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Sunday, November 14, 2004


My take on gun-control is this: if one thinks that gun-control regulations are unreasonable and non-applicable based solely on the idea that the Bill of Rights should be read in terms of black and white, then one should read every amendment in it as such. Is anyone here a Libertarian? Not me, not Richard, so, anyone, anyone?

I don't cling to the idea of the militia clause, because it is not as clear-cut as people would like to believe. I am not an advocate of the idea that a person should not be able to defend himself in his own home; that argument is simply unreasonable and contradicts a statement in our country's other wonderful document, the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I do, however, believe that rights come with responsibilities, and it is simply reckless to believe that gun manufacture, sales, ownership, and usage should be unregulated.

To strengthen my argument a bit let's take a quick look at some of the amendments in the Bill of Rights and review examples of how each is regulated or interpreted differently (ignored) in some way.

Amendment I--"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Wow, that's a lot to digest, isn't it? However, we know the following: a) The federal government has endorsed laws allowing for federal funding of faith-based initiatives--such laws state that the organization cannot actively promote certain religious beliefs or tenets in the administration of such initiatives, but this is hardly enforceable and it is naive to think that a homeless person going to a church to get some food and a shower doesn't realize that he is walking into a church, what with all of those crosses, bibles, and Jesus artwork all over the joint. b) Freedom of speech by individuals or the press is limited by libel laws such that one can't say something publicly that defames someone's character without facing some serious consequences. Nor can one yell "fire" or "bomb" (without evidence suggesting as such) in a public place without breaking a few laws. c) The freedom to assemble is highly regulated--most cities require permits in order to protest in a public place (not unreasonable, in my opinion).

Amendment IV--"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Patriot Act. Need I say anything else?

Amendment VI--"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

"Speedy" has been interpreted several ways by different judiciaries.

Amendment X--"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Through some very creative legislation, the Federal government did just this with the Drinking Age Act of 1984. By essentially threatening the states with a reduction in Federal-aid highway funds unless the states raised the legal drinking age to 21 the Federal government performed a run-around on states' rights. There is an abundance of similar examples, but this one in particular is one of the more notable laws.

As one can clearly see, many Amendments in the Bill of Rights are open to interpretation and regulation, so it is not, in my estimation, unreasonable to expect that the Second Amendment would be subject to the same treatment.

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