Corbett, Melissa Case study 8.4

This topic of guns is a very sticky conversation. We have people on the extreme of each side and some smack dab in the middle. The Second Amendment states “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.‘ Well these words seem to be pretty clear; we have a right to bear arms. Seems easy, but it’s not. For one, the meaning of this amendment is much debated. People take it to mean that we as individuals are allowed to have “arms’. However, if you take into consideration what the meaning were back then, it sheds a different light.

“Militia:  During early American history, all males who were between the ages of sixteen to sixty were required to be a part of the local militia in their towns and communities.  Almost everyone during this time used and owned guns.  The few men who did not use or own a gun were required by law to pay a small fee instead of participating in the military services of their communities.  These militias defended the communities against Indian raids and revolved, acted as a police force when it was needed, and was also available to be called upon to defense either the State or of the United States of America if it was needed.’

Today our Militia is our National Guard; and it is well regulated, as the 2nd amendment states. You must join, be trained, and follow all rules. We no longer consider all males to be a part of our militia. This changes the meaning for who has the right to bear arms.

That being said, I agree that all citizens have the right to have guns. But they should be regulated for everyone’s safety. There are so many arguments for both sides of this coin. One is that, as with all laws and rules, they are only for the honest. If I person has ill intent, they will do what they will. This leads to arguments that if a person has a gun, they can defend against those who wish to do harm. To me this does make sense. There have been studies that claim that in areas where people are allow to carry — whether concealed or open, that the crime rate surrounding crimes of individuals, has decreased. So this would mean that personal crimes such as rape, muggings, and other crimes directed at a person — not their property, are lower in areas where you never know who is packing. This possibility would make a “bad guy’ think twice.   These studies, much like the discussion of guns, have been controversial. Some say they are skewed and not properly researched. I personally think that if you are in an area where everyone around you could be licensed to carry, and probably are, then the bad guys would be less likely to mess with you; as they never know if they are going to meet the barrel of a gun. In a state that does not allow concealed or open carry, they know the chances of a person carrying a gun are minuscule and they can do what they please; because again, rules are for the honest, so the bad guys have guns. In the link below, you will see, that while the study is said to be skewed, they do make note that “scholarly contribution in establishing that these laws have not led to the massive bloodbath of death and injury that some of their opponents feared.’

As far as an employer’s property and the right to ban guns; again this is sticky. The property is private, and they can ban guns on that property, but then the person’s car is private property as well. So banning a gun ON the property, such as the parking lot and in the building, would be their right; but is it their right to say that we cannot have a gun in our car, which is OUR property. Here again, rules are for the honest. An honest, well-meaning person would have a gun in the car for their personal protection and never bring it out onto the personal property of the employer. But a person with ill intent will do it no matter what the rules and laws say. Then there is the consideration that if you have a gun in your car, and that is allowed, what if someone steals your gun. We can say that bad guys do what they want, and good people should not be punished for it, but what if we are the reason bad guys get guns; either by stealing them from or buying them from law abiding citizens who mean no harm. Again, it is so sticky and has so many sides to consider, how do we know what is the right answer to the problem. The only way to make everyone happy is to make rules to manage both sides of that pesky sticky coin.

As far as the NRA, I am not so sure about their methods and if they are right. I will admit, I was leaning more to their side on this matter; that is until I spoke with someone who made a really good point. We do need the discussion about regulation to happen. On one side you have a growing fight for regulation and on the other the NRA minded folks who will not entertain the notion of regulation at all. We saw a similar fight with prohibition. One group wanted liquor gone for good and one wanted it to stay for good and there was no middle ground. Due to the majority of public vote, the government had no choice but to add an amendment to ban alcohol. We then saw a lot of bootleggers crime, and mob growth that surrounded alcohol. People had the liquor rather it was legal or not.  It was not until the crime and death tolls reach a peak that they revisited the idea of allowing alcohol, but with regulation, and abolishing the amendment; making both parties happy and decreasing alcohol related crimes.

I do not think that we should have guns in our workplaces or schools. Here is why. You may train them, license them, and make it all good on paper. But, what happens when someone snaps, takes a teachers gun, and shoots several kids before anyone can stop them. Now you have put the weapon right in front of the person will the ill will; and they will find a way. What if a teacher loses control and out of anger shoots a student? What if an armed coworker gets angry and shoots someone? So while I agree in regulation, and that regulation will put the responsibility into the hands of the gun owner, I do not think there is enough regulation possible to risk guns in schools with kids, or at work.

The harsh fact is that we live in a different world today than the forefathers who wrote the constitution and its amendments. We have to have regulation to protect people and try to avoid problems. We also know that to some extent, where there is an ill will, there is a way. We have to reach a middle ground. I feel that I have a right to have a gun to protect myself and my family, but with every right comes responsibility. I have a right to drive a car, which could kill others if I do not use it properly, so I have to have a driver’s license that says I have been taught how to use it and I accept responsibility. I also have to have insurance that covers death or damage to others if I do not use it correctly. There are also laws that say if I abuse my rights and I cause a death, in an illegal manner — this means there is regulation involved, that I will be tried for the crime and pay for it or go to jail. We have many aspects of our modern lives that have been regulated to keep us and others safe. We have not raised the roof and tried to have those regulations stopped. No one is fighting to stop all the many regulations and law that surround the operation of a vehicle. How is your gun any different? You have a right to it and a responsibility to it; and therefore in order to uphold your responsibility there has to be regulation.