With President Obama's fourth State of the Union address now part of history, the topic of gun violence was President Obama's denouement. He received a standing ovation and calls of approval from many of those in the House chamber when he repeated “They deserve a vote,” preceded by the name of a town where gun violence had claimed lives. The president's message clearly hit home, the Second Amendment is important, but so are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.
The Second Amendment was not a new idea for America's Constitutional drafters, since England had codified the right in the 1689 English Bill of Rights. It seems that King James II, a Catholic, disarmed all protestants in England. The English Bill of Rights reinstated the rights of protestants to bear arms, so that both Catholics and Protestants could protect themselves against an encroaching government.
As with their English ancestors, the colonists also wanted protection against the government. The colonies, later to be states, did not want to be easy pickings for the federal government, and the right to bear arms was the only way to guarantee that independence.
But things have changed. In 1776, citizens could have the same weapons as those possessed by the federal government, so states had the realistic ability to protect themselves. The same is not true today. With current federal gun laws, there is no match of firepower between American gun owners and government law enforcement and military resources.
The NRA needs to recognize the bullet-riddle on the wall. The pro-gun lobby lost the Second Amendment battle in 1934, when the National Firearms Act was passed. The NFA, for the first time, regulated the type of guns that Americans could possess, and outlawed automatic weapons, silencers, and sawed-off shotguns, among other types of weapons.
As the NRA hasn't yet woken up and smelled the gun powder, the pro-gun control activists are also off hugging the wrong tree. The gun control folks want assault weapons banned. This was tried in 1994, and according FactCheck.org, the results were mixed. It was not clear that the ban had any discernible net effect on the crime rate. Even Vice President Joe Biden has acknowledged that most gun-related deaths have nothing to do with assault weapons.
No person or organization has a monopoly on the solution of Americans killing each other. Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call”, after the Sandy Hook massacre, said “[T]he fact is we have to begin to operate healthy within our families, within our communities, within our states, within our government.” The country must stop arguing over the best way to kill or not kill each other, and look at the big picture --- why do some Americans want so badly to kill others?
The violence problem in America is bigger than guns. Ultimately, if a person is intent on killing others, any available lethal weapon may be used. It is the seemingly too-prevalent desire to kill each other that must be controlled, not the way the killing is done.