The View From Here – Despite endless gun violence, the NRA continues to take cover behind the Second Amendment

Tom Henihan

No society is immune to mass shootings: every school, institution, church or any place where people congregate is vulnerable to someone bent on causing murder and mayhem.

But in the US, mass shootings are epidemic, and yet in the face of enormous tragedy, politicians and a surprising number of citizens still use circumlocution and flawed reasoning to defend the widespread ownership of guns.

In the aftermath of the latest massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the kids who witnessed and survived that event were the most rational and articulate in their condemnation of American gun culture.

In his response to the Florida tragedy, Donald Trump, sounding more like an adolescent than the kids from the school, suggested that teachers carry guns.

This absurd suggestion, condoned by neither teachers nor law enforcement, pleased no one except the National Rifle Association (NRA).

All murders are tragic, and the taking of another’s life is the ultimate transgression in any society.

Not forgetting the three adults who lost their lives, the death of fourteen teenagers at the onset of becoming adults, being deprived of their chance of a life of great promise and high expectations, graphically illustrates what it means to steal the gift of life from another.

How could any reasonable American equate their Second Amendment right to bear arms, as a right to own a semi-automatic rifle and a substantial arsenal of other weapons?

Using such flawed reasoning, any American could pose an argument for having a tank in the driveway.

When the Second Amendment was signed into the American constitution as part of the Bill of Rights, in 1791, the population of the country was under four million people, one million less than the present membership of the NRA.

Without a police force or standing army, the right to bear arms to defend yourself and your family, to form militias to defend one’s community and country fell within the bounds of reason.

The Second Amendment reflected the reality in which Americans lived at that time.

Those who now insist on taking the Second Amendment out of context and to the extreme, refusing to acknowledge that America has evolved into a country with established institutions responsible for the safety of its citizens.

If those individuals want to equate their present rights with the realities of 1791, they should have their Second Amendment right honoured and allowed to possess a flintlock musket, powder horn and a few rounds of shot.

Why is the NRA, with a membership of 5 million, capable of stifling the efforts of a country of 300 million citizens from moving forward on gun control?

The answer is money; money the NRA uses to support politicians and public representatives who pay lip service to upholding the Constitution only to defend their archaic, dangerous fixation with guns.

This gun fixation is anchored in a skewed interpretation of the Second Amendment, the only tenet of the American Constitution that these gun-toting individuals seem interested in upholding.


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