My daughter entered our suburban at the end of a happy third grade year and excitedly stated to her brother, “We made it through the whole year without a school shooting!” 

Do you find that disturbing? If not, read it again. We have become numb to these events as they are a fact of life now. The usual arguments proceed. Many revolve around “correctly” interpreting the Second Amendment.  

The idea that there has somehow been handed down through the generations a single true interpretation of the Second Amendment is fallacious and needs to stop. Perhaps many reading this would say that no one is making that claim, but the near religious zeal and dogma that infects gun debates would suggest otherwise. Those that are against additional gun control or possible bans often cite “original intent” in their reasoning. These are just arguments for the status quo. Few would argue for an interpretation that returns to the era of only whites owning muskets and most would not want an expansion to include automatic guns, fighter jets or nuclear bombs. The former would return us to an interpretation similar to the times when the original authors wrote the Second Amendment. The latter would provide us the ability to defend ourselves against possible tyranny from the U.S. government; conservatives often claim this is the purpose of the Second Amendment. 

The truth is that we don’t live by original intent. It is the consensus of the people, court cases, lawmakers, and the culture that determines interpretation. We simply draw a line and decide that some weapons are legal and others aren’t. We decided that automatic guns are illegal but semi-automatic are. This is a line we drew … not the founders. We decided that citizens cannot own a nuclear bombs or fighter jets. 

We can redraw the line again.  The Second Amendment didn’t come to us by the hand of God.  If the Constitution came to us without error, then why can we amend it? Admitting this includes the possibility of change and maybe more fruitful debate.  

Perhaps some think the status quo is great but they cannot claim adherence to constitutional orthodoxy. The U.S. Constitution is our culture’s holy document and the Supreme Court justices are our priests tucked away in their Greek temple modernizing the text. How we interpret and which justices should be seated there is a worthy debate. However, it is important to note that no one has a direct line to Madison and/or the state legislatures that ratified it. If we did, then we would likely find that there never was a single true understanding. It has been consensus and flawed people trying to build a better society. Room for improvement remains.

John W. Davis

Baytown

 

(9) comments

Frank

Well written, Mr. Davis. Sadly the gun nuts are not interested in reasonable, coherent arguments. They just want to keep their assault rifles. Bottom line, to them the right to own assault rifles is more important than the lives of innocent people.


baytownbert

Well written, Mr. Davis. Sadly the anti-gun nuts are not interested in reasonable, coherent arguments. They just want to ban anything they deem an assault rifle. Bottom line, to them to deny the right for law-abiding citizens to own assault rifles is more important than the possibility that lives of innocent people are somehow saved.


Frank

Bert, you are delusional. The instances of assault rifles being used in mass murders are numerous. Why don't you name just one instance where a civilian with an assault rifle PREVENTED a mass killing. That is what you imply in your last sentence. Back it up with facts. I dare you. My prediction - You've got nothing.


Frank

Hey, Bert. Is this one of your guys cruising around with an assault rifle, ready to save innocent people from mass murderers?



From todays Houston Chronicle:



A 28-year-old former United States Marine is behind bars after police found an AR-15 style gun with an unregistered suppressor – or silencer –attached, a sniper canopy and papers referencing school shootings and death in his vehicle, according to court documents filed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.



Rick Montealvo of Houston, who works for a private security company, was arrested Thursday and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, and booked into the Harris County jail on a $200,000 bond, court records show.



Prosecutors asked a judge to impose a high bond stating that Montealvo poses "an immediate threat to the safety of the community" because he was said to be found in possession of multiple firearms, documents referencing school shootings, specifically a document that read, "They say I'm the white boy who shoots up schools;" camouflage tactical gear and a military screening system, which is undetectable from an aerial view, records show.



When officers approached the vehicle, they saw he had multiple firearms inside the cab of the truck, including an AR-15 style rifle wedged in between the driver seat and center console with the muzzle pointing down, records show.



Montealvo was detained, and officers found that he had 12 active municipal warrants from the city of Houston, records show.



Montealvo had an AR-15 style rifle with a black suppressor attached to the end of the barrel, which by law must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, records show.



Officers found that Montealvo had not registered his weapon with ATF and that the rifle was not a "curio or relic firearm," which are defined by the ATF as having qualities of special interest to collectors.


Russell5150

Liberalism has infiltrated the Baytown Sun.


Frank

Liberal = person who supports change to make things better.



Conservative = person opposed to change and in some cases even wants to turn back the clock.


Alan H

Hey Frank, do you think delusional baytownblert also believes that Hurricane Dorian was forecast to hit Alabama? Bottom line...all Americans have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Second Amendment rights cannot override common sense gun reform necessary to prevent mass killings..


Aloysius

Who is going to decide what is common sense gun legislation? You or your comrade Frank?


Frank

Your elected representatives. It’s called democracy.


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