Guns Don’t Kill People, People Who Shouldn’t Have Guns Kill People.

03Oct17

Vegas

“The Vegas shooter killed more people in FIFTEEN MINUTES than were killed by guns IN TOTAL in the UK in the last TWO YEARS”.  – That’s what the British adventurer, Graham Hughes tweeted after the latest US gun attack.

When is the United States going to sort out its gun laws?

The scale of this latest tragedy is beyond shocking. The pain of the families and members of the community is unimaginable. Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards an open-air music festival on Sunday night.

America needs better gun control laws but still there are a lot of people in the USA that see gun control as an attack on their freedom.

The problem is the interpretation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and specifically the phrase “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

On the face of it, it looks like all American citizens have the right to carry a gun for personal protection, but you have to look at the context.

The quote, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is only the second half of the sentence. The full sentence is “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”. You’ve got to look at that phrase, “A well regulated Militia”.

The Second Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791. It was a different time, under different circumstances, with very different weapons. Success in the Revolutionary War had helped America’s Founding Fathers understand the need for firearms. A far-away government imposed taxes without representation. Armed citizens had fought for the right to form their own government. It is more than likely that they wanted guns to be available in case they needed to do that again. As well as that, America was still expanding. There were territorial disputes with the native people.

The most hi-tech weapon of the day was the musket. Someone who knew what they were doing could take a single wildly inaccurate shot and then rummage around with a ramrod and a powder bag for over a minute before being able to shoot again. The only way multiple shots could be fired would be with multiple muskets, and multiple well disciplined shooters, in other words a “well regulated Militia”. Muskets WERE used for personal protection but when people did die from these weapons, it was often because of lead poisoning or infection.

The Second Amendment is out of date. There’s no way America’s Founding Fathers could have imagined the weapon technology of today. The “arms” referred to in the Second Amendment are Revolutionary War-era muskets.

They have tried to bring things up to date. In 1994 a law banning assault weapons for ten years was passed by Congress. That law expired in 2004 at the end of the George W. Bush administration.

Would tougher gun laws have prevented Stephen Paddock from killing at least 59 people and injuring another 527 at a Las Vegas concert? We’ll never know, but what we do know is that the weapons he used were military-style automatic rifles. Would he have been allowed to own those guns if the 1994 law had not been allowed to expire?

Machine guns are legal in Nevada. You are allowed to carry weapons and do not have to register as a gun-owner. Background checks are done when people buy guns, but they are also allowed to sell them privately.

In Donald Trump’s speech after this, the worst mass shooting in American history, he said nothing about gun reform. He offered the shooting victims his condolences and spiritual guidance; and called for national unity.

“Thoughts and prayers” won’t stop this happening again, gun control might.

Craic on!

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