The 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment

Quite some time ago I posted the following to my blog. In light of the recent mass murders I thought it worth repeating with some additional thoughts added (in next weeks posting).

 Guns, guns and more guns!

Just when you thought I had offended just about everyone, well not quite. I have several friends that are staunch NRA supporters. Actually, I am not at opposed to gun ownership as long as they are registered. I see registration as an important item for law enforcement. I am in favor of our law officers having the latest armament available. My concern is regarding the “facts” regarding murder rates in the US vs. other countries. I often the comment “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. That does make sense, but the facts seem to indicate otherwise. Let’s compare our experience to a few other “civilized” countries:                     Source:

Current Worldwide Homicide/Murder Rate

Country or Area Rate (rate per 100,000 population) Note Source
  Australia                                                         1.23  

Belgium                                                             1.83                                                                                 Canada                                                                1.67                                                                             Denmark                                                          1.4                                                                                    France                                                               1.35                                                                           Germany                                                             .8                                                                                Iceland                                                                  0

I could go on, but you get the idea

U.S.A.                                                                 5.22

The issue is, are we safer because we have more guns (or less gun control)?                             The other comment that I hear often is: “it’s a Constitutional issue; the 2nd amendment gives me the right to own as many and whatever type of weapons that I want”. I would suggest that this is not entirely true, and even if it was we might want to modify our thinking based on the facts. Let’s look at the entire wording of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution: “Amendment II 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.”

Yep, that is the entire amendment. It should be obvious that the intention of this right had to do with the need to maintain the militia, which at the time made excellent sense. At the time of the writing the Bill of Rights in 1789 the standing Army (created in 1784) was extremely small and the founding fathers realized the need to call on local militia troops should the country face another threat from a substantial foe. In 1812 the opportunity presented itself:  Source:                              “The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for Madison had assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and that negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers, at least initially. The militia objected to serving outside their home states, were not open to discipline, and performed poorly against British forces when outside their home states. American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where anti-war speakers were vocal. “Two of the Massachusetts members [of Congress], Seaver and Widgery, were publicly insulted and hissed on Change in Boston; while another, Charles Turner, member for the Plymouth district, and Chief-Justice of the Court of Sessions for that county, was seized by a crowd on the evening of August 3, [1812] and kicked through the town”

stay tuned for some additional thoughts on this topic next week