Monday, December 17, 2012

The Debate on Gun Control

I usually do not write about controversial societal issues on this blog. However I feel strongly about this topic and the Newtown school massacre puts the issue on the front pages everywhere.

The time is past for debate on the pros and cons of gun control. Debate should now focus on what kind of gun control should be enacted.

Governments establish guidelines citizens obey and hopefully respect, leading to an orderly, organized, protected and safe society. There is and always has been a contest over how many rules are too many. Too much regulation results in stifling the economic and social well being of all citizens. Few rules cause a breakdown in a society’s comfortable and safe lifestyle.

The United States faces the breakdown of mores regarding the respect, safety, protection, health and regard of its citizens. When the right to bear arms supersedes the safety of citizens everywhere – especially the youngest who cannot defend themselves – the society needs to take a careful look at the ramifications of its actions, or lack thereof. The second amendment of the Bill of Rights stipulates the right to bear arms:

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.

The states ratified the Bill of Rights in 1791. Gun control opponents talk about their right to possess guns – including the kinds of guns that did not exist in 1791.

Circumstances change, society changes, and the United States in 2012 is not the rural society of 1791. The law of unintended consequences regarding the second amendment has hit our country hard, and it is time to re-evaluate current guidelines and set new ones that protect citizens without infringing on basic rights. I doubt the Founding Fathers would be unswerving in their defense of the Second Amendment surveying the devastation wrought by the refusal of many to curb the profusion of deadly weapons.

It is time for an open, honest debate about what to do now.

The NRA (National Rifle Association), in a 2000 TV commercial, claimed violent crimes increased in Australia after strict gun control laws were enacted in the 1990s.

The NRA’s claims were wrong.

The Australian government accused the organization of misrepresenting data and pressed the NRA to remove references to Australia from the NRA website. The Australian government stated crime had not increased since stricter gun control laws went into effect in 1996.

No more posturing, false statistics, blaming individuals, societal problems – everything and everyone except the instruments of destruction.

The Constitution affirms the function of the government of the United States:
            establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".

It is time to “insure domestic tranquility,” and “promote the general Welfare” of everyone – especially our children.