This started out as a response to comment made on an Instagram post by Thomas Dekker, whose hometown is Las Vegas. I was not planning to blog about the Route 91 Harvest Festival shootings. It hit too close to home for me when I found out a close friend’s cousin was among the murdered… slaughtered… sacrificed? Thomas posted a photo of a bumper sticker promoting the NRA, with the comment, “Could not be a more unpleasant time to pull up next to a car with this sticker on it. #stopthemadness” The comment that got me going was: “Why? How do you protect yourself? Many of us do not have armed guards to protect us or live in gated community. Read about the history of the Constitution. Check out what the NRA is about. Do not be a sheep. Find out for yourself.” What follows was my response that comment—it was too long for Instagram to accept. Since I had already spent the time on it, I decided to write a blog post, instead.
It got me going. Here’s a little of the history of the Constitution, The Second Amendment, what a militia is and was, the US Army, the Revolutionary War.
Just as a disclaimer—I grew up rurally—I know how it feels to be out in the middle of nowhere, alone, in the middle of the night. I am fully capable of using rifles and firearms (I’m also a pretty good shot). I am aware that in a home invasion, a good old shotgun is your best defense.
Another side of includes: my best friend lost one of his cousins in Las Vegas last weekend.
I try to be impartial—I understand both views—but I believe we are, collectively, insane to allow the gun violence in our country to continue unabated.
At the time the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, in 1791, we had no standing army. Because of “the republican distrust of standing armies,” the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War was immediately disbanded after the war was over. At that point, the states had militias as protection (which were regulated by Congress). These are the militia referred to by “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” As the US Army (which was not formed until 1791, when the Feds realized they could not eradicate the Indigenous People without a real army) began to grow, the state militias shrunk, and, by 1903, were redefined via the Militia Act of 1903 to “organized militia,” which includes state-level National Guard and Naval Militia; and “unorganized militia,” which is “every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age not a member of one of the organized militia”—notice the term “well regulated” was not included.
The 2nd Amendment is fairly ambiguously stated—as the Founders likely intended—so it could be interpreted according to the needs of the current time and populace.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, we have allowed special interest groups (you can read that as groups, like the NRA, supported by people who makes lots of money from their interests—this would be the weapons and ammunition manufacturing lobby—and are willing to spend vast sums to ensure they can continue to make lots of money) to sway the current, legal interpretation to include nearly any conceivable weapon—not only ones intended for self-protection or hunting, but ones intended for killing a lot of people at once. In my opinion, no one should be allowed to own assault rifles. Ammunition should be restricted—for instance, none that pierce body armor should be allowed.
There is nothing in The Second Amendment that prohibits the weapons from be regulated—or the operators of those weapons. The weapons and their operators should be licensed—similar to cars. A lost or stolen weapon would have to reported, tracked and located. An operator should lose his license—and his right to own guns—if he breaks the rules. Only by a special collectors license should an operator be allowed to own more than <some number> of guns or otherwise-banned weapons.
These are rational limitations on gun ownership. Other countries have implemented rules like these—Australia is a very good modern example, where they passed strict limitations even though our own NRA lobbied aggressively there to block the ban. They no longer have mass shootings—their last one was on April 28, 1996, and finally spurred their government into taking action. Their overall gun deaths per year dropped to 0.93 per 100,000—around 3 is the max for all other “first world countries” and most emerging nations. We have 10.54 per 100,000 per year—on par with Uruguay, and 30% higher than places like Mexico, Argentina and Paraguay. Only ten countries have higher rates than The US, including Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela [From Wiki—mixed most-recent years available]
So far this year, there have been 11,793 gun deaths in 47,142 gun-related incidents—which went up by 12 and 31, respectively, since I started writing this about an hour ago. This does not include the roughly 22,000 suicides by gunshot that occur each year. We will end the year around 35,000 gun deaths—this is “normal,” for us—and, we have normalized it. We have the highest gun ownership rate in the world, although, it is impossible to know how many guns are out there because the FBI only tracks applications, not actual purchases—how insane is that?
Guns kill people. It’s really their only purpose. If people didn’t have guns, no one would die from gunshot wounds. #StopTheMadness
Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.