I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment, all of it.
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.
However, I place the emphasis on the first part- “a well regulated Militia”- which means that the people should have weapons if they belong to a Militia- and it’s well regulated. The part about a free State- means we have the ability to overturn our government, should it deprive us of our freedom- which has been happening slowly over the last 7 years, without the people questioning it.
There has been a slight problem of technological advances in weaponry as well. While a Remington Repeater would have helped our founding fathers kick the Brits out a lot quicker and more efficiently, an Uzi would have won the war as decisively as a nuke ended WWII. I’m pretty sure the founding fathers didn’t think the people should be guaranteed the right to own their own Scuds or backpack nukes.
In fact, for all buy a few serious gun nuts (and Jeff and Larry, I’m talking about you)- most Americans wouldn’t stand a chance against our Army in a showdown- so it’s no longer possible to balance the rights of the individual with the power of the State, even if the Governor did ask the National Guard to help the State secede from the Union. While Rambo could take on the Army in “First Blood”- there are very few Rambo’s out there (and I know, ’cause I went through that training).
So, when it comes down to who should and who shouldn’t be able to own a gun, and what kind of guns should they be allowed to have, here is my best shot at explaining my position:
Guns can be much more dangerous than cars, yet we have no licensing procedures or even standardized training programs. I believe all gun owners should have to take extensive safety courses and be tested before being able to own anything other than a revolutionary war era weapon. You can have all the barrel loaded, ball and powder weapons you want, but if you want a Glock or a Sig, you gotta take a test.
I think that serving in our armed forces should automatically qualify you to own a weapon, as long as you have an honorable discharge.
I am not in favor of concealed carry unless you have good reason and have submitted to extra levels of certification and testing, including legal ramifications of weapons use and being able to post a bond.
I believe that use of any gun in commission of a crime should carry extreme penalties and that any felony conviction or violent misdemeanor would forever prohibit gun ownership.
Any possession of illegal drugs and guns would also carry an extreme penalty.
I do not believe that fully automatic weapons should be owned by anyone other than members of an organized militia, that is actively registered and regulated by the State. If an organization wants to own full-auto weapons, they must have regular training, provide proof of legal training, provide round the clock supervision and control of the weapons, much like the arms room of my military units, with firing pins stored in separate and secure facilities. No one needs to have a CAR-15 in the house to meet their 2nd amendment rights.
I used to wear a t-shirt that read “Gun control means being able to hit your target” when I was in the Army. I was young and dumb then. While I can still put 90% of my rounds inside the 9 ring, and own a handgun (kept under lock and key), I don’t think that gun ownership should be a major issue in America today unless you are a cop or a sociopath.
While the phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is true- the reasons people kill people are the issues that should take precedence. Feeling trapped or being mentally ill are two of the causes of homicidal acts- maybe if we worked at making the system work better for all- and provided proper mental health programs, we may have less gun violence in this country.
I hope this answers Gene’s question. It’s another one of those hot button issues which I don’t believe are a good way to base your decision on who to vote for- since it’s unlikely that you can get a majority of 435 representatives to get anything changed on this topic. I hope my honesty in answering shows you the kind of principles I follow when it comes to issues like this.
There are no perfect candidates.