Saturday, January 19, 2013

Guns – The Ultimate Problem Solver

I try not to get into political debates or really share my political views on Facebook, mainly because I have to work with everybody and I don’t want my or their political viewpoints to compromise our personal and/or professional relationships in any way. However, I do have pretty strong opinions and try to stay abreast of current affairs. I haven’t written anything similar to this blog in quite some time, not out lack of anything to express, but just a general sense of laziness. However, I truly love to write and have been itching to write something – but wanted to make it something substantive. The recently proposed gun control legislation and 2nd Amendment arguments have really gotten me motivated and provided me with the opportunity for which I’ve been searching. I’m doing so on my blog, so people can opt in to read it, as opposed to laying it all out on Facebook for all my friends (real and virtual) to see in their various news feeds.

I’ve spent some time trying to think of the most logical way to construct my thoughts and arguments, so the one reader of this blog isn’t confused by my normal circular reasoning or back and forth positions. I hope I’ve done somewhat of a successful job with that, but you can be the judge of that. I do encourage you to express your thoughts and opinions, even and especially, if they are in direct conflict with mine.

I.  The Constant: The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution and a brief, somewhat over simplification of Supreme Court's interpretation of it.

For those who are unfamiliar with the exact wording or construction of the amendment, here is original Amendment crafted by the Founders (note that it is a single sentence):
"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."
I believe the Founders purposely wrote the Constitution in a broad manner, considering it as a "living document" (a document written with the intent to change with the times).  Many people (mostly the political right, are Strict Constructionists and believe it the duty of the Supreme Court to maintain the original, language and intent of the document as it was originally written.  The Supreme Court has decided in two landmark cases that provided the People with a more concrete definition of how this amendment is to be interpreted.

In 2008, the Court heard District of Columbia v. HellerIn a 5-4 ruling, Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense and struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home.  Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the decision and noted that "[the Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”  As Scalia wrote in the decision, the ruling protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." That opinion makes gun control laws much more difficult to enact without being struck down as unconstitutional.

Then in 2010, the Supreme Court agreed to hear McDonald v Chicago.  The Court upheld the 2008 Heller case and Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court "...concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right, recognized in Heller, to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self- defense...."

II.  The People's Argument, or How the Court of Popular Opinion interprets the 2nd Amendment:
The 2nd Amendment provides me the right to own a gun.  Any kind of restriction, limitation or regulation against me owning a gun violates my Constitutional Right as an American and is just plain wrong.
III.  The question(s) I posed to a couple of friends and most of my family (mostly good-ol-boys, gun love'n, and a huntin' type of crew) in response of President Obama's proposed legislation that includes 23 executive actions, toughening the enforcement of existing gun laws:
"Omg. Family, really, WTF is up with y'all being so damn worried about losing your right to own guns. Read the proposed legislation - it says nothing about banning guns from you, we'll, the felon side of the family, but not everybody else. Really, do you need an automatic for hunting? You couldn't eat the meat for all the shrapnel. Honestly, the proposed gun regulations would not affect you in one iota, except maybe a background a check - but would you want others' backgrounds to be checked? Why fight against something that in no way changes your life with guns as it currently is?
The feedback I received will most likely equal the same number of people to read this blog - zero.  However, in case I'm wrong, please weigh in and share your side.  I truly do not understand the opposition's side and reaction to the proposed legislation, as it in no way violates a sane, mentally stable individual's right to own a gun.

Yay!  I wrote something again, and it felt good.

*****Update***** (2/15/2013)

Just wanted to share this awesome Freakonomics podcast that was posted yesterday: