Why is the right to bear arms still so important that it deserves to be the Second Amendment? Depending on which estimate you believe, there are between 9 and 9.8 guns for every 10 people living in the United States, and that includes all the people born this morning. With all the "stuff" we have going on in our lives, with all our wants and needs and desires; is owning a gun number two on our priority list?
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.
That's the Second Amendment. So, if Americans think our government becomes something other than a free state, we can rise up against it with the stuff we've purchased legally at Wal-Mart for that purpose. Let me know when we're about to do that so I can take my sorry butt to the airport and board the first flight out. I would rather drink a cold pilsner in Prague than go up against a drone.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment also protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for any legal use, including protecting their home. In 2010, the Court ruled that their 2008 decision applied to state and local law as well.
Americans have always been about freedom, so yes, we should stand up for a free state. We also believe in protecting our family against any outside invaders. We have also been about something else just as cherished to us, money.
The Revolutionary War was in large part about money. No taxation without representation, we cried! The British Government was engaged in conflicts all over the world at the time and they taxed us heavily, as they did their citizens in England. Our desire to be free, 3,000 miles of ocean, and money motivated us to form militias and take up arms against the British.
Is our need to have more guns than citizens really about freedom and safety? We have representation in the form of elected leaders. Do we need guns for our protection? How many times do you hear about a good person with a gun successfully defending him or herself against a bad person with a gun? It would be a great story, and there are several 24/7 cable and Internet news providers itching to bring us those stories night and day. "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws would have guns". Exactly. Law-abiding citizens don't need guns. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, about 62.3% of gun-related deaths in the United States are caused by suicide. Lowering that rate can only be a good thing. About 35% of gun-related deaths in this country are from homicides, with only about 2% of those claimed to be justifiable homicide or self-defense. That leaves about 2.7% from accidental gun-related deaths, with about 200,000 injuries from gun-related accidents per year. So how is owning a gun so important when over 80 times more people die from gun-related suicides than from self-defense and 4 times more people die from gun related-accidents than self-defense?
I'm all for hunters who live off their game. Somebody killed the meat that went into the hamburger I had last night. I get it. Venison from a deer will feed a family of 4 for a year, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a study that estimates that only 6% of Americans over the age of 16 hunted in 2011. We can safely assume that not all of those people hunted with guns or will hunt again or were hunting for food. We surely can create a system that allows legitimate hunters who want to feed their families, firearms. The other 94% of us should take a closer look at why we think we need guns so desperately that the right to them deserves to be number 2 on the Bill of Rights.
Is our need to have more guns than citizens really about the freedom and safety; or is it about money? Whose money is it? There is no way our founding fathers could have envisioned an America where our fear of corporate might would threaten our freedom, and yes, our safety.
Money drives everything in this country. We don't drive it. Money influences our government more than voting ever could because we allow it to happen. We allow lobby groups to purchase media time to propagandize our citizens and buy off our elected representatives to the point of even writing our laws for them. Money influences our spending habits, our opinions, and even the medical care we receive. Money drives our foreign policy; often crushing peoples who fight for freedoms we take for granted in order to support governments willing to fund our corporate engines. Wall Street has more influence on our decision-making process than the number of people lining up at homeless shelters and unemployment lines.
It's makes sense that weapons' manufacturers would tell us that 300 million firearms for every 316 million people is simply not enough, or that mass killings aren't made easier from their high profit margined assault weapons, or that our military budget couldn't use another few trillions dollars. We weren't surprised when cigarette manufacturers didn't announce that they were leaving the tobacco business because they couldn't bear to be the cause of another lung cancer-related death. We can't really blame them for spinning the story to proclaim gun control and restrictions on nicotine levels are part of a war on our freedom. They are protecting their money. It's a natural instinct.
What we can do is keep big corporations from hunkering down in Washington and corrupting our elected decision makers on the Hill and our military leaders in the Pentagon. Our vote is supposed to protect us from all of this. It can if we use it for that purpose.
We should replace the Second Amendment with a right that belongs up there after the First Amendment, which gives us among other things the right of free speech, freedom of the press, and peaceful assembly. The Second Amendment should guarantee every citizen of the United States a quality education equal to that of every other citizen of the United States and equal to the highest levels of education that exist at any given point in time, for all time. This will guarantee our freedom, our safety, and it would double down on our claim to be the true leaders of the free world.
By R. Harvey Bravman, Publisher