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Guns in America: Recipe for disaster Thomas Kostigen's Ethics Monitor - MarketWatch
Recipe for disaster
Commentary: The Second Amendment needs to join the modern era
By Thomas Kostigen
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Beyond the calls for gun control by some liberal pundits in the aftermath of the Arizona killings, there has been scant talk of reining in gunmakers or the lethal weapons they manufacture.
President Obama hasn’t broached the subject. Lawmakers haven’t introduced any new gun-control laws. In fact, sentiment seems to be more pro-gun than anti; Utah just announced that it is adopting the automatic pistol as its state symbol.
To be sure, White House sources cited by news outlets claim the president will ask Congress for stricter gun control laws to be enacted. But that seems, well, weak — at best; talk, not action. Besides, the most attentive moments to the issue have passed.
Meanwhile, The National Rifle Association is taking action as well as aim at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is looking to enforce stricter background checks for gun purchasers. The NRA, hiding behind the Second Amendment, is mocking the mayor and saying he is looking to place the blame of violent crime in New York City on gun owners. It should be noted that a great deal of violent crime in New York City is actually committed with guns. The NRA qualifies this by stating that Bloomberg isn’t after the source of violent crime — illegal guns. Rather he’s after “your guns.”
It’s time to take another look at 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, shall not be infringed” is the exact wording of the right Congress passed in ... 1791.
I inserted an ellipsis in that last sentence so you could pause and perhaps think about that date and period in time. We’ve come a long way since then in terms of technology and evolution of firepower.
“No rational person thinks you should be able to sell a rifle that’s advertising as able to bring down a commercial airliner,” Bloomberg said at press conference. “Nobody thinks we should be selling armor-piercing bullets — you don’t need that if you’re hunting deer or elk.”
He’s right, of course. We aren’t talking about muskets anymore.
In any event, stricter background checks don’t mean a person doesn’t have the right to own a gun. It just means the wrong type of person don’t have a right to own a gun. Is that so wrong?
The NRA should perhaps live up to its name and stick to rifles.
Revising the Second Amendment or at the very least passing stricter gun control laws that jibe with modernity should be the goal of rational society. Otherwise we’ll be sure to experience many more shootings and many more senseless killings.
The United States is the biggest arms dealer in the world. Americans buy and make more guns than anyone else. We also have one of the highest violent-crime rates in the world.
There is an odd paranoia that seizes people when they hear the government may take away their right to own a gun. What, are we the people going to one day be forced to rise up, revolt and take over the government by force? Is crime going to get so bad that we’ll have to form armed vigilante groups?
“Call of Duty” is a video game, fiction. Play it to get your kicks, or go to an arcade. Just don’t jeopardize the rest of our lives by claiming you need the real thing, a handgun that shoots armor-piercing bullets to protect yourself.
Thomas M. Kostigen is the author of “The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life.”