Yes, that's a lot. However, is it working? Is our government scared or "us"? I don't think so. Actually, I think most people are scared of our government and what it can do to "us". Think about it. Do you pay your taxes? Why? Because you know that the government will come and take all of your "stuff" and perhaps put you in jail! Do you abide by the laws? Why? Because you know damn well that if you don't, the local police (or state police) will either shoot you (perhaps with an AR-15) or put you in jail!
Now, you might argue that you are a law-abiding citizen and because of that alone, you pay your taxes and abide by the law. I know I do. You may also feel that abiding by the law and paying your taxes makes you a "good Christian", like God cares about this. OK. But still, the main intention of the 2nd. Amendment is to provide "us" with a check against our government. In other words, a threat to the powers that be. Considering the above, I don't think it's working.
I'm all for the 2nd. Amendment. Really I am. But, please don't give me the argument that we need the 2nd. Amendment to protect against tyranny. Our government isn't scared of us and this intention just isn't working. Get yourself a pistol or a shotgun if you want but there is no decent argument for not adding real background and mental state checks on people wanting to buy a gun and there is no real decent argument for citizens to purchase automatic, high powered, and high capacity weapons.