Sensible Gun Control is Needed

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 Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The issue of what, if any, gun control laws are appropriate in a civilized society once again is in the forefront of the news after the tragic shooting in Orlando two weeks ago.

There is no question that among all of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the most archaic, both in terms of its language and its intent.

The amendment appears contradictory on its face. It contains the phrase “well-regulated,” implying that the government has the right to make rules and regulations, but then concludes with the verb phrase, “shall not be infringed,” which suggests that there should not be any governmental rules or regulations.

In terms of the substance of the Second Amendment, the notion of a militia has no practical meaning today relative to what that term meant in the late 18th century. We are long past the days when farmers left the fields to become de facto soldiers, or when posses were rounded up to chase outlaws, or when settlers were on their own in a hostile environment.

But some pretend that a lifestyle that no longer exists still has meaning in the America of the 21st century.

However, it was only a few years ago that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court  resolved some of the ambiguity in the Second Amendment when the court declared that the right to bear arms applied to individual citizens, not merely to a government-organized militia.

But tellingly, the same majority acknowledged that the local, state, and federal governments have the authority to make regulations pertaining to that right. As is the case with all of our rights as Americans, none of them, including freedom of speech, is absolute, and the right to bear arms is no exception.

Some, led chiefly by the National Rifle Association, are opposed to gun regulation and registration laws of any kind because of their belief that even the mildest regulations will lead us down the proverbial slippery slope and ultimately will result in confiscatory gun laws.

However, that position of absolutism, while convenient for the NRA, simply is not the way our country works.

Henry Clay said it best, “Politics is the art of compromise.” Compromise is what our American system of government is all about. The Founders created a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government to ensure that compromise must take place.

No gun law will be a silver bullet (no pun intended) that forever will prevent every shooting, of which there are tens of thousands every year in this country that murder and maim us in numbers of epidemic proportions. Although ISIS-inspired terrorism has grabbed the focus of our attention, more Americans are killed and wounded every few days by our own citizenry in incidents of gun-related violence than have been killed by terrorists in all of the past 15 years combined.

To sum it up succinctly, we have met the enemy — and it is us.

Senator Ed Markey and others have proposed sensible gun regulations that will not deprive or unduly burden any law-abiding citizen of his or her Second Amendment rights, but which will greatly reduce the carnage that occurs in our nation on a daily basis. We urge all of our lawmakers to undertake the work necessary to enact the laws we need to make America as safe as possible from those whose hearts and minds are filled with hate and criminal intent.

Journal Staff:

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  • This article has an egregious error. The term "well regulated" in the 18th century meant functioning well or in good order. The concept of regulation as it exists today didn't exist back then. The words "well regulated" can't be used today to justify taking people's gun rights away. The idea that militias are outdated is a farce. The principle of arming the people so the govt doesn't have forces on its payroll that can oppress is as valid today as it was 200 years ago & will still be valid 200 years in the future. It's not rocket science to figure out that every tyrant has used armed govt forces to do their evil after they disarmed the people they wished to oppress. The idea that the people should be armed and organized to defend themselves is actually rooted in the fact that someone must have power. If the people have that power no one will try to attack or tyrannize them. If the people are disarmed a government will come to power that will tyrannize them. This has been extensively written about. "What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." So said Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts during the floor debate over the Second Amendment. Today, the “standing army” that we have to worry about domestically is the huge law enforcement establishment. I’m talking about not only state and local police but also agencies like the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and ad nauseum. Rather than deploy troops on the streets they use law enforcement to control us. While these agencies exist our liberty will always be in danger. Gun rights haters may think they're trying to stop murder but they're not. Gun control only helps criminals both in & out of govt.

  • Sensible Gun Control is Needed June 25, 2016 By Journal Staff, and your staff is just dead wrong!!! There is no "sensible" gun law. None have been proposed. Every new proposal has been voted down. And it is not even about laws. Stopping shootings is about every person on the scene at the time a shooting begins is to rush the shooter and take him down. It is not about laws, nor racism, nor hate, nor money, nor guns, nor politics.

  • Bravo to the editors for courageously publishi,g this opinion, which doubtless will bring down the wrath of the NRA. People have a right to own guns. The government has the right to regulate them however. I habe a right to my property but I assure you my home and land are regulated. Regulation of property is not the seizure of property.

  • Gun regulations don't work the criminals are still going to get them . And banning weapons like the AR 15 won't solve anything either just look at the Virginia Tech shootings one 9 mm and one 22 and he managed to kill 32 people.

  • The semi-literate, ill-educated editorial staff of the Revere Journal should learn more about the matter before writing about it. Perhaps read the Heller decision.

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