Americans and the Second Amendment
On January 15, 2013, New York Governor Cuomo and the New York legislature passed into action the “toughest gun restrictions” in the nation, the first of its kind since the Newtown, Conn. and Webster, NY shootings. With this bill, naturally, comes opposition. While I completely support and encourage everyone’s right to have his or her own opinions on the subject matter, it is impossible to ignore the complete lack of information circulating both the state of New York and the nation as a whole, as well as the outrage that many people appear to be feeling.
Living in Wayne County, NY—which is predominantly a “red” area—I am constantly seeing Facebook comments posted with perspectives on various political hot topics from my conservative friends. I have been blown away by the number of people who are enraged about the fact that the government is trying to “take away guns” and “inhibit the rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.”
First of all, the government has no interest in taking away anyone’s guns. Neither the state of New York nor President Obama is presenting this in a bill. The bill that was signed into law does several things. It mandates that therapists and psychologists must report to the government any patient whom they feel would be harmful to themselves or others if given a gun.
Next, it states that ammunition clips cannot hold more than seven rounds. Anyone found with eight or more rounds next year will be facing a misdemeanor charge. Those who currently have clips with more than seven rounds are being given the year to sell them out of state.
Semiautomatic rifles, such as the Bushmaster (which was used to kill twenty first graders, six school administrators, and two first responders in the past few months) will no longer be sold in New York. Those who are already in possession of these weapons will not be asked to sell them—they just have to be registered with the police.
Lastly, the bill includes the Webster provision, which makes the killing of a first responder a felony of first degree murder, punishable by life in prison, a provision which first responders in New York feel has been long overdue.
My question is this: where in this bill do people feel they are losing their rights? The government is not decreeing that New Yorkers are not allowed to have guns. They are not stating that they will be collecting guns from those who already have them. So what is the big deal? Especially in light of shootings as recent as Jan. 22nd, aren’t gun control laws a positive thing?
Those who argue that this provision will not stop actual criminals are not considering the fact that someone had to purchase the gun legally in the first place. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, used guns that were legally purchased and registered to his mother—who ended up being one of his victims. William Spengler, the man who shot and killed two firemen in Webster, NY, used weapons legally purchased and registered to Dawn Nguyen, who bought the guns for him. Yes, people will try to obtain the guns illegally, but someone had to buy the gun in the first place. Why not make it more challenging to do that?
Those who argue that their 2nd Amendment rights are being infringed upon should go back and read the actual amendment. Yes, it gives you the right to bear arms. However, the full text reads:
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.
A well regulated militia. Regulated. The government DOES have the right to regulate guns. Those who are so keen to support the document should know exactly what they are in support of.
My final argument is that the text was written in 1787. That’s over two hundred years ago. Isn’t it a little bit…outdated? The Founding Fathers never could have dreamed about the power that modern day guns would possess. They never could have imagined that anyone would be able to walk into a school and slaughter twenty-six people so quickly. Therefore, it’s hard to say that the text should be read so literally in 2013. But if someone feels the need to read into it so closely, they should mind ALL of the text rather than the select words that support their own argument.
I understand that people enjoy guns because they like to hunt, or go out to shooting ranges and fire off some shots, or just because they think that certain guns just look cool! What I fail to see is the need to be so upset by something that really does nothing more than protects the people of America.