Thursday, December 3, 2015
A "well-regulated militia" will reduce gun violence
People will think I’m being facetious about this. I am not. I believe this is a sensible and constitutional solution to rampant gun violence. This from ’12 is in response to the Colorado movie theatre massacre.
Gun violence will be reduced when America decides to enforce what is to me the key phrase of the 27-word 2nd Amendment, so revered by our nation’s gun nuts.
And that’s mostly everyone who owns a gun. They love their guns and believe their guns are essential to their soulful peace of mind.
I understand those feelings.
I feel the same way about my family.
Where we differ is I’d never in a drunken or pre-meditated rage use my wife or one of our daughters to kill someone else. The things I love do not take life. They exalt it.
It’s been three days and I’ve only read one sensible discourse on the latest spree killer who didn’t break a single law right up until the instant he began pulling the triggers.
It was by lefty Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. I’m recalling a ’12 column in which he described how the NRA uses its influence to impose a de facto gag order on those who believe in common sense gun laws.
About that, Dionne’s absolutely right. Anyone who says these frequent tragedies should cause us to rethink our approach to spree killers is accused of exploiting the deaths and nothing gets done.
So let me offer a solution even the single-minded maniacs at the NRA will endorse.
Let’s reduce gun violence by enforcing word-for-word the 2nd Amendment.
Not only will it reduce violence, it will reduce health care costs, it will stabilize the country and decrease the amount of money the federal government spends on defense.
The 2nd Amendment says: “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.”
Let’s parse it. You’re certainly familiar with the part that reads “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
In fact, it might be the only part of the phrase most gun nuts even recognize. It is clear and absolute.
But it’s only part of it.
To me, the key phrase is never mentioned or argued in court fights over gun rights.
That is the three-word clause the Founding Fathers judged important enough to put right up front.
The security of a free state, they said, depends on “a well-regulated militia.”
What’s well-regulated about today’s gun owners?
We put more restrictions on needle artists who tattoo our hillbillies.
Gun ownership should involve mandatory participation in a local militia that meets at least once a month to drill in fitness and firearm safety measures.
Sound like another expensive government intrusion, a way for jackbooted thugs from the ATF to round up your guns?
Have the NRA run it.
I have great respect for true sportsmen and can see logic in aspects of even some of the nuttier positions espoused by the gun lobby. No one would be better running a national militia program aimed at gun safety.
The NRA would regulate who gets and who gets to keep guns.
This stipulation might very well have prevented the Aurora tragedy.
Glenn Rotkovich is the owner of the Lead Valley Range in Byers, Colorado. He refused to let killer James Holmes join his gun range after hearing a “bizarre,” guttural and unintelligible recorded phone greeting. Concerned, he told employees Holmes should not be allowed to fire weapons until he personally checked him out.
Oh, how I only wish the NRA would sanction that kind of hands-on background check playing a role in who gets lethal weapons.
If Holmes tried to obtain a weapon, he’d first be directed to a well-regulated militia outfit and screened by a man like Rotkovich. And let’s for the sake of argument assume Rotkovich, a gun range owner, is pro-guns.
It’s so simple.
It would also reduce the number of deaths by people who own guns because guns make them feel tough. You read about them in the news every weekend.
They shoot fellow bar patrons after getting into cross-tavern staring contests, road rage over perceived slights at traffic signals, and come home and rain gunfire on their angry wives for gently suggesting maybe they should find a job.
Tough guys? Monthly NRA-sanctioned drills and fitness programs would discourage them from wanting to own a gun, preferring Saturday morning couch comforts to sweating out TGIF hangovers at the local high school track.
Gun owners would be more fit, more civic minded and could be used to help provide national security. It could be like an adjunct National Guard, a proud national organization that is strengthened, not weakened, by being well-regulated.
I admire the previously cited Dionne column, but believe he’s wrong in one key aspect: The NRA doesn’t need less influence.
It needs more.
It needs more power, more responsibility.
Please, please, NRA -- for God’s sake -- take some responsibility.
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