Opinion, Siskiyou

One nation under guns

In 2023 there were 340 school shootings, 656 mass shootings and 42,987-gun deaths in our country. The basic truth about guns is that more guns equal more gun deaths 

The American gun culture is the story of how the 2nd Amendment has been manipulated by a culture of acceptable gun violence. People buy guns and resist all efforts to regulate them because of their belief in a militant patriotism and frontier masculinity. Today’s gun culture combined with the 415 million privately owned firearms in our country is unregulated deadly power in the hands of individuals. Conservatives see the right to bear arms as self-defense against criminals, as protecting personal freedoms and protection against an oppressive central government. 

What is the real interpretation of the 2nd Amendment? At the time the Constitution was written, the Founders disapproved of professional armies. There was a strong fear among the Founding fathers that a permanent national army could be used by the federal government against individual states. They instead preferred to ensure the security of the nation using state militias manned by the people. The Constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms only applied to men who were enrolled in a state militia and had nothing to do with individual gun rights outside of the militia. 

The Founders placed their trust in “the people” and not the individual. They wanted to prevent individuals from administering their own versions of justice. The 2nd Amendment was not a blueprint for an armed society. The Founders were not trying to federally protect gun ownership rights. In colonial times and after, the use of firearms was subject to many constraints depending if you lived in a large city, in a small community or on the frontier. 

The Supreme Court has ruled against the 2nd Amendment being interpreted as giving individuals the Constitutional right to private ownership of firearms in the United States v Cruikshank (1876), in Presser v Illinois (1886) and in the United States v Miller (1939).  

Then in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court decided these previous court decisions were wrong and in District of Columbia v. Heller, ruled on June 26, 2008, (5–4) that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms independent of service in a state militia and to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, including self-defense within the home. 

Why did the Supreme Court come up with this decision? Was this purely a political decision based on the lobbying power of the NRA? The five conservative Supreme Court justices’ majority decision was written to justify their predetermined political decision. The safety of the people and community mattered very little to them.  The fact that at least 600,000 citizens died by guns in America during the 19 years of the Vietnam war, compared to the 58,220 American soldiers killed in combat in Vietnam, meant nothing to these five justices. The fact that 336,000 citizens died by gun violence in America during 2001-2008, compared to the 3,602 American soldiers killed in combat in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars during that same time, meant nothing to these conservative justices. These data show that it’s more deadly living in America than the foreign wars we have fought in. We are living in a war zone because of a misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment and our politicians and Supreme Court are doing nothing to protect us. The fact that we are not safe in our cities, towns, schools, offices, churches and stores had no effect on the Supreme Court’s majority decision. 

We are at risk of being killed or injured by a gun-toting maniac any time and any place. Armed individuals have been administering their version of justice by killing innocent people over their loud music at gas stations, for talking on a cell phone during a movie, for being in the wrong driveway, for knocking on the wrong door, or in mass killings. 

The conservative justices injected individual gun rights into the Constitution regardless of the consequences. This conservative political ruling decided that an individual gun ownership right was more important than the safety and well-being of the people. The Supreme Court has distorted the original intent of the 2nd Amendment and created the very thing that would have scared the Founders to their core: a heavily armed populace. 

The Heller majority decision makes the Supreme Court complicit in all gun related killings beginning on June 27, 2008. Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy are the guilty ones for allowing 560,000s+ gun deaths since the Heller decision. These justices, the Republican party and the NRA need to be held accountable for these unacceptable deaths. Their thoughts and prayers for the dead are nothing but BS. The blood of the innocent is on their hands and ours if we do nothing to end this carnage.

Tom Laurent
March 18, 2024

One Comment

  1. Jizzle Lips

    This is a complete garbage opinion. Firearms are the reason why you can post this crap without being punished.

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