An even more outdated Amendment

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Ranting

I woke up this morning to the appalling news of the senseless mass slaughter of school children in the US. I heard some brief interviews with surviving kids and cannot imagine how traumatised those surviving kids and teachers are going to be. My heart goes out to all those who have lost their loved ones in this obscenely senseless way.

In a sense of irony, it was just on two years ago that I was blogging on much the same subject – the ‘right’ to bear arms in the USA. In the days to come we shall be hearing more about that ‘right’ along with the ridiculous ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ bullshit.I take particular offense at that quote. A far more realistic version would be ‘guns don’t kill people, people with access to guns kill people.’

I have taken a lot of the following from my earlier post on this subject and a letter published in the media.

The Washington Post has just published some pertinent facts about firearms and mass shootings that bear reading.

The foundation for this continuing high presence of firearms in domestic hands in the USA still resides in the infamous Second Amendment in the USA. Yet how many of the US defenders of that ‘right’ are aware of the actual wording of that Amendment? The key passage is:

“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.”

Clearly the Amendment was to support the existence of a citizen militia in those formative years after the War of Independence. Further, the 1792 Militia Act required all ‘free, able-bodies, white, male citizens’ between ages 18 and 45 to be enrolled in their local militia.

This US militia is long gone. The US has a massive regular defense force, supplemented by its National Guard. There is no need for the citizens militia any longer and the concept of mandatory service outside of wartime is long gone from the US statute books. So why retain this massively outdated amendment?

The Washington Post article quotes someone who comments on the the fact that despite similar firearm ownership rights in Israel and Sweden, those countries have much lower rates of firearm-related homicide. However there is a pertinent additional fact not covered in that brief analysis. I do not know about Sweden but Israel still has mandatory military service for all eligible citizens. And military service helps deliver greater respect for firearms and what they can do. As I noted above, that military service aspect is no longer present in the US situation.

Exactly how does having enough guns present to make it easy for gang bangers to go armed for drive-by shootings, support a free state? Or enough guns to make it easy for depressed teenagers to go on shooting rampages at their school? Or an eight year-old being able to play with an Uzi sub-machine gun at a gun show and blow his head apart? Or a deranged man having access to the firepower to kill and injure people at a political rally? Or for as-yet unknown reasons for someone to treat a school as a form of crazed abattoir?

Surely it is time for the US to show some real leadership for a change and finally do something about gun control? Isn’t it time to get over this Wild West mentality?

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  1. forlibertysake says:

    I appreciate your insight into this issue, but your interpretation of this amendment and what constituted a militia is skewed to say the least.

    The 2nd amendment was put in the Constitution because of what was happening to colonial Americans after British soldiers began enforcing the Stamp Act.

    I would appreciate your feedback!

    Best wishes on the Blogsphere!

    • ausross says:

      I am well aware of the context in which the amendment was instigated and what the militia constituted. What your comment highlights is the context of that amendment and just how ludicrous it is that this outdated Amendment is still used to justify continued, generally uncontrolled gun ownership.

      I read your post and as an ex-serviceman myself, I respect your views. However to suggest that there is still a need to arm the country for self-defense is woefully out of date.

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