"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."
This will likely be a strange post going in multiple directions. My wish is to start discussion in the combox. As a boy growing up in Indiana, I had many toy guns. Most were of the western, six-shooter variety. Some shot caps, others squirted water. When I was twelve, I got a BB rifle for Christmas. My Lone Ranger and Tonto action figures, to say nothing of my Star Wars figures, were all armed, as were my plastic army men. Our son, age twelve, has numerous toy pistols and rifles, although his preference by far is for swords. The only true firearm we possess is the black powder rifle made by my wife's grandfather. I have never discharged it. While I have shot a .9mm pistol at a range and shot several shotguns at clay targets, I have never gone hunting, nor have I served in the military. My father was in Korea, my maternal great uncle was in Germany during WWII, and I have on a bookshelf the medal belonging to a relative who was part of the Grand Army of the Republic during the Civil War. A first cousin has made his career in the Air Force after graduating from the Air Force Academy, and a distant cousin retired after a career in the Army.
I begin with this background because I am a far from radical on either end of the gun-debate spectrum. At the moment, I do not understand much of the discussion taking place over licensing and background checks in the light of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The murderer did not own his weapons. His mother, and first victim, did. Does anyone know to what extent the mass murders since Columbine have been committed with legally owned firearms? My guess, and it is a pure guess, is that a great many of the killings were perpetrated by illegally obtained weapons. Should the debate not be more about whether weapons of the type used at Sandy Hook should even be available?
As the Second Amendment states, we have the right to keep and bear arms and to maintain a militia. I can certainly see the argument that if the point is for the citizenry to be able to defend itself against tyranny, then it cannot do so with Saturday Night Specials when the government has much more sophisticated firearms. On the other hand, no assault rifle is enough to combat rocket launchers or nuclear weapons. If our government turned tyrannical, there is no citizen militia in existence with the firepower to do squat in response.
Of course, the true cause behind the Sandy Hook slayings was evil, and that is something that can only be fought with equally spiritual weapons...the helmet of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, and so forth. This post, however, is about framing and understanding the gun-debate. I would appreciate the thoughtful responses of readers.