My Proposal for Addressing Gun Violence
|| The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution reads in full, “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.” Most often when I hear the 2nd Amendment referred to it is only the second clause that is quoted, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Indeed the current law of the land from the Supreme Court is that the initial clause discussing does not limit individual ownership of firearms, nor does it require that gun owners be part of a “Militia.” Even so, I have no doubt the Founders chose their words carefully, so I think it is easily arguable that the first clause gives context to the second. I understand the legal arguments and believe my proposal below not only doesn’t contravene the 2nd Amendment, but is actually truer to its plain language.
I would propose that responsible gun ownership would start involving literal and not just figurative responsibility. Gun owners would be responsible for the use of their guns at all times, civilly and criminally. If you allow your three old to access your weapon and they hurt someone with it, you, as the gun owner, are responsible. It would not be a “tragic accident” so much as, by law, your fault. Firearms are inherently dangerous and to own them should come with that same inherent burden of responsibility.
Every firearm sold in the US has a unique serial number, so there is no reason why every firearms should not have an identified owner. Thefts must be reported, along with the corresponding serial number, and any and all sales must be reported and logged as well. The first step in responsibility, after all, is being willing to take ownership of your firearm. The registry would need to be National, but there is no reason why it needs to be public, nor that law enforcement without due process. It should be available for looking up firearms found in the commission of crimes, but looking up names of individuals should require a warrant. That way gun owners’ 4th Amendment rights to due process remain intact.
Responsibility also means training and regular testing for competency. It does say, after all, a “well regulated Militia.” If you cannot pass the test, then you are prohibited from owning firearm until you can pass the test. That also means any practicing you do is with a gun someone else owns and is ultimately responsible for, encouraging the owner to ensure the safety and responsibility of the shooter. In addition, military and/or law enforcement experience would not result in automatic passes of competency. Just because you have had the training, doesn’t mean you are capable of applying it.
People wanting to conceal carry or open carry would also be required to undergo additional training and need to demonstrate a much higher level of ability. Re-testing would have to take place on a regular basis and they would have to be evaluated not just on their firearms, but their decision making in crises situations as well. Their actions in a shooting incident would also be judged closer to that of law enforcement since they would have had extensive training and have to stay current with it in order to carry their firearm, whether openly or concealed.
There should also be a gradation in firearm training competency. The standards for a semi-automatic rifle with a large capacity magazine should require more stringent requirements than a single shot .22 rifle. There is a wide spectrum between long guns, shotguns, and hand guns, and the training should not just assume equality in weapons. It will not only aid in owners in being more responsibile, but will make owners more knowledgeable of the firearms they possess.
Finally, I think we need to recognize that as populations increase, the dangers of firearms increase as well. There need to be reasonable rules regarding gun use, carry, and training depending on whether an individual is in an urban, suburban, rural, or wilderness environment. Part of gun ownership would necessitate knowing the different rules governing firearms in the different areas.
This is by no means meant to be exhaustively described. It is very broad and there would be significant hurdles in both its implementation and the logistics associated with it. It would also mean that there was the necessary political will to make these changes, or any change for that matter, which I do not think is realistically going to happen for another generation, or more. In a small glimmer of hope, however, I thought the same thing about removing the Confederate Flag from State property.
One thought on “My Proposal for Addressing Gun Violence”
Justice Amy Coney Barrett Second Amendment dilemma
In some 225 years neither law professors, academic scholars, teachers, students, lawyers, or congressional legislators after much debate have not been able to satisfactorily explain or demonstrate the Framers intended purpose of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I had taken up that challenge allowing Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s dilemma to understand the true intent of the Second Amendment.
I will relate further by demonstration, the intent of the Framers, my understanding using the associated wording to explain. 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.”
Militia, a body of citizens organized for military service.
If, as some may argue, the Second Amendment’s “militia” meaning is that every person has a right to keep and bear arms, the only way to describe ones right as a private individual is not as a “militia” but as a “person.” (The individual personality of a human being: self)
The 4th Amendment reminds us, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons….”
The Article of Confederation lists eleven (11) references to“person/s.” The Constitution lists “person” or “persons” 49 times to explicitly describe, clarify and mandate a constitutional legal standing as to a “person” his or her constitutional duty and rights, what he or she can do or not do.
It’s not enough to just say “person/s” is mentioned in the United States Constitution 49 times, but to see it for yourself (forgo listing), and the realization was for the concern envisioned by the Framers that every person be secure in these rights explicitly spelled out, referenced and understood how these rights were to be applied to that “person.”
The President was elected on 13 of these references. Of which 11 are Amendments, conditioning a “person,” unlike the Second Amendment, to the role of the President of the United States.
Whereas, in the Second Amendment any reference to “person” is not to be found. Was there a reason? Which leaves the obvious question, why did the Framers use the noun “person/s” as liberally as they did throughout the Constitution 49 times and not apply this understanding to explicitly convey the same legal standard in defining an individual “persons” right to bear arms as a person?
Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s dissent in Barr v Kanter (2019) Second Amendment argument acquiesced to 42 references to “person/s, of which 13 characterize either a gun or firearm. Her Second Amendment, “textualism” approach having zero references to “person/s. Justice Barrett’s view only recognizes “person/s” in Barr, as well in her many other 7th circuit rulings. It is her refusal to acknowledge, recognize or connect the U.S. Constitution benchmark legislative interpretive precept language of “person/s,” mandated in our Constitution 49 times, to the Second Amendment.
Leaving Supreme Court Justice Barrett’s judgment in question.
In the entire U.S. Constitution “militia” is mentioned 5 times. In these references, there is no mention of “person” or “persons.” One reference to “people” in the Second Amendment. People, meaning not a person but persons in describing militia.
Now comes the word “shall” mentioned in the Constitution 100 times. SHALL; ought to, must ..
And interestingly, the word “shall” appears in the Second Amendment. “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and shall not be infringed.”
“[S]hall not be infringed.” Adding another word “infringed” to clarify any misunderstanding as to the intent of the Second Amendment. Infringe. To encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another;
The condition “Infringe” has put a stop as to any thoughts counter regarding the Second Amendment, as you shall not infringe or encroach on beliefs other to what is evident as to the subject “Militia.” Article 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in the Congress of the United States, …”
Clarifying “..the right of the people to keep and bear arms…”
People. Human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.
Finally, another reason and need for…. “A well regulated militia, …” exactly, because we fight among ourselves.
In closing, I am not against guns, everybody has them. I’m against using the Second Amendment illogically as a crutch. If it makes those feel better so be it. Just what it deserves, use it with a wink.
William Heino Sr.