A well regulated militia
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, February 11, 2016
In the Feb. 8 viewpoint column entitled “The Tree of Liberty,” Devon Chenelle ends his pro-gun argument by stating the last four words of the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution, “shall not be infringed.” Mr. Chenelle seems to believe gun control advocates, like me, desire to completely forbid the ownership of firearms by the citizenry. However, Mr. Chenelle, I would like to point you to the first four words of the amendment, which you and the gun lobby seem to consistently forget when you espouse your arguments. These words are “A well regulated militia,” and they fall much closer to our actual goal of regulating the sale and distribution of firearms within the United States.
It is a little outlandish to compare our modern United States government with those of developing nations, such as Afghanistan and Vietnam, and historic empires, such as Rome, France and Britain. Every year, citizens in this country have the opportunity to peacefully revolt against those in government through a democratic process. This form of democracy did not exist in the nations referenced in the article, and it does not exist in modern countries which undergo continuous and tumultuous revolution. I am not naïve enough to believe that corruption and oppression are not present within our own government, but violence is never an effective way to generate change within our society. In this regard, we can use the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Black Lives Matter movements as examples of how peaceful protest can create changes within a democratic society such as ours.
From an epidemiological perspective, guns constitute a healthcare crisis within this nation, resulting in around 32,000 deaths per year. The solution to this complex issue is unclear, but both sides of the argument need to remove themselves from the “all or nothing” mentality which seems to be diffuse in political rhetoric. Citizens have a right to bear arms, this is true. However, this right, as is true with other rights, does not come without limits. Other Western nations, such as Australia, have effectively regulated the sale of guns without infringing on the rights of the citizenry, and as a result, have completely eliminated mass shootings and decreased the rate of firearm-based homicides.
Actions can be taken to help ameliorate the danger guns pose on our society. However, we must view the issue through the lens of logic and reason rather than misleading arguments of passion and emotion.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.