By Jesse Rutigliano
What do the second amendment to the American Constitution and the Second citizenry right in the American Bill of Rights have in common? Well, you wouldn’t need to be a scholar of American history or politics to know that they are the same thing. This is one of the reasons a portion of the American public is pro-gun and why a good percentage of that portion is being represented in Congress. The second amendment – being a part of the Bill of Rights – is entrenched in the American psyche. It speaks of the rights for one to protect what is theirs and reassures that freedom will not be infringed by government or individual. The Bill of Rights is seen by every citizen of America as a code of ethical measurement. If what you are doing is protected by the Bill of Rights or if it is stated or can be construed to state in the Bill or the Constitution, than it is non-negotiable, morally and legally.
The second amendment as worded in the Constitution is as follows:
‘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.’
Very well. The ability to quickly form militia in the face of war is a noble and necessary precaution. This holds true when you don’t have the means to build an army of your own, as was the case on the 25th of September 1789. This however is not the case anymore. The United States has the most powerful and prodigious army in the world. It is more than capable of dealing with threats to its liberty and freedom via this ferocious and uncompromising power. Yet, this amendment and citizenry right remains firmly fixed in the Constitution and at the back of every tea bag bearing, cowboy boot wearing crack-pots mind in the country. These people that insist it is for the good and safety of the masses to have military style automatic firearms on their bedside tables, need to open their eyes to the bigger picture.
The evidence to suggest that gun violence in America is out of control is overwhelming. There have been 900 gun deaths in the States since the devastating events at Sandyhook Elementary. That’s 205 more deaths in the five weeks since the tragedy than Australia had in 2008, 2009 and 2010 combined. This is a country with an issue that is literally killing its citizens as I write. It is by no means, and I do not suggest it’s a simple issue to fix. I am not naive, and I will not say “just change the goddam amendment”. This is a deep-rooted American freedom, a freedom that was enacted by the Founding Fathers. Individuals such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. All men of high esteem with free and liberal traditions.
What I hope to point out in this article is that the international community’s opinion of American idiocy and downright stubbornness comes from a long line of historic freedoms, all born in the name of ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ It is sincere and not an easy thing to change. However, President Obama has – to his credit – taken this issue head on. He has proposed an Assault weapons ban, expanded background checks and ammunition magazines being limited to 10 bullets. This package, along with a few other additions will be a good start and probably as close as the country will get to altering the second amendment. We of course have to remember that these are just proposals. Without bi-partisan support, and congress being as polarized as it is, this package is unlikely to pass. President Obama warns that if Congress does not pass these revised gun laws he will take action into his own hands. However, the Executive can only do so much without Congressional support, and I reiterate, that unfortunately is incredibly minimal.
So, it seems that a country founded on ultimate individual freedom has made it possible for a citizenry right to limit that freedom in the guise of unequivocal finality. This is one of the implacable tragedies of America – America the brave.