By Saul Roth
The NRA claims the media is biased against their cause. They claim armed citizen stories are not broadcast. The NRA promotes the tyrannical government argument and believes gun control is just the beginning of gun confiscation (Medlock, Supra at 57).
The Heller decision was very close. The dissent was four judges. Justice Stevens wrote the opinion of the dissent. He made many referrals to previous decisions and the opinions of the second amendment purpose for the arming of a state militia (David T.Hardy, Ducking the Bullet; District of Columbia v. Heller and the Stevens Dissent, 2010 Cardozo L. Rev. De Novo 61 (2010) (61). But much evidence has been produced that shows the framers did believe there was a right for the individual to bear arms. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson used the terms bear arms for hunting. Newspaper articles of the day informed readers of how the second amendment would protect their private arms (Hardy, Supra at 7). As stated earlier in this paper much of our laws are based on English law. The 1689 English Declaration of Rights states that subjects have arms suitable to their conditions and allowed by law. There is no mention of a militia (Hardy, Supra at 73).
The gun control issue continues in many venues. There are laws on the books that just don’t work today. An example of this is in North Carolina. During the race riots of the 1960’s North Carolina passed a law that did not allow guns during declared state of emergencies. But after Katrina in New Orleans it is plainly obvious that citizens need to protect themselves when government can’t. The National Guard confiscated guns during Katrina and people could not even protect their homes. The law in North Carolina does not work today, but yet the state cannot have it abolished (Joshua J. Styles, The Right to Bear Arms and the Abominable Snowman; How Six Inches of Snow Swallowed a Fundamental Right, 90 N.C.L. Rev. 84A (2012) (1)
The country is polarized on this subject. Its seems as though the gun advocates have dug their heels in the ground and won’t give anything on this issue. If the massacre in Connecticut didn’t bring the two sides together I don’t believe anything will. The Heller decision has made gun ownership for self-defense now. It has changed over the years and could change during another generation. But as I have shown there is much room for discretion. My father recently passed away in Arizona. He owned many guns. I wanted to transfer ownership to a family friend in Arizona. I was able to do this without any government paperwork and background checks. I would have had a harder time buying a Carl Jr hamburger. I believe if there is a background check in a gun store in Arizona there should be a background check for any transfer of guns. I do not see any need for any civilian to own assault type weapons. Even though I do not see any chance of it ever coming to law, I don’t think any civilian needs an automatic handgun. A civilian can defend himself with a revolver.
It is time for citizens to use common sense. We can debate the issue of the reason for the second amendment forever. Was it for a militia or for individual self-defense? What ever it was for the type of weapons have change since 1789. Common sense is used for Freedom of Speech. You don’t yell fire in a movie theater. You can be sued for liable. The paper by Thomas Paine that inspired the Declaration of Independence was called Common Sense. It is time to use common sense on this subject.