America has a gun culture. Several questions come to mind regarding our culture and our laws regarding gun ownership. Currently the United States leads the affluent countries of the world in several categories, the amount of guns we own and the amount of murders per 100,000 people. Why do we feel the necessity to own so many guns and why are we leading the world among developed nations, in the amount of murders that take place? We need to answer the question of why can’t we change and have fewer deaths by gun?
First, let us deal with the question that so-called conservatives talk about when it comes to the right to bear arms. We constantly hear the refrain that the 2nd Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution states: 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 we look to the Federalist Papers as a guide, Federalist Paper# 29 speaks to the issue of a militia. It seems clear from Hamilton that the founders were worried about invasion and insurrection, and thereby having the need for a well regulated militia to come to the common defense of a state in case an insurrection or invasion occurred. In the early days of the Republic, citizens were concerned about having a standing army, and how having a standing army could be dangerous to whether a Republic would last.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, list the powers of Congress and under that section it speaks to providing for and organizing a militia but nowhere does it speak to an individual’s right to bear arms.
It can be argued that under the 14th Amendment the right to bear arms exists under Section I, when it states that no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. During the years following the Civil War, there were gangs that traveled about the country that endangered citizens, and it is felt that the right to have a gun for protection came from that. Also the idea that you can defend yourself in your own home has contributed to the legal right to have and own a gun as well.
Today, though, the staggering amount of murders that take place where a gun has been used is enough to take your breath away. If you compare the United Kingdom to the United States, only 0.04 murders take place in Great Britain per 100,000 people while in the United States we have 3.60 murders per 100,000 people take place.
Among developed countries the United States leads with 270 million guns being owned with India being in second place with 46 million guns. The United States has 4.5% of the world’s population but we own 40% of the guns, and these are owned by civilians.
I believe it is much too simplistic to think that the primary reason for this statistic is that we are a new country not too far removed from our frontier days when danger lurked and people felt it necessary to own a gun for protection.
Conservatives talk about wanting a well ordered and civil culture but what begs for an answer is how well ordered and civil can we be with such a culture of death.
Europeans are shocked when they visit if they go beyond the typical tourist attractions to see the poverty that exists in the United States. How much of our gun culture is determined by the fears and insecurities of people due to economic insecurity and a rather paranoid fear of our government?
Why are we the only developed nation of the world not to have across the board gun registration? Just follow the money and you might have your answer. Our legislators are influenced greatly by the money and influence of the gun lobby.
What person of reason can logically argue against the idea of knowing who owns a gun? I know that I don’t want a criminal to own a gun nor do I want a person who has mental health issues to own a gun, that to me is just common sense.
No one wants to take everyone’s gun away but we the people by the tune of 92% want universal background checks.
But we are living a life where the will of the majority is being stifled, silenced by those who make money by the selling of guns. We live in fear now that some crazy person might walk into a school with a gun and kill our children.
The answer to our fear is not to have more people armed, that is just crazy. I don’t want some person in a theater, respond in the dark, to some other crazy person by having a gunfight.
My daughter lives in England where the police only carry a gun when they know they will need to. Rarely is anyone killed by the use of a gun. In Los Angeles , there might be more deaths by gun in a weekend than in an entire year in England. What we are seeing is madness.
What we need is a sane and safe system of universal background checks to help insure that the wrong person is not allowed to buy a gun. No one can by law do away with all of the gun violence that takes place but what we can do is reduce the gun violence.
It is not too much to ask that our representatives in Washington listen to we the people and pass a sane piece of legislation that helps to keep us safer. No one wants to see any more children die; their lives cut short because someone who had no business owning a gun, using a semi-automatic weapon. Let us end this tyranny of the minority who buy our legislators and allow the madness to continue.