Guns N’ Voices: The Debate of a Lifetime for a Lifetime

By: Aaron Joseph. Did you hear about the mass elementary school attack last Friday morning? A knife-wielding lunatic attacked 20 six year olds outside the entrance to the Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan province, China. No children died, but many were critically injured. A few hours later America had its own horrific national grief to deal with.

When someone is unwell and is in position to hurt another, is there a way to prevent injury? Does it make a difference what the weapon of choice is? If the attacker is willing to lie down his own life to take another’s, can the attacker be stopped before undertaking his evil? Can you or I detect the extremes a stranger in the street may take until it is too late? Is licensing guns, or making laws restricting and restraining society at large the answer to any of these questions?

Probably not a very good analogy, however, anybody with a driver’s license can potentially cause a fatal DWI accident. The assassin of Newtown did not have a gun license. If there is any contrast at all between a right to drive and a right to own a gun it is this, that the right to own a gun is granted to you, and an American civil right protected = by the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution.

James Madison introduced the first 10 amendments of the United States Constitution to the first U.S. Congress back during 1789, shortly after the U.S. Constitution was ratified. These 10 amendments, commonly known as the “Bill Of Rights” helped to ensure the ratification of the constitution to begin with.

Many of the drafters and signatories of the U.S. Constitution were unhappy with the many compromises that were necessary to help reach its ratification. the gripe was that the constitution did not offer enough protection for citizens’ personal rights and freedoms, or protection of private property, seemingly granting the Federal Government too much overreaching power. The compromise was the Bill Of Rights.

Amongst the 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights is the right guarantying our freedom of speech, as well as of assembly, press, religion, and the right to bear arms, amongst many others.

So as entrenched as these rights which we take for granted each and every day; such as my writing this article, or your reading it; is that very same right that allows for guns and other forms of weaponry to make its way into the everyday street of America. Over time, Congress has found way and opportunity to regulate this right to bear arms.

The 72nd Congress enacted The National Firearms Act on June 26, 1934, imposing a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms, and mandates the registration of those firearms. The NFA also requires that transport of NFA firearms across state lines by the owner must be reported to the ATF.

The purpose of the NFA was to regulate what were considered “gangster weapons” such as machine guns and short barreled shotguns. Originally, pistols and revolvers were to be regulated as strictly as machine guns; towards that end, cutting down a rifle or shotgun to circumvent the handgun restrictions by making a concealable weapon was taxed as strictly as a machine gun. Conventional pistols and revolvers were ultimately excluded from the Act before passage, but other concealable firearms were not.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 is a federal law that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focus regulates interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. Gun manufacturers supported the 1968 Gun Control Act in an effort to forestall even greater restrictions, which were feared in response to the recent domestic violence of that time. The Gun Control Act of 1968 was part of President Johnson’s Great Society, and was spurred to passage by the 1960’s assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King.

To counter the government, there is the ever powerful National Rifle Association, or the N.R.A.

The oldest, and one of the largest associations in the United States, the NRA is made up of responsible citizens that advocate the 2nd amendment and proclaim the right of all to bear arms. First started after the civil war, it was originally organized to help improve rifle marksmanship, and to that end held various competitions. It has since then spread out to commonly encompass all gun enthusiasts, by and large those who troop the sport of hunting and the civil right of self-defense.

To be fair, the NRA DID mostly support the 1934, and 1968 federal gun laws. The association actively maintains and supports countless programs to ensure safe and responsible gun ownership and usage.

However, the NRA intensely forcefully advocate for the full 2nd amendment right. Congress considers the NRA, the strongest congressional lobby.

The question remains however: Can rules, regulations and laws, help prevent an unbalanced person, one who is willing to die for his cause, from creating havoc and carnage? The man who snuffed out 26 bright futures, was not licensed for a gun.

We can all throw out various ideas that are half-decent. For instance, a fingerprint scanner on all guns to insure only the owner can use it. To have a “firearm bank or Amory” in each local, where gun enthusiasts can safely secure their guns. Or maybe have the United States Army patrol all public areas with guns at the ready. I just read of armored backpacks for schoolchildren.

There are obviously no simple solutions. The debate has begun to rage, and hopefully, much as the original “Bill of Rights” compromise, a healthy, balanced, long-term solution will emerge.

By the way, in China, there is no freedom of rights. Gun control is severely restricted and firmly controlled. So is everything else.

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  1. Great article. Can u imagine that in four years the Democrats could not produce one balanced budget but for restrictions of someone rights, a bill is made up in a week.

  2. Please explain why a weapon which is engineered specifically to slaughter as many human beings as possible in as short a time frame as possible should be legal.

  3. @AE: Maybe we should take guns away from out police officers too. If out citizens dont have guns, then why would the police?

    Police officers have guns to protect themselves and the public from loonies and criminals. If so why shouldnt we, the citizens of this great country be allowed to protect ourselves as well?!!!

  4. #2:
    Because the constitution says it is. This entire discussion is an assault on our constitutional rights. Instead of accepting responsibility that we are failing somewhere in our society (be it in education, violent movies and games, mental health, etc.) let’s just ban something that is a guaranteed constitutional right. Don’t even get me started on the proposed assault weapons ban, which bans guns that just look dangerous but are not any different than legal guns. It’s ridiculous. They want to limit the constitution and limit your personal freedom, people. Although you may not personally care about this issue, wake up now before they go after something you do care about. They want to shred the constitution and the bill of rights.

  5. To #3: by your logic, if the US military has nuclear weapons to protect the country, then all civilians should also be allowed to possess nuclear weapons?

