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Beacon Senior News

Gun sense = common sense

Apr 01, 2019 03:46PM ● By Susan Elenz

“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.”

The Second Amendment is here to stay, but it’s the interpretation that’s central to the gun reform debate. There’s no need to confiscate guns when common sense gun reform can do the trick. It's important to first understand the history of the Second Amendment, which was ratified in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. It’s poorly written and has sparked debate since the beginning. James Madison proposed this amendment to the Constitution to empower the states to defend themselves from oppression by the federal government. Remember, they’d just fought the Revolutionary War against the British, and Madison wanted to establish the principle that the government should not disarm its citizens. Back then, communities stored their guns and gunpowder in safe storage areas because the gunpowder was so explosive. This is one way they “regulated” the “well-regulated Militia.” Regulations were a central part of the rationale for the Second Amendment. After all, a free State or country without regulations or laws leads to anarchy, not freedom. An angry mob is not a militia. The Constitution still has the treason clause, which partly defines treason as taking up arms against the government.

Things changed over the years. Around the Civil War, southerners used their Second Amendment rights to control slave uprisings and defend against Union soldiers. Guns became “safer” to keep at home or business, and militias turned into the National Guard. Individual rights were not considered part of the amendment until the 1980s. Then, in 2008, the Supreme Court established that the Second Amendment protects the individual’s right to have guns in the home for reasons of self-defense. All this changed the Founders’ original intent of the amendment and disregarded the “well-regulated Militia.” Common sense is defined as sound judgment in practical matters, and to behave in a practical and sensible way. To be clear, I’m not against individuals owning guns. The right to protect yourself and your family is common sense. Hunters and target shooters need guns for sport, which, to me, is also common sense.

However, if you or someone else is the aggressor with the gun (the one we need protection from), then it’s common sense to not allow them to have easy access. This is where gun sense becomes common sense.

Gun sense doesn’t mean confiscating guns (unless you’re threatening people). It means doing something to reduce or prevent the many murders and suicides increasing in America. Things like requiring permits to purchase guns and passing background checks to prove you have no violent or criminal history. It’s requiring gun manufacturers to design guns with regard to safety. It’s addressing mental health issues, and not letting people who are threatening or mentally ill to have easy access to them. Making it difficult for these people to purchase guns is common sense.

What can we do to help reduce gun deaths? Contact your congressmen and let them know we want common sense gun control just like the Founders intended. If they don’t listen or understand common sense, then we need to vote them out.

Right now we are all sitting ducks waiting to be hunted. While we can’t possibly stop all the gun crime in America, it makes absolutely no sense to do nothing.