Okay, so as we all know today there was what can only be described as a sickening mass murder in Connecticut, where some sick bastard killed 27 people, including 20 kids. This leads me one again to be led into a blind fury about one of the biggest flaws that America has in it’s constitution… the Second Amendment a.k.a. the right to bear arms. This is the EXACT text from the constitution
“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”
Several points immediately spring to mind from this.
- When was this written… 1791. Let’s think… the USA was a new country, hardly stable and there was most probably a lot of trouble there. That’s 221 years ago… is something that was written 221 years ago REALLY 100% relevant in 2012? Probably not in it’s current wording!
- The fourth word of the amendment jumps out at me for this point… MILITIA. The USA does have an organised Militia, it’s the National Guard… they’re trained, they have weapons, but wait, they’re stored in an armoury at their base… they don’t have easy access to them surely? There’s also the “Reserve Militia” kind of what the UK has here, anyone of fighting age CAN be called up… in the case of this, the army would have a surplus of arms to be used… after all, according to the amendment, the right to bear arms lies with the Militia!
- Thirdly, people would argue that as they’re of fighting age (aged 18+) they’re part of a militia i.e. the reserve militia… I’d disagree with that purely on the context of the second and third words. Is the Reserve Militia, which is in effect Every adult in the USA well regulated? The answer is of course, NO.
- If we think about this in context, in 1791, the most common weapon a man would have would’ve been a sword. Not a gun. You either had to be rich, or in the army/militia to be in possession of a gun. So strictly speaking, if we take this constitution today, Americans should be walking around with swords strapped to their waists, not a glock in their pocket.
So basically, what I can see from that, is that the amendment is outdated, being 221 years old. It’s also badly worded for today, given that it’s read in two parts. The first being that a well regulated militia is necessary. The second part being that people have the right to bear arms full stop. It doesn’t read properly in my opinion.
So what should be done?
I’ve thought long and hard… I think two things. The first is a change in the amendment. To take away the right to bear arms, but not ban it. In the UK we have strict regulation as to who has access to firearms. I have access, I went through stringent police checks for the right to do that, they passed me as sane and I can now legally possess a firearm. It also means, that while I keep my gun in my house, no one else can ever have access or even touch it whilst the firing mechanism is in place. In 3 years time, I’ll have to renew my licence to have the right once more. I think that by regulating the right to bear arms, as opposed to take it away completely. If you ban something completely it will only come back illegally… look at prohibition in the 1920s, that worked… NOT
Secondly I think that although the ease at which you can apparently buy a firearm in the USA is alarming… you also need to look at why this is happening. Is it a cultural thing? Are violent films and video games part of the cause? Are people playing Call of Duty, or Grand Theft Auto, and thinking that killing people is fun, why not try it for real? What needs to be done here is an education programme… educate the kids on why War isn’t as trivial as Call of Duty makes it out to be, and that if you do go on a 20 person killing spree, you don’t automatically get a helicopter gunship to command. This is real life, not a video game… if you own a gun you should know the damage it can do to not just another person’s life, but also the life of their loved ones when you accidentally pull the trigger on them.
So to sum up…
- The Second Amendment is crap and outdated in my opinion
- Tighter gun control and regulation is needed stateside
- Education on the dangers of possessing a gun is needed
- Possible regulation on what kids are getting to watch and play nowadays!
But at the end of it all… 28 people are dead. Never forget what happened. Learn from it, don’t sweep it under the Carpet America!