"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."
This seems a little unclear, especially since the term militia in the United States has been defined and modified by Congress several times throughout U.S. history. As a result, the meaning of "the militia" is complex and has transformed over time. The early colonists of America considered the militia an important social institution, necessary to provide defense and public safety. During the French and Indian Wars, town militia formed a recruiting pool for the Provincial Forces. The legislature of the colony would authorize a certain force level for the season's campaign, based on that set recruitment quotas for each local militia. In theory, militia members could be drafted by the lot if there were inadequate forces for the Provincial Regulars; however, the draft was rarely resorted to because provincial regulars were highly paid (more highly paid than their regular British Army counterparts) and rarely engaged in combat.
In the context of the Constitution, each state was expected to have their own militia. Not only to protect the country but to protect each state's residents from the Government should the need ever arise.
The only place I could find a list of existing militias is here. I'm fairly certain most of you don't even know if there is a militia in your state. Mostly because the US gov't works very hard to NOT advertise the legality of their existence.
The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right of individuals under the theory of democratic government. This was clearly the understanding and intent of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution and was a long-established principle of English common law at the time the Constitution was adopted, which is considered to be a part of constitutional law for purposes of interpreting the written Constitution.
So, yes, the Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Where things get a little fuzzy is how "arms" have changed over the last 250 or so years. There were no automatic weapons when the 2nd Amendment was ratified. Gun violence is definitely prevalent in the United States. But, so are a lot of other kinds of violence, and crime. Every 107 seconds someone in this country is raped. Are we going to start chopping off penises to prevent that from happening? I didn't think so. 1 in 3 households in the US owns guns. Yet there have only been 50 mass shootings in the last 20 years. Is it tragic? YES. Every.single.time. It's sad. It's horrible. I am so sorry for that loss of life. But, did you know you can make a bomb at home? Out of things, everyone can buy at the grocery store? Kind of like the ones used at the Boston Marathon.
Here's a fact for you: IN 2013, A TOTAL OF 1,149 CHILDREN 14 AND YOUNGER WERE KILLED IN MOTOR VEHICLE TRAFFIC CRASHES. OF THOSE 1,149 FATALITIES, 200 (17%) OCCURRED IN ALCOHOL-IMPAIRED-DRIVING CRASHES. OUT OF THOSE 200 DEATHS, 121 (61%) WERE OCCUPANTS OF VEHICLES WITH DRIVERS WHO HAD BACS OF .08 OR HIGHER, AND ANOTHER 29 CHILDREN (15%) WERE PEDESTRIANS OR PEDALCYCLISTS STRUCK BY DRIVERS WITH BACS OF .08 OR HIGHER. But, both cars and alcohol are still legal.
My point here is that if you don't like guns, great, don't own one. But don't impede on the freedom of others by rallying for stricter gun control. I think we've all seen where prohibition can take us. And it's not pretty.
I'm willing to open up a conversation about ways to better screen customers wanting to buy guns. I acknowledge that perhaps it is too easy in some states to get your hands on weapons of all types. However, ultimately it is my strong conviction that a decision about that process should be left up to the individual states.
The bottom line, though, is that guns don't kill people, people do. In this country, there is not enough conversation about mental illness and addiction. Mental illness is not something to be feared, not when it's treated. But, we don't treat the mentally ill in this country do we? We ostracize them and stigmatize their illness to the point that we cause paranoia and hatred. Regardless of how you define "serious mental illness" and "mass killing", at least a half of mass killings are carried out by someone with a serious mental illness.
A large portion of shooters commit murder while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Now, mental illness and addiction frequently go hand and hand. So it could be assumed that if we were to treat mental illness like any other harmful disease that we would cut down on addiction as well. But I think it deserves it's own footnote because there are additional stigmas surrounding drug and alcohol abuse beyond what the mentally ill face.
If you look at the above figures there is no doubt but that mass shootings are on the rise. In figure one, the survey noted that of the 100 cases “63 involved people who made threats of violence before the event…In case after case, family members, teachers and mental health professionals missed or dismissed signs of deterioration.” For example, James Brady “told psychiatrists he wanted to kill people just days before he went on a rampage in an Atlanta shopping mall in 1990.” The survey also reported “much evidence of mental illness in its subjects. More than half had histories of serious mental health problems…48 killers had some kind of formal diagnosis, often schizophrenia.” Among these, 24 had been prescribed psychiatric drugs but “14 had stopped taking them.”
Again, this doesn't mean you should be afraid of people who are mentally ill. That's actually the problem. Our divisive culture is, in my opinion, the number ONE factor to blame for gun violence. Regardless of how you categorize it. Gang violence? Divisive culture. Hate crimes? Divisive culture. Mentally ill person feels ostracized, alone, untreated, and angry? Divisive culture.
Limiting access to guns is a possible course of action to attempt to limit the casualties of mass killings, but is it really the best course of action? I for one fear my overly powerful government far more than I fear a shooter. Maybe that makes me a paranoid freak, but that's how I feel. So, I feel safer knowing that my fellow patriots have every right to purchase a gun, and that if push came to shove they would defend their families and neighbors from a domestic threat.
Unity is the answer. That's my opinion anyways. We need to come together. We need to all feel like we're a part of something greater than ourselves. That's how we make our country great again. That's how we cut down on violence and crime. Why don't I steal from my neighbors? Is it a fear of getting caught? Is it because I can't? Or that it would be a hassle to do so? No. It's because they are my neighbors and I feel morally obligated to look out for them rather than hurt them in any way. So what if every person in America was everyone else's neighbor? What if we spread that feeling of inclusion, and moral obligation across our own country, or lofty as it might be, the whole world? What if we felt obligated to protect every human on our planet? Could we shoot them then?
Stand together in love, rather than hate. Don't point fingers. Don't assign blame. Just, love one another.