Friday, May 11, 2012

The Problem of Guns

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.

- Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority in District of Columbia v Heller (U. S. Supreme Court 2008)

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, drafted in 1791, grants to US citizens the right to keep and bear arms. With this right come certain responsibilities, including:

  • Abiding by laws and holding valid permits

  • Proper training in the use of firearms

  • Proper maintenance and cleaning of firearms

  • Securing firearms so that they are not easily stolen or available to children

  • Responsible use of firearm for competitive sharp shooting, self-defense, and for hunting.

The problem of gun violence could be dealt with more effectively if the following things were to happen:

  • Make murder with a gun a capital offense, no exceptions, no reduced sentences.

  • Stiffen sentences for convicted arms traffickers.
  • Provide incentives for people to report suspicions of gun violence

  • Restrict

  • Restrict gun sales to persons age 30 or older (unless in uniform service)

Related reading:  7th Circuit Agrees with Sotomayor on Guns

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