After any high-profile gun-related tragedy, such as the mass shooting in a Colorado theater last week or the lone-gunman slayings at Virginia Tech a few years ago, there is an outcry from a segment of the population for stronger gun-control laws.
Assault weapons, large-magazine weapons, large-capacity ammunition clips, large purchases of ammunition, so-called "cop-killer" bullets, weapons sales at gun shows where background checks can be avoided and sales/ownership of most handguns usually are the prime targets for those wanting a change in federal gun laws.
Such calls usually are tap danced around by members of Congress and the White House while also drawing the immediate disdain of the politically powerful, well-funded and longtime lobbyist National Rifle Association.
Already the mayor of New York City has called upon both major party presidential candidates to take strong actions to curb gun-violence by banning assault weapons and support other anti-gun efforts. A handful of Democrats in Congress also are calling for legislation banning large-capacity ammunition magazines, but the leadership of the House and the Senate have said there should be no push for tighter gun-control laws.
The Second Amendment clearly provides for citizens' absolute right "to bear arms" and that right repeatedly has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the amendment was written at a different time in history, for a different reason and for a different society. But, it exists and therefore must be followed.
Yet, I really doubt if the Founding Fathers had anything close to today's massive firepower weaponry in mind when they penned the amendment. I doubt if they ever conceived of a gunman walking into a crowd and opening fire, killing and wounding scores of innocent people.
I would bet the Founding Fathers wanted citizens to "bear arms" so as to protect themselves from hostile, armed forces, be they Native Americans , French soldiers or British military forces. The then-struggling and feeble American government needed a well-armed militia to defend itself from foreign powers, which is another phrase in the Second Amendment.
While the support of the Second Amendment is absolute, I wonder if rapid-fire assault weapons with 200-round magazines are necessary for the average citizen to defend himself, his family and his home. I would think a .380-caliber handgun with hollowpoints or a 12 gauge shotgun would be as effective for personal defense.
Interestingly, while some are calling for more gun control, firearm sales are soaring in Colorado, with some saying it's because they fear the government will attempt to enact new restrictions on gun ownership.
The state of Colorado approved 2,887 applicants for firearms purchases the three days following the theater killings, a 25 percent jump in applications from the previous Friday to Sunday period and a 43 percent jump from a week earlier.
Requests for permits to carry a concealed weapon also vastly increased in Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, California and other states. A renewed call also was made for Congress to enact legislation for all states to recognize the concealed carry permit of another state, much like states recognize each other's driver's licenses. If one license or permit can be recognized from state-to-state, the other should be also.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.