The 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment

(The next two weeks’ posts deal with issues that are currently in the headlines. My primary objective is to discuss the possibility of compromise regardless of how polarized the sides have grown. The issues are not as nearly as black and white as we are led to believe. Somewhere in the grey compromises are possible)  

It reads as follows in its entirety: “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.” 

What is interesting to me is that the folks who want more controls and restrictions on the ownership of guns (not the prohibition of owning weapons) focus on the first ½ of the Amendment in yellow while the  NRA and their devotees focus only on the 2nd ½ in blue.

What were the intentions of the authors of this single sentence amendment? We may never know for certain?

Did they envision the day when we would have standing armed forces? Could they have envisioned the “arms” that we have today? Would they have drawn a line on what “arms” would be allowed for private ownership? Would semi-automatic weapons make the cut? What about RPGs and Bazookas?

The fact is that “arms” of the day was a musket and they would not have been aware of any gun “arms” beyond that. Just a few facts: Muskets were not particularly accurate .

Compare those specifications with the capabilities of a modern-day AR-15. According to the makers of one model of the gun, a good shooter can effectively fire 45 rounds per minute. The guns are stable and accurate at distances five to 10 times farther than a typical Second Amendment-era gun. Standard magazines can hold 30 rounds, and shooters can swap out magazines and continue firing in just a matter of seconds. Is this required for home protection?

Do more guns mean less crime? Do more guns mean our homes are safer? What do unbiased studies reveal?

How does our murder rate stack up against countries that have more restrictive gun ownership regulations and background checks?

CountryHomicide Rate Homicide CountMeasurement Year
United States4.9616,2142018
United Kingdom1.208092018
New Zealand0.74352017
South Korea0.603092018

Should we take your guns away? Of course not. Should we enact laws that reduce the availability of guns to high-risk individuals? Should we enact laws that limit the availability of assault weapons and others that are not required for self-defense? Are we able to reduce our murder rate in line with other first-world nations?