  6. In the UK one cannot carry guns. The local policemen Dont carry guns either. On police specialists in the UK with a special inspectors licence may carry a gun.

  7. To #4: Your ad absurdum rhetorical poke at #3 makes no logical sense at all. The police are meant to protect individuals in their community. Their weaponry is scaled accordingly, meaning that they will be very similar to the weapons a citizen might want to use to protect his home, family or business. The military are supposed to defend the nation and their weapons are also scaled accordingly. While the military will have some weapons, such as handguns, that might be similar to those suitable for citizens, they will also have a vast array of weaponry suited to fighting wars against other military organizations and countries, up to and including nukes.

    Ergo, your ad absurdum argument is just that…absurd.

    Incidentally, your #2 comment is similarly flawed. The weapons we are talking about are not weapons “which is engineered specifically to slaughter as many human beings as possible in as short a time frame as possible”. They are engineered for the purpose of helping decent law abiding citizens to defend themselves effectively. The evil intent of criminals exploits that engineering. Don’t blame engineering. Blame evil people.

    PS. Nuclear weapons are engineered to kill the most people in the shortest time. No one is talking about nuclear weapons.

  8. AE is correct. Please stop with the babyish argument about taking away guns from police. We have to cut down where it is logically possible. Since guns are legal, more innocent people are getting killed than innocent people protecting themselves. Simple math. Car analogy also very “2-year old”, please think more than 5 seconds before writing!

  9. “Give me a break” #8: Give me a break.
    In an article today entitled “How Often Do We Use Guns in Self-Defense?” published by Bloomberg Businessweek the author establishes by averaging out the conclusions of different studies, that guns are used in self-defense between 250,000 and 370,000 times per year. Total statistics for gun deaths per year, which includes killing in self defense are 30,000. In other words, guns may be saving lives at a rate of more than 10 to 1. According to some of the studies used that number may be vastly higher. So, simple math and facts says your are wrong.

  10. #2 please answer
    why a car that can go from 0-120 in 3 seconds is needed? they are dangerous there is no place in the U.S you can legally drive at those speeds, we should ban them i think. swimming pools should not be allowed to be deeper than 4 feet, 4 feet should be plenty to cool off and we mustn’t endanger our children with deeper pools.
    no should be allowed american fto possess more than 12 ounces of alcohol at a time jail time if hes caught with more than that anywhere in his home. thousands of adults and children die each year as a result of alcohol its the least we can do to protect our children.
    when you hear a child was killed by a drunk driver do you feel gulity drinking a cup of wine? the answer is no the child who got killed did not get killed by alchohol he got killed by a criminal driving while drunk in fact alchohol doesnt even enter your mind, you might even be drinking a beer while reading the story, does that make you heartless? of course not one has nothing to do with the other. So why should gun owners be ostrisized after this event why should we lay low why should we be subject to hate speech as if we are all mass killers? Please your your head not your emotions Thank you

  11. #4 you are right , #6 who care about the UK!!! everyone so quick to shred the Constitution!! So many laws on the books already that obviously not working why would anyone think passing another law is going to matter? Lets make sure lunatics and crimminals cannot get weapons and throw the key away when they get convicted of a crime instead of a slp on the wrist !!!!!! jus had another mad man kill two fireman ,was out of jail after killing his gradmother with a hammer a number of years ago HE SHOULD HAVE NEVER SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY ,FIX THE COURT SYSTEM !!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. The Second Admendment, like all the Bill of Rights, was directed against the federal government. On the other hand, both Chief Justice Marshall and Taney recognized the plenary of power of Congress under the commerce clause. Nothing in the historic record shows that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the Bill of Rights so that it applied to state governments. The Civil War justices knew this as did Holmes, Brandeis, Cordozo, and Frankfurter.

    I wrote an article in the Spring 2012 issue of the Datrmouth Law Journal criticizing the modern court, beginning with Justice Black’s incorporation of the Bill of Bights into the Fourteenth amendment and the Warren Court’s revival of Dred Scott and substantive due process to create rights nowhere enumerated in the Constitution (privacy in morality, Grisswold v Conn., Roe v Wade, Lawrence v Tex).

    The Robert’s Court continues in this judicial dreamland but has also revived the dual federalism of the Laisez Faire Court to restrict the commerce power of Congress (the Laisez Faire Court also used substantive due process to create new rights–privacy of business, Lochner, Adkins, etc.). I wrote that the “modern Court [has] denied the power of Congress to regulate the possession of guns under the commerce clause [US v Lopez] while restricting the regulatory power of the states using substantive due process [McDonald v. Chicago].” pp.89-90.

    The Second Amendment was to protect the people and the states against federal tyranny. It has been turned on its head, just like the Fourth Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights. Before incorporation, we had a robust Fourth Amendment. It did not apply to murders and other real crimes because it did not apply to the states. It was as it was intended, to hamper federal regulation, the so-called mallum prohibitums, like prohibition. Now that it applies to the states and real criminals, its has been watered down to the point where the Court has withdrawn much of its protection against the federal government.

  13. Mr. Lang:

    Wow! What a magnificent display of legal erudition! It sure would be nice if it had something to do with the thread, rather than a gaudy display of legal scholarship. Good writing, legal and otherwise, takes the audience into account. The Lakewood Scoop audience is not dumb by any means, but I daresay that the average person frequenting the site has little knowledge of, and possibly even less interest in the minutiae of Constitutional jurisprudence. This is particularly true when the commentary is so tenuously connected to the topic at hand.

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