To Avoid Another Orlando Let All Gun Owners Join A Well Regulated Militia Like The National Guard
Politicos and activists are appropriating the ghastly Orlando Massacre for political and policy purposes. It would be better if we could pause and mourn the victims before engaging in a policy debate. But if we are to have a policy debate, the debate we need to have is about how to drastically reduce gun violence without disarming law-abiding people.
There are ways to make us all safer without eroding the Bill of Rights. To do so we simply must end the “Mexican standoff” between gun control and gun rights advocates.
Ending the deadlock between gun control and gun rights holds the way to vastly reduce gun violence without infringing upon the rights of law abiding gun owners. Full disclosure: while a gun owner I am not a gun nut.
I’m a Constitution nut. A solution lies hidden in plain sight right in the Second Amendment:
“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 militias now, by and large, are subsumed into the National Guard. The Guard is a very well-regulated militia indeed.
Without doing any violence to the letter or spirit of the Constitution, it is entirely possible to make gun ownership contingent upon membership in the Guard or other legally recognized state militia. If done in full good faith — with NRA officials given seats at the table — this will appeal to the right (which has high respect for our military and for service) and will be at least palatable to the fair-minded left.
Consider the creation of an Auxiliary within the Guard, one with lighter duties — mainly training in responsible handling of weapons, regular but non-onerous drilling, and standard regulation of its membership. Not conceptually hard to do. By thereby heightening gun responsibility an even higher level of respect for gun rights, and a healthier gun culture, can be achieved.
Gun violence would plummet. Robust gun rights, now hanging by a slender one vote majority thread in US Supreme Court precedent and unlikely to survive a Democratic presidency, would be far more secure.
As reported in Time Magazine in a 2012 article, The Swiss Difference: A Gun Culture That Works:
Even as the gun-control debate rises again in the U.S. in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the gun-loving Swiss are not about to lay down their arms. Guns are ubiquitous in this neutral nation, with sharpshooting considered a fun and wholesome recreational activity for people of all ages.
Even though Switzerland has not been involved in an armed conflict since a standoff between Catholics and Protestants in 1847, the Swiss are very serious not only about their right to own weapons but also to carry them around in public. Because of this general acceptance and even pride in gun ownership, nobody bats an eye at the sight of a civilian riding a bus, bike or motorcycle to the shooting range, with a rifle slung across the shoulder.
Switzerland trails behind only the U.S, Yemen and Serbia in the number of guns per capita; between 2.3 million and 4.5 million military and private firearms are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people. Yet, despite the prevalence of guns, the violent-crime rate is low: government figures show about 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. By comparison, the U.S rate in the same year was about 5 firearm killings per 100,000 people, according to a 2011 U.N. report.
It is, of course, impossible completely to eliminate gun deaths (about 32,000 a year, 60% of which reportedly are suicides) as it is to eliminate deaths by auto accidents (32,675 in 2014). Yet by taking the full Second Amendment seriously we can dramatically reduce gun violence.
The secret lies right in the first four words of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia.” As confessed above I’m a Constitution nut.
The Framers had great wisdom. Rather than politicizing tragedy, let’s rely on that wisdom with a well-regulated Militia to get on with reducing gun violence.
To paraphrase Melville, “Call me Orlando. … ’And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’ – Job”
Originally posted on Forbes.