A reflection on gun-ownership laws in America in light of the Washington Navy Yard mass shooting.

 

by Dada Vedaprajinananda 

In the debate about guns and gun violence in the USA, the opponents of gun control always cite the Constitution and its second amendment as the reason why strong legislation controlling access to guns should not be passed.

 

The second amendment is mentioned as if it were a commandment from God that cannot be challenged. God has not decreed that people have a right to “bear and keep” arms. Many countries do not have such policies and they do not endure the levels of gun-related deaths that the U.S. is now afflicted with.

The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written by fallible men in the 18th Century, when the U.S. was a sparsely populated rural country with no standing army.  It is now the 21st century. The frontier is gone and we don’t protect the country with citizen militias which depend on people keeping guns in their homes. We live in a densely populated urban environment and the high concentration of gun ownership has become a curse. It is high time that we address the problem with reason and without falling back on the second amendment, the way religious fundamentalists depend on their scriptures.

If the second amendment is what is preventing us from coming up with sensible gun ownership legislation then maybe it is time to consider repealing this amendment.  Take a look at the latest mass shooting at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.  The gunman went into a shop and bought a shot-gun. No one inquired why he wanted or needed a gun or whether he was competent to own a gun.  After all, he was just exercising his “second amendment right” to own a gun so who are we, the public, to make it difficult for him to make such a purchase?

As long as reason and inquiry is denied in the name of upholding the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution, then it will be impossible to tackle the problem of domestic gun violence and we can expect to endure more mass shootings and other tragedies that could have been prevented.