Another tragedy. I couldn’t turn on the TV news for days. I was sickened at the thought of what had happened. What would be the ramifications? I thought of the preparedness of our local schools. It could be much better, on multiple levels.
When I finally relented and turned on the TV, I heard countless morons talking about how only principles have the ability to call for a lock down at schools, how classroom doors open the wrong way, and how the principles should have MP5’s issued to them.
Gun Control, the NRA, the Second Amendment, mental health and the degradation of social values have been passionately expressed in recent weeks by all sides. Solutions offered include tougher gun control laws, reviving the assault weapons ban and police officers in every school. I agree that we need more gun control, a lot more, but not what you might think.
We need a new federal law that licenses gun users. Such license would only be issued after substantial training and certification. This would be ground-breaking legislation, requiring a new thought process regarding a registry of permitted guns and gun owners. It would be voluntary, of course, but carry with it, significant responsibility.
This is an immediate solution to stop the gun violence in our society. The legislation that I am advocating for is the passage of a national right to carry. Permit holders would have the ability to carry a concealed weapon where ever they go, regardless of local laws or firearm free zones. Schools, universities, churches and other public places would no longer be targets for lunatics and evil acts. Imagine if a federal agency had the ability to screen, interview and train ordinary citizens to act in a manner and with means that could stop people.
This new gun legislation would create a citizenry who is armed and allowed to carry arms wherever they go with the explicit purpose of protecting themselves and the public around them. It is a cornerstone argument for our Second Amendment, an armed citizenry.
We mostly have this today and generally it works well. When it works, it is not well publicized or well reported because the story generally goes against the national “all guns are bad” agenda. Most States have right-to-carry laws allowing private citizens to carry a concealed firearm and at times, and these firearms are used by citizens to stop or prevent crime. Most people that carry concealed weapons carry for their own protection and might be hesitant in acting for someone else’s behalf. Fear of prosecution or civil liability also contributes to the flaw of local carry rights. Am I in the right place? Am I going to be sued? Am I legal?
Without going into excessive detail, this would be how the program would basically work: Candidates would be screened and backgrounds meticulously evaluated. Testing would need to include substance abuse and a psychological exam. Training would include classroom time, range time and shoot/no-shoot scenarios. Lastly, certification would be based on the ability to demonstrate knowledge proficiency and of course being able to hit what you are shooting at—that’s right, range qualification.
The permit holders would need to file monthly reports on how often they carry and in what locations. They would also report the use of their weapon in any manner to prevent, detain, or intercede in any event. The use of deadly force would be reviewed by a shooting board to determine whether the use of such force was justified.
These permit holders could be teachers, pilots, law enforcement, bankers, shop owners, private security guards, and the list goes on. The thought of putting armed citizens in the places that are most vulnerable will thwart the intentions of evil persons that have seen such places as defenseless targets.
The cost of such a program would be significantly less than a police officer or paid armed security guard in every school or other public place.
In addition to the “National Right to Carry” legislation, we should also pass a total gun ban. It would be a total gun ban for criminals. We should pass legislation that calls for the immediate confiscation of those guns possessed by criminals, so those guns could be redistributed to law abiding citizens, to be used in defense of themselves, others and of course, the protection of liberty. Of course this is ridiculous, most felons are not allowed to have a firearm, but it brings into question the lack of anyone talking about how effective mandatory sentencing is for criminals who choose to use a firearm to commit crimes. These programs are one of the reasons that violent crime rates have been trending downward in the past decade.
The Second Amendment, or the “right to keep and bear arms” has never been about protecting the ability to hunt or shoot for sporting reasons; it was about self-protection and protection against a tyrannical government. If this argument is constitutionally correct, the framers of the constitution thought that an arms race between the government and its citizenry would be a good thing in order to keep both in check. The use of the word “militia” suggested that the citizenry would always be armed to a certain degree to defend itself. I don’t want to limit the imagination of the Founding Fathers, but my thought is that they not only feared a tyrannical government or a foreign invasion, but they also thought that it would be good if someone had the ability to stop evil acts such as those that have taken so many lives recently.
The argument that each state’s National Guard is essentially fulfilling the militia criteria is easily thwarted by the following question: Will these institutions act at the direction of the government or by the will of the citizenry from which they came?
As various federal government agencies mass enormous amount of ammunition, and just about all regulatory divisions of the various branches of the federal government are armed to some degree, do you feel safer? For what purpose is the government arming itself? Is there some sort of threat that exists that we are not aware of? Are they concerned about a revolt, invasion, and social unrest?
Should an appropriate response and a minimal right of the citizenry therefore be the possession of large capacity magazines and semi automatic firearms?
I am calling for increased control over people willing to carry firearms and act in defense of others, while liberating their ability to carry into places otherwise prohibited, and maintaining existing right to carry laws, which are set forth by state and local governments. Get tough on criminals that use guns to commit crimes and confiscate guns from criminals who are not allowed to possess them. And finally, maintain the arms race between the citizenry and the government. It will protect liberty and keep both from harming the other.
Photo credit: Evil Erin (Creative Commons)