Friday, December 14, 2012

To Bite The Bullet

The Second Amendment to the Constitution is perhaps the most controversial and most revered of all amendments. I have never seen such relevance, borderline cult, the American people profess for gun ownership. The minute someone suggests any control, we can hear the outcries – from the right, center and left – about their constitutional rights and the same rhetoric that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Well, we have a choice in our nation… either we kill all the people or we restrict guns. It’s a choice and since “guns don’t kill people” then I must assume this means we must eliminate that which is lethal, since guns aren’t: people. I am sure you think this is nonsense and I agree, but either guns kill people and we eliminate them or people do, it's one or the other... we can't have both.

The Bill of Rights as ratified on March 4th, 1791, second amendment to the Constitution says:

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.

From the above and considering the times this was written we could deduct that the right to bear arms was more than a luxury, it was a necessity. Let’s think about this for a minute. We as a nation had fought and won against the British Empire, we were a very young nation with a very young army composed mainly of civilians that had fought for their independence. I am sure that the fear that England would retaliate was in everyone’s mind. The country had to ensure that every able body was ready to defend this young nation at a moments notice, and to do that people had to be armed, the nation had to have “a well regulated Militia…. The right of the people to keep and bear arms…

Add to that the conflict with the Native Americans. It doesn’t matter which side of history you stand with, for the subject matter it’s irrelevant. The fact was that settlers were in constant conflict with natives, each side defending what they considered “their land” they could not be unarmed.

The founding fathers were aware that times change and what was necessary and beneficial then, could be obsolete for future generations. That is why they redacted a “Live” Constitution, capable of changing depending on the circumstances and the necessities of the times. They thought of this and made sure to include it as part of the Constitution so future generations could make changes (amendments) to it according to their needs. Article IV of the Constitution reads:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

The above is one of the reasons why the Tea Party has no validity whenever they claim that the Constitution should be as written by the founding fathers. What the Tea Party wants goes against what those that wrote it had in mind.

Article V, is exactly the article that gives us the right to amend the Second Amendment. If the most sacred document in our nation is open for changes, why not the Amendments, why not the Bill of Rights?

I am not proposing banning guns in this country, I am well aware that men in this country (and some women too) are addicted to these weapons. Some say it’s for safety (even though statistics show that more crimes are committed with guns than crimes prevented by them and more people are killed with their own guns than by any other means), others say they hunt and therefore they need guns – apparently the majority of gun owners are hunters, even when they have never gone hunting. Fine, for the sake of argument I’ll accept their excuses but is there any reason to own a semi-automatic or full automatic weapon? Where is the reasoning for owning a sub-machine gun with a 30+ round magazine? Or a AK-47? There is a company in Pennsylvania that will sell them to you, including sniper rifles. I’m sorry, but no one will ever convince me that a machine gun is purchased for defense, hunting or as a collector’s item when it’s fully functional and comes with a fully loaded magazine! These weapons serve one single purpose: killing/murdering.

If you want to protect yourself, buy a revolver or better, buy a taser gun. You want to hunt? Buy a rifle, a simple two-bullet rifle. But no, gun lovers see themselves as tough, modern-day cowboys that need to have the best weapons money can buy. We are all shocked, we all mourn and shake our heads every time that a massacre occurs, which are more frequent each time, but not one of these gun freaks want the second amendment touched because “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Bullshit! Following that mentality then we can say that the A-bomb didn’t kill people in Hiroshima; Paul Tibbets did, he single handedly killed all 66,000 of them!

Since we can’t reason with these people and take their guns away, I suggest another way to tackle this problem. Let the American people acquire all the guns they want, let them have an arsenal, as many weapons as they want… Now, bullets should be restricted and controlled. How? Simple, if you purchase a gun the gun should come with a maximum of 3 bullets.  The government should dispense, control and ration bullets for the public.  Bullets should be sold for $1,000 a bullet (magazines should hold a maximum of 10 rounds, and the price for a magazine should be $10,000 per magazine); the maximum allowance of bullets should not exceed 10 bullets a year per gun owner not per weapon, if you need to buy more, you must justify where and how you spent those bullets and bring back the empty shells.  You cannot buy more bullets unless you have a valid reason for it and only once a year.  Rubber bullets should be more accessible for target practice with some restrictions since they can be lethal but only if shot at close range.

Now, it will be different
for hunters. Hunters should not be allowed to buy rifle bullets to keep at home. Instead, there should be stores or kiosks in or near the hunting areas where they can purchase bullets. At the end of the hunting session, they must return any unused bullets for a refund or they will be reported to the authorities. The store should hold their driver’s license until they return the unused bullets or give a written statement that all bullets were used. Hunters will only be allowed to purchase 10 bullets a day at a cost of $100 per bullet.

These prices will not go to the ammunition manufacturers or the gun shop owners or the NRA, any difference between current prices and the ones described above will go directly to increase funds for Medicare and/or to help reduce the deficit.  Ammunition manufacturers will not be allowed to sell to the public.

I think something like this will end the gun problems this nation is facing, after all bullets are not protected by the Second Amendment, they used gunpowder back then. We should not accept and take as a bi-product the massacres that are taking place
as the price to pay for having that "right." We should never accept or become accustomed to it, if you can’t remove the weapon or the people, then make it so expensive that it will be almost impossible to obtain.

We need to mature as a nation and accept responsibility for our obsessions. We can't have everything we want and we must re-evaluate what is happening and do something about it. We cannot continue to indulge in our desires, regardless of the consequences.  If we don't, those that are defending the second amendment regardless of what is happening and that are refusing to accept any restrictions are as guilty of these massacres as those that pulled the trigger.  You can't have your cake and eat it too, not at the expense of innocent lives.

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