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: http://www.freakonomics.com/2013/02/14/how-to-think-about-guns-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

3 comments:

Leslie Wardell said...

Being a Northeast liberal I agree with your reasoning and interpretation of the 2nd ammendment.
Thinking back to the day of the Founding Fathers and remembering the type of weapons that were available at the time surely must be considered.
A musket could fire one shot at a time before reloading. Maybe we should create a ban for all weapons except for those which would certainly slow things down a bit....Plus it would create new manufacturing jobs as the design is recreated and processed.
Seriously, I had this argument with my Father many times as he was a hunter and a member of the NRA, but given the recent violence I think even he would agree that these automatic weapons have no place in a "civilized" society other than the milatary and law enforcement.
Duck season just opened in DE last week and I have heard many single shots fired, but no multiple rounds..even so the sound was still alarming.
I have true concerns about the innaugaration ceremonies this week. It only takes one nut job to make a point...I've got to stop watching HOMELAND
Nice blog...you did your homework..

Paula said...

Thanks for your comment, Leslie.

I guess I took the long route to basically argue that I don't think the proposed legislation by the President in any way shape or form is harmful to either party's platform, nor does it violate the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. So, to see all of the complaints from the political right is maddening and I just don't understand their arguments against it. It actually strengthens police actions, increases their protection by asking to ban armor-piercing bullets and provides them with more training. It also addresses mental health concerns, as any body who would actually shoot up a obviously has mental health issues.

By the way, here are the 23 Executive Actions President Obama proposed:

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions
Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. 8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety
Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop
innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental
health.

Kari Delaney said...

I always read your blogs. I'm sorry I don't always post a comment.

I too stay out of the politic debates. I don't like arguing with people. I believe everyone deserves to have respect in regards to what they believe. It seems like that isn't possible anymore. It is easy to lose a friendships over politics.

So I have learned to respect all and keep my mouth shut.