Why do some people want to “control” guns? What do they think gun control is? What some want to do is prevent gun violence. To prevent violence by guns, they want to ban the manufacture of firearms, the selling of firearms to the public, and the private ownership of firearms. What is gun control carried to its logical extreme? To prevent violence by guns, we would exterminate all those evil guns.
What is the thought process? Let’s start with 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.
When the Second Amendment first went into effect, the Second Amendment was solely a prohibition upon the Federal Government. If there was to be any gun control, the states were responsible, not the Federal Government.
What confused matters? The context changed over time. After the Civil War, we amended our Constitution. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited states from depriving citizens of their rights.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Whereas before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment it was clear that the Federal Government had no business infringing upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms, that only states had the authority to regulate such matters, because the context had changed, the intent of the Second Amendment was no longer clear. All our rights require some limits, some regulation, but the Second Amendment was designed to thwart any regulation by the Federal Government, to leave the matter to State control. Yet all rights have some limits, must be regulated to some extent.
So now we have to more carefully define what is meant by the right to bear arms. Usually gun control activists want to focus the debate on this part of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. What the gun control advocates wish to ignore is the second part: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. At the time the Constitution was written, the Federal Government did not exist. Citizens gave their first loyalty to their respective States, and those citizens understood that their State’s ability to defend itself from an out-of-control Federal Government depended upon their right to bear arms. Has that actually changed?
As citizens, do we still have a right and the responsibility to defend ourselves? If you believe guns cause violence — that they exist only to kill people — then the apparent lack of clarity in the Second Amendment provides an opening. These days militia members no longer bring their own guns when their militias gather for drill and practice. The government provides all their arms and keeps those arms when they go home. So gun control activists say the Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to bear arms. Then they precede to argue that our safety from those violent guns demands their prohibition.
If what gun control activists say is true, then we ought to ban government. Government exists to make people do what they don’t want to do. In fact, that is the ONLY REASON government exists, and governments use more guns — more weapons designed for no other purpose except killing people — than any other institution. So if we are going to ban gun violence, we may as well ban government violence.
Of course, if we banned government violence, we would have a problem. Without a government to enforce the ban on government violence, who would enforce the ban on government? Similarly, if we banned all the weapons that our government uses to make law breakers behave themselves, how would government protect our rights? The only people with weapons would be those who were willing to break the law and bully people with guns.
Sometimes we need to set aside our emotions, define the problem, and just work on practical solutions instead of childish ones. Here is a bereaved father who suggests just that.
Here is the longer version with statements from others.
Are guns evil? Or is the person who controls the gun good or evil? Is government evil? Or are the people who control the government good or evil? Are we trying to control evil people who bear tools of destruction or eradicate all tools that can be misused to kill the innocent?