With Rights Comes Responsibility

victimsWe should all know the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. It says

“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.”

It is the right of all American citizens to own guns. But does that mean everyone should be able to hold any weapon at anytime without any restrictions, regardless of the conditions we face in society? Apparently there are many of you who would answer this question with a definite “YES!”

Gun advocates often sight the 2nd Amendment as an absolute truth that cannot be restricted in anyway what so ever.

So the government is supposed to protect our 2nd Amendment rights. But guns aren’t the only right we have. Every American also has the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. In order to ensure these other rights, the Constitution states that the government is to “insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense…” As the President eloquently stated in his recent address at the White House; every victim of gun violence has been denied his or her right to Life and Liberty. It is the government’s job to not only protect the rights of gun owners, but to also protect everyone else’s right to Life.

Therefore, in the interests of protecting the people President Obama has put forth a list of measures that he and many others feel will help protect everyone’s right to Life. In trying to balance the protections of our citizens while still protecting the 2nd Amendment, none of the proposals put forth would prevent a law-abiding citizen from owning a gun; even two, three or twenty guns. What has been put forth are some very popular measures to help ensure that guns don’t end up in the wrong hands. Initiatives such as background checks for all purchases, including mental health checks and more resources to better enforce current laws are all for the sole interest of protecting the people.

Automobiles are weapons in their own right. We have a full regulatory system starting with the need to get a license to operate a motor vehicle. Then once you have your license, every automobile must be registered, tagged and titled. Then if you sell your car privately, it must be recorded and transferred. This is all done for one reason only: To protect everyone’s right to life.

The attack on 9-11-2003 killed 3,000 Americans. Another 2,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Billions of dollars were spent. A Republican President and a Republican Congress enacted laws widely considered invasions of privacy, all in the name of security and safety.

Between homicides, accidents and suicides, roughly 30,000 Americans die every year as a result of guns.  Add on to that number the thousands more injured from gun violence and gun accidents. If we were so concerned in the aftermath of 9-11 that killed 3,000 people, shouldn’t we be concerned about the 30,000 that die every year from guns. Background checks and registries for gun owners don’t deny law-abiding citizens the right to own a gun. They help to ensure everyone’s right to Life and Liberty.

The U.S. is number one in the world for gun ownership. There are 88.8 guns for every 100 people. Lets take a moment to look at other developed nations with high gun ownership rates. Switzerland, Finland and Sweden are all on the Top 10 list of countries for gun ownership. But their gun related death-rates is only about 15% of ours in the U.S. How do they have a low death rate from guns with such a high ownership rate? We need to recognize that all these countries I’ve mentioned have full bans on automatic weapons. All have stringent licensing requirements with full background checks to purchase any weapon and ammunition. And yes, they all have mental health checks as well. All have a national registry of all firearms, and all require special additional permits for semi-automatic ownership. These are all sensible steps that are proven to work, without denying responsible citizens to own guns.

But some would still insist that these measures go against the 2nd Amendment, disregarding everyone else’s right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Hypocritically, these same extreme Republicans who insist that all forms of gun regulation trample on their 2nd Amendment rights, didn’t seem to think that their coordinated efforts to impose Voter ID laws last year, infringed on anyone else’s Constitutional right to vote.

Just one further piece of advice to the NRA and gun enthusiasts. If you are involved in any activity that could potentially cause harm to others, you should probably show that you are taking every means necessary to ensure the safety of others, lest you risk others telling you how to safely operate and regulate your activities.