Gun Control

In the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, wrote, "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose… nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

Scalia was known as a believer in Originalism, meaning that the Constitution should be taken as it is written, in precise language, without any undo interpretation. As one of the most conservative Justices in our nation’s history, his opinion when it conflicts with that of the National Rifle Association, is often ignored by Republicans. Why is this? He is lauded as almost a saint of Conservatism, and yet discounted when he provides logical interpretation to combat the pervasive idea of “You’ll have to pry this [gun] from my cold, dead hands” as Charlton Heston famously said. The ongoing issue of gun safety, and through gun control, a hopeful reduction of deaths from gun violence seems to be the hill this nation may die on.
The United States has 88.8 guns per 100 people, or about 270,000,000 guns, which is the highest total and per capita number in the world. 22% of Americans own one or more guns (35% of men and 12% of women). America's pervasive gun culture stems in part from its colonial history, revolutionary roots, frontier expansion, and the Second Amendment, which states: "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."
According to the latest gun death statistics available from the FBI, 33,599 gun deaths occur, on average, each year in the United States. Of those killed, 427 are under the age of fifteen. African-Americans make up 7,765 of those killed annually, and 4,816 are women of all races. More than two thirds of all gun deaths are ruled a suicide in this nation. The Harvard School of Public Health has done research  to show the causality between gun ownership and an increase in suicide rate. In their report they write:
A 2008 study by Miller and David Hemenway, HICRC director and author of the book Private Guns, Public Health, found that rates of firearm suicides in states with the highest rates of gun ownership are 3.7 times higher for men and 7.9 times higher for women, compared with states with the lowest gun ownership—though the rates of non-firearm suicides are about the same. A gun in the home raises the suicide risk for everyone: gun owner, spouse and children alike.
I know the arguments…

"Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws, and highest murder rates!" – Chicago is also a short 30 minute drive to Indiana, which has some of the laxest laws in this nation.

"If you take my guns away, the criminals will still have them and you will just be making me and my family less safe." – an Australian study of gun violence since the gun ban was enacted in 1996 has shown steady decrease in gun deaths (mass murders have been eliminated completely, gun murders have decreased, and suicide by gun percentages have also fallen), and the study went even further, they showed that the rate of murders by other means have not increased to fill the gaps. 

“We need better mental health care, not more gun control.” – well, yes, we absolutely need better health care; but we need gun control too.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the U.S. between 2001-2010 were carried out by individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. And the fact that one person with a mental illness committed a mass shooting does not make that person representative of others with that type of mental illness. Many common mental health diagnoses—including anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder—have no correlation with violent behavior at all. 

Now, I write about issues that I care about in order to – hopefully – share some information that might change minds. I have not been very successful with the issue of gun ownership and gun control, but I want to share this one last thing with you…maybe it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The Newtown Shooting…there just aren’t any other words.

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


  1. Almost 88.8 guns per 100 Americans.. that's just ridiculous! Guns dont kill people, they just make it easy. Agree with you that there should be stricter Gun control. However also need to address the mental health of the people who own guns.
    Team MocktailMommies

    1. I would posit we need to address mental health for all people. While the evidence shows that the vast majority of gun deaths are perpetuated by those withOUT mental illness, having the GOP led Congress remove the Obama era ban on gun purchases by those that are deemed disabled by their mental illness is definitely NOT a step in the right direction.

  2. I had the pleasure of hearing Gabbie Gifford speak on this issue. Very compelling. We have to do better.

  3. The Second Amendment doesn't mean at all what people think it means, but I don't have time to go into right now. That word "militia," though, is important.

    1. I agree and hope you'll have time to write more of your thoughts on the issue.

    2. The Scalia quote from the Heller decision that leads off this blog post says it all. And Scalia was so far to the right he made Attila the Hun look liberal by comparison.

      I like this quote from Alan Deshowitz:

      We have to fulfill what the real meaning of the Second Amendment is: reasonable access to guns for self-protection and for hunting. And there's no room in America for these semiautomatic, automatic and other kinds of weapons that are simply designed to cause mass havoc.

  4. Guns are not the problem. Education and a healthy respect for guns but it would take years to educate younger generations. I grew up around guns and so did many of my friends in Northern California.

    I also am a literalist. I believe what the constitution reads. Any further interpretation is just that - it totally misrepresents the spirit of the document. Good topic.

    If you are interested in genealogy, Stop by for a visit: From 1840 to 1880, GERMANS were the largest group of immigrant


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