Paul Giorgio: Massachusetts Needs To Reform Its Gun Laws
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
2nd Amendment rights
"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." –2nd Amendment to the US Constitution
We must all remember the context of the Bill of Rights. We had just won a hard and long war against the British. The timeframe was pre-1800 and America outside of the coast was mostly rural. Everyone had a gun to protect themselves from both people and animals and to hunt for food.
Those guns where muskets–single shot–and a good shooter would take upwards of 30 seconds to reload. Today we have guns that can shoot 50 times that in a minute.
So how do we balance “the right to bear arms” with the rights of the rest of the people who need the right to be free from gun massacres. As Governor Deval Patrick said, "This is not about taking away anybody’s rights. This is about affirming everybody’s right to live in safety without fear of violence."
Not what they had in mind
Let’s start at the beginning. Does anyone think our Founding Fathers envisioned the kind of automatic weapons we have today that can shoot a hundred rounds a minute? The answer is no.
When the Founding Fathers were talking about a “well-regulated militia,” were they talking about what is now the National Guard? That is certainly “well regulated."
We need to reach common ground quickly, before there are more Newtowns. How many more schoolchildren need to be massacrered before we do something?
What we can all agree on
People who are mentally ill and prone to violence should not have guns. The proposed law allows us to share the state’s mental health records with the Federal Government, so mentally ill people can’t buy guns in other states.
I know plenty of hunters. Some hunt with a bow, others with shotguns or rifles. None of them hunt with an AK-47, an Uzi or a Mack 15.
Some people feel they need a handgun for protection. None of them are buying “Saturday Night Specials”.
So let’s agree to protect legitimate gun owners whether it is handgun for protection or a hunting rifle or shotgun.
Let us also agree on background checks at gun shows, background checks for the mentally ill and let us agree to limit the magazine capacity of guns.
No more magazines that hold 15 rounds or more.
These guns aren’t used for protection and they certainly are not used for hunting. They are used for one thing: to kill large numbers of people very quickly.
Let’s all agree to end gun violence today.
No more Newtowns. No more slaughtering of children. No more lives lost to senseless gun violence.
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