The question of gun control always comes up after some incident, such as Virginia Tech or Littleton, CO or Binghamton, NY occurs. Calls are immediately made for more Federal, State, and local legislation to restrict easy access to firearms. Scheme after scheme is proposed such as written applications for purchase, proof of identity, waiting periods, background searches, weapons training requirements, etc. The gun lobby immediately leaps into action with their well-founded Second Amendment arguments. Their arguments are countered with historical research into “what the Founding Fathers intended”. Arguments on both sides become weakened, then devolve into political machinations resulting in poor legislation. The legislation becomes impotent or is defeated outright. Gradually, the latest gun catastrophe is forgotten. Even the laws on the books that have made it through all the hoops are weak and ineffective. Why?
Both sides of the gun-control issue present compelling arguments for their cause. It is a classic case of the irresistable force and the immovable object. If the square peg will not fit into the round hole, we must begin to look for a contrary solution. We must change our way of thinking.
Contrary To Logic, Guns are Good
The Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms” is a constitutional right. It will always be there. It is a premise inherent in our country’s fundamental law. Nobody will change that right. Any challenge to it is immediately a constitutional matter. Any litigation is a Federal issue and, as such, will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. In regard to the justification for a fundamental element of the constitution, the Supreme Court will always preserve, protect, and defend the Second Amendment. Period.
The gun control people are advancing their cause from the wrong perspective. It is not guns that can be limited. On the other hand, there are no constitutional issues that concern bullets. None. The Second Amendment says nothing about ammunition. It protects simply “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”. It does not say the guns have to be (easily) loaded. Thus, laws limiting the sale of ammunition could be made extremely restrictive without raising constitutional issues. For example, laws could be instituted that limit the sale (or possession) of ammunition to anybody, except the military and the police. To assuage legitimate gun hobbyists, a third exception could be made for sale in controlled amounts to gun clubs and their members. All ammunition would be traceable and quantities thereof readily monitored. Violations of these laws could be made felonies. Possessing ammunition without being a member of the above three groups would result in a felony criminal record.
By controlling the supply of ammunition in this manner, everybody wins. The right to bear arms would be fully preserved, but ammunition could only be obtained through restrictive, highly controllable circumstances. The gun lobby’s constitutional arguments would be completely defused. Gun manufacturers could continue to turn out weapons. Anybody could own a gun and possess ammunition provided they joined a sanctioned firearms club. Even the gunpowder industry would not be restricted in manufacturing their product. The only persons completely restricted would be the weapons-toting individuals currently causing the gun problems in society.
Well, no solution is perfect.
Copyright © 2009 by Frank Koerner