The Second Amendment debate is getting old. Gun rights activists and anti-gun rights activists routinely take aim at each otherís arguments without much reverberation. Even in the wake of the Aurora shooting and many other incidents, some still find validity in arguing that guns are still acceptable everyday accessories Ė like a cell phone or wallet.
The arguments in favor of the Second Amendment make perfect sense, after all. Guns should be readily accessible to anyone and everyone. Think about it. Why wouldnít we want some immature 18-year old running around with a handgun in his hand? We would rather he didnít drink a beer than play with guns. Makes perfect sense.
Iím sure Iím beating an old drum, as I have written similar gun related columns. But, the casual demeanor in which we approach the subject of guns is deplorable. Being a Valley native, I understand the hunting culture and the usefulness of guns in hunting cases. I would be mistaken if I did not fess up to my own use of guns for recreational use. In todayís world, however, there are proper uses for guns and improper uses of guns.
Letís think about when the second amendment was authored for a moment Ė 1791. Not yet into the 19th Century, America was in its infancy. The Continental Army had just battled for its lands freedom from then enemy Great Britain, and George Washington was president for all of two years.
There were no cars, only horse and buggy. There was no television, just books. There was no electricity, just candles. Women couldnít vote and anyone who wasnít white was probably a slave. Sprawling urban and suburban cultures did not exist. Farms and ranches were the major source of income for the majority people.
This wasnít a world like today.
Guns werenít like the guns of today. A well trained Union soldier (some 70 years after the Second Amendment was born) could fire two shots every minute. Revolutionary War muskets measure five feet in length and weighed nearly ten pounds. They shot a single lead ball that was propelled by gun powder that had to be poured into the weapon before every shot. Needless to say, the musket took a lot of time to use and was extremely inaccurate from beyond 100 yards.
This is the style of gun the Second Amendment was authored after.
If we leave all the technological advances aside, there are some other major ideals that make the Second Amendment outdated. We must remember the United States was only two years old and still feared that Great Britain Ė our closest ally today Ė would invade us. Our defense and military relied heavily on the readiness of the general citizens of the country.
The exact reading of the firearms clause is, ďA 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.Ē A militia has not been present in the United States since the 1800s. If the United States still has the idea that a militia may be a necessary part of our defense system, then maybe our civilization has not grown up as much as it should.
We choose to argue for the right to bear arms for ignorant reasons. If people continue to argue that they own guns for protection, they are lying. Guns are owned in todayís world for recreation, for defiance, for power, and for fear. We will probably never have a militia again, which makes the Second Amendment argument archaic. In very rare cases do guns actually protect their civilian owners.
For those of you who wish to argue that guns donít kill people, people kill people. I retort, guns donít protect people, people protect people. Gun laws are a thing of the future; itís still politically unwise to push for progressive action on the protection of civility Ė which is why we still argue over whether or not the gun laws of 1791 are relevant to 2012.