It seems like every day Americans wake up to the news of yet another mass shooting leaving multiple innocent citizens dead. The gun control debate continues to spiral in futility, polarizing an already divided populace. Unless you have been living under a rock since the mass murders in Newtown, Connecticut that left dozens of innocent souls dead, you have been privy to the rationale by pro gun advocates that restricting access to guns and large ammunition magazines will not deter gun violence. Some gun supporters have actually argued that more guns are needed by the citizenry for defense.
The first point pro gun zealots refer to is the Second Amendment, specifically the words, "the right to bear arms." Unfortunately gun supporters are either accidentally or intentionally omitting the entire nature of the amendment. The entirety of the Second Amendment when passed by Congress in 1791 reads;
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.
Gun control advocates could have a field day with the archaic necessity of this amendment or the vagueness of its meaning. Forget the fact that this was written before America employed nearly 800,000 sworn police officers, or what exactly defines "A well regulated Militia." The terms are so vague that an overzealous, judicial branch can, and have, interpreted these words based on political ideologies.
Additionally, the responsibility of maintaining a "free state" no longer falls on the shoulders of militias, it's the responsibility the American military. However, I would like to focus on the gun lobbies proverbial smoking gun, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Unless congress literally meant the arms of bears, this specific line can leaves absolutely no limitations to what arms citizens can own. Does this mean private citizens can have bazookas and grenades? How about nuclear and biological weapons?
Of course any sane defender of the right to bear arms would think this argument is irrational. However do you really think the members of Congress that ratified the second amendment ever thought we would have the ability to easily and cheaply manufacture weapons of the magnitude that we do today, or have them readily available to the mentally ill with little background screening and training? I prescribe to the theory of jurisprudence that the founding fathers created the constitution as a living document for a reason; so we as Americans can make the constitution suitable to our societal conditions, and even if they didn't, they were simply men, no less infallible than their successors.Retired General Stanley McChrystal said it best,
"I think we have to look at this legislation . . . . The number of people killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations. I don't think we're a bloodthirsty culture, and we need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people."
It is our duty as Americans to first and foremost protect every citizen's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we hold that credo to be paramount, then it is our duty as Americans, at the very least, to make rational restrictions to the capacity of ammunition magazines, have waiting periods to make sure gun buyers are of sound mind, and limit the types of arms available to private citizens.