To the Editor:
In my reading the real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country,” our Founders knew the difference (i.e. the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the south, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.
Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that. But we seem to have forgot that or choose to ignore it.
In the beginning, we had militias instead of standing armies. In the south, they were called “slave patrols,” and were regulated by the states. Georgia passed laws that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia.
They were worried that Article 1, Section 8 would give the federal government the power to take over their state militias and change them from slavery-enforcing institutions into something that could even, one day, free the slaves.
“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.” Now does this amendment make sense?
So how do we fix this mass shooting problem we have? There are two simple changes to U.S. law, both things based in other laws that we already know and like, could solve most of America’s gun violence problem:
1. Treat all semiautomatic weapons in a similar way under the same laws as fully automatic weapons.
2. Regulate gun ownership and usage the same way we regulate car ownership and usage.
3. Things that we do for owners of cars are perfect to deal with our American gun problem. Registration and title – as a requirement rather than an option – would establish a clear chain of custody and responsibility, so when people behave irresponsibly with their guns they can be held to account.
4. Having a shooter’s license be conditional on passing both a written and a shooting-range test would demonstrate competence and also insert a trained person into the process who could spot “off-kilter” people. We could also require people to prove a need or sporting/safety use for a weapon.
5. Today, if a car had run down mass-shooting victims, their families would be getting millions. Because a gun killed them, they get nothing.
It’s just common sense and we can do this.