My readers might disagree with that notion, and, of course, they are free to. But we all might consider one thing: that we certainly all agree that there are certain weapons we would not want in the hands of any particular private citizen...a nuclear bomb, for instance.
|Somewhere between this...|
What about a setup that would protect his loved ones and property in the form of a series of pipes in the front lawn that would pump VX nerve gas into the air in the event of an intruder? Of course not -- too many could die.
What about those who have to travel city streets alone at night? Should it be legal to carry a flame thrower for self-defense? Ridiculous, right? The whole city could burn down.
This only all goes to prove that we all agree that there should be limits on the ways in which we can protect ourselves. Anyone who thinks that we should be allowed to defend ourselves in the ways listed above is an idiot. I say this with confidence, because I believe that any idiot who would disagree with me here is someone I would rather stop reading my blog.
So, carrying things further, in modern times, we have a vast variety of guns and rifles and other assorted personal weapons that range vastly in their ability to inflict damage on the enemy. I am not a gun expert, so I am not going to propose the specific "line" at which we should cut off John Q. Public from his self-defense. I just want it to be clear that any rational being would agree that we do need to draw some line when it comes to what sort of weapons we should allow the average person to own, at least when we expand to weapons of mass destruction or to ones that could cause the death of too many, especially the innocent.
Is it ridiculous to draw a line? -- to say how much firepower is too much firepower, even in the hands of a law-abiding citizen? I don't think so.
I do believe that average citizen should have access to guns, but I think the kind of guns does need to be limited. I'm not sure at what level I think this should be done, to be honest with you -- probably somewhere between a shotgun and short of a Gatling gun in a second floor bedroom window seems right to me -- but it is as worthy of consideration as it would be with any weapon. The absurd examples above serve only to prove the point that, at some level, the ways in which we defend ourselves needs to be limited.
It is ludicrous and dangerous to suggest that guns be outlawed altogether. The last thing we need is a country in which the government has all the guns and the people have none; bad idea, and the Founding Fathers agreed.
It could be argued that if we don't have the best firepower, we could never mount a revolution, at need. I disagree with that -- the Patriots in the 1770s were outgunned, but they found a way. It seems illogical to me to prepare for something as unlikely (but, admittedly, possible) as a revolution by arming ourselves to an extent that, in the process of waiting for this possible new revolution, we make it easier for lunatic after lunatic to mount widescale attacks on random groups and killing hundreds if not thousands. Since 1966, alone, 869 people have been killed in mass shootings, and there has not been one revolution. Mass shootings are a pressing problem. (I know, I know -- the weapons in these killings have ranged from handguns to rifles to machine guns...that's why we need to think it over -- which ones does it make the most sense to keep off of the streets? Not all of them, for sure. I want to remain clear about that.)
But for heaven's sake, people, please stop arguing that "making things illegal won't stop them from happening." I can point to about two-hundred memes to this effect that have made me drastically angry. Making rape illegal has not stopped it from happening, but no one is proposing that we should just lift the laws off of the books because making laws has not solved the problem...
So, the question becomes whether limiting the kinds of gun we can own is a violation of the amendment's idea that the right to have guns "shall not be infringed." (In my previous piece, you can see, I hope, that when it comes to variety of weapons, the writers of the amendment could not have had "limitation" in mind, so it becomes a non-issue).
When the law limits the kinds of weapons we are allowed to have, it is not precluding the ownership of guns, in general. In this way, I don't see regulation of what is legal and what is not legal to own as a conflict with the amendment.
That said, I will be so bold as to submit a revision of the Second Amendment and to present it cloudward to Mr. Jefferson, for his consideration:
Protection of self and family being a fundamental right of every human, the right the people to keep and bear arms within a reasonable scope with respect to the safety of the citizenry at large, shall not be infringed.
Sure, that leaves a big question mark in the air: What does "within a reasonable scope" mean? That's what judges and government representatives are for: to argue about and to decide these things. It won't be an easy road, but I think we should keep up the tug-of-war of the legal and governmental processes.
In the end, I just want us all to agree that limitations on the weapons the average citizen can own is a good idea when it comes to nukes and nerve agents; that limiting works from the top down. I just want us to discuss the line. Why would it stop at the most powerful and destructive hand-held weapon ever made? If it shouldn't (and it shouldn't) then the debate is over what is safe enough, but still lethal enough to offer personal defense. And let's argue about that and keep adjusting and adjusting and adjusting, as time goes on, as Thomas Jefferson knew we would need to do.