Opinion: We pay a terrible price for nation’s love of guns

Photo via Flickr.com user Elvert Barnes

Photo via Flickr.com user Elvert Barnes

In her letter to the editor, Chet Saur examined two writings by James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson regarding the establishment of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Both of there writings addressed the possible tyranny of the government against citizens.

Ms. Saur then “fast forwards” to the present outlining what she seems to think is the arrival of the government preparing to overthrow our democracy and establish a totalitarian regime, citing that while the US government has “73 federal agencies with ‘armed officers’… some of them may be coming to visit your home soon…”

I wrote the following letter to the editor of another town newspaper in 2001 about an editorial regarding gun violence in our nations schools:

“Regarding your March 15 Editorial, “Two Wrongs, No Right…” addressing the awful violence has overtaken our schools, I find it strange that we don’t look at what, to me, as an astonishing fact of life in the United States. The latest statistics available from the Center for Disease Control reveal that over 32 thousand Americans died from firearms’ injuries in 1997 (those numbers hold today).

That translates to 12.12 firearms death per 100,000 citizens. By contrast in England where gun ownership is severely restricted, the rate is 1.4 per 100,000.

This nation has a love affair with guns and we pay a terrible price for it.

If, as the editorial suggests, the question of violence in our schools is multifaceted and complex, then we need to address the problem on many fronts. But the simple fact remains: if guns were not so easily available in the country, the obscene death toll in our homes, our work places, our schools surely would be much lower.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “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.’ The Darien police are a ‘well regulated Militia…’ you, and I and our kids are not.”

Indeed our Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, in 2008 and again in McDonald v. Chicago, 2010, chose to ignore the first part of the amendment. Thanks to those ill considered rulings, we now see Sandy Hook and an incredible “feeding frenzy” of our citizens behaving like crowds on Black Friday at Walmart buying AR-15s, high capacity magazines and body armor at a startling clip.

I’m more worried about the Tea Party dude toting in my local bar than 73 armed government agents at my door.

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  • Fred

    Federal law “Title 10 – ARMED FORCES, Chapter 13” clearly states that “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age…” The law goes on to include women, in an amendment to the code.

    You then say Heller and McDonald fail to address the “Militia” part of the 2nd amendment. You couldn’t be more wrong! In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia writes a multiple-page explanation of the 2nd amendment, leaving practically no word unaddressed. He thoroughly discusses the Militia and who is in it (all able bodied men). Scalia writes: In United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, 179 (1939), we explained that “the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense.”

    If you’re going to write on the topic, please do better research.

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