The Octogenarian: Enforce the Second Amendment
Well, there has been another school shooting, this time at a community college in Oregon. A white madman gunned down seven students, their professor and wounded many more. The result was a wringing of hands and a cry to do something.
Since 1968, we have lost more American lives on our streets to gun violence than we have lost in all of our foreign wars since then. But little attention is given to the problem, because the largest percentage of those American street deaths belong to minorities.
I guarantee that if all of those who died from gun violence were white people, Congress would be screaming for action. If all of those deaths were caused by a disease, the nightly news would be yelling for the Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association and maybe even the Red Cross to intervene.
I do not believe we can stop madmen dedicated to doing harm and going out in a blaze of glory. I do have an idea to decrease the number of guns available on American streets.
The Second Amendment shouters and the National Rifle Association are against this. But remember, the idea that the Second Amendment allows everyone to have a gun is a fairly recent innovation perpetrated by political money raisers such as the NRA.
My proposal: read the Second Amendment.
According the Constitution, the Second Amendment provides for “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.”
That’s it. That’s the whole thing.
I propose that on Jan. 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, the U.S. government do away with the National Guard as it exists today. While keeping the same personnel in place, change the name of that force to The United States National Militia.
Gun ownership should make you automatically enlisted in that militia, whether you are age 18 or 88, male or female, regardless of your physical condition. The same mental tests that apply to active military service will apply to gun owners.
I propose that enlistees spend two weeks every year in training camp and one weekend every two months. Members of the Militia would be on call for national emergencies, including floods, tornadoes, earthquakes or fires.
These should be prerequisites for gun ownership.
There will be a limit of four guns per militia member, unless they are registered with the Federal Government as a certified gun collector, who will pay substantial fees. There will also be a limit on magazine size and types of bullets available.
After the Jan. 20 date, possession of a gun without militia membership or an ID will be a class one felony punishable, even in first offense situations, by a minimum of one year in federal prison and a fine of $250 to $2,500.
This will certainly give the Second Amendment the meaning for which it was intended when it was written, and it will begin a means of having some control over the proliferation of firearms in our country.
Do I expect opposition to this idea? Of course. I live in Texas, a state run by a governor and legislature that does not believe in anything said by the Pope in his recent visit.
So, bring it on. At least this is a step in the right direction.
Opinion columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]