Write Again . . . Can’t we reason together?

Published 8:41 pm Monday, March 2, 2015

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, and the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now, that I should even contemplate writing about, offering an opinion on, a matter as weighty as — as emotionally charged as it is for some — the Second Amendment, most certainly begs the question as to my sound judgment, or lack thereof.

This topic is not the stuff of usual “Write Again” fare, for sure.

That said, let me exercise my freedom of speech right, and opine that this amendment might not really imply that there shouldn’t be some reasonable constraints regarding our “gun totin’” rights. Or that those patriots whose courage and intellect shaped the basic foundations of our republic in the latter days of the 18th century could ever have imagined the evolutionary development of firearms that has manifested itself over the last two and a-quarter centuries.

In the University of California-Davis Law Review, Professor Carl Bogus maintained that James Madison wrote the Second Amendment “to assure the southern states that Congress would not undermine the slave system by disarming the militias, which were then the principal instruments of slave control throughout the South.”

The professor suggests that Madison helped secure the decisive vote needed to ratify the Constitution in 1778 in exchange for the Bill of Rights later and assistance in putting down any slave insurrection.

An interesting purview, is it not?

So. Back to my question as to whether there shouldn’t be some reasonable (and, of course, “reasonable” is in the belly of the believer) constraints regarding gun possession rights.

Should I be able to own an automatic weapon? A machine gun? A bazooka? A flamethrower? A grenade launcher? No.

Should there be any limit to the amount of firearms I can own? Yes.

Should responsible citizens be able to own firearms for protection? For hunting? For target shooting? Lest one think I’m a gun control zealot, my answer to these last questions is an unequivocal “yes.”

Should there be some reasonable constraints regarding our “right to keep and bear arms”? Knowing the NRA will find my view abhorrent, my answer is “yes.”

So where does this leave us in this polarizing issue? This politically charged issue?

Well, I’ll tell you where it leaves us. It leaves us in desperate need of leaders who will provide a rational, common sense approach to this ages old dilemma. Even if they pay a political cost.

Is my solution an oversimplification? Absolutely. Money — isn’t it almost always — is a very, very large component of the problem. Those who profit through the sales of firearms — and those politicos who are unwilling to risk the ire and the power of the NRA — aren’t willing to modify their position on this issue.

To them — to all of us — let me simply ask that we once again read the Second Amendment.

Let us read it in its entirety.

Not just part of it. All of it.

Especially the first part.

APROPOS — “Common sense is often the first casualty of adherence to illusions and myths that accord with one’s own political prejudice . . .”

— Louis De Bernieres