The Second Amendment

Saying that Americans have "a fundamental right to bear arms" is not accurate. The work of our Founding Fathers gave Americans the privilege to bear arms. Unfortunately, many people use the word "right", when in reality they are speaking of a "privilege". Maybe this is another sign of the degradation of the English language in the digital age. But in my opinion it's an important semantic point that needs to made, partly because of the increase in violent incidents involving firearms this year.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights grant citizens many rights and privileges, which we as Americans should all hold dear. The right to health, liberty, and due process are fundamental rights which no one should be allowed to deny another citizen, regardless of their behavior or wrong doing. But society has the right to deny a citizen privileges if their behavior deems that denial necessary for the protection of the citizenry as a whole.

Consider an individual who commits a felony act infringing upon the rights of others; for example rape. This heinous act would personally drive me into a nearly uncontrollable rage. But does that individuals act, or the extent of my rage, give me the right to take the life of the perpetrator? Or does it give me the right to rape someone that they care for dearly, or themselves? Or do I stay within the confines of the law, knowing that retribution or revenge will only demean myself and blemish my personal moral standards?

Now consider the behavior of the rapist, who infringed upon the rights of another human being. After due process has been executed, and this individual has been tried and convicted properly in a court of law; they will become a convicted felon. According to federal law, it is a felonious act for a convicted felon to possess a firearm (and this crime is also subject to sentencing modifiers for the conviction, depending on the state where they were apprehended).

Without proper regulation, licensing and records; the government meant to protect all of the people will have no idea that this newly convicted felon still may own a firearm; until it may be too late. No matter how you feel personally about guns, everyone should be perceptive enough to realize that guns have the capacity to be dangerous and lethal.

In a similar way, a car has the capacity to be dangerous and lethal. Despite the fact that an overwhelming percentage of vehicle use is done in a safe manner. Yet we as a society have determined that there are some people (because of their circumstances or their behavior and actions) who should not be allowed the privilege of getting behind the wheel and driving. Whether because of age, a DUI, or other numerous reasons; we as a society feel compelled to create laws to prevent this because it is in the interest of public safety. And in order to legally drive a vehicle, the government states you must be licensed with a registered vehicle; although many individuals do so illegally.

The Founding Fathers never anticipated a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine, or the damage they could potentially inflict. But they designed our country with the ability to deal with new innovations and adapt to them. For over 100 years, the citizens of the United States have enacted and modified laws concerning vehicle use; and defined the people who should not be licensed to exercise that privilege, as well as regulations about the use of vehicles.

And so the questions percolate to the surface... Why does the current issue on guns meet with such divisiveness? Is it so impossible for both sides of the "gun argument" to find a compromise which is equitable and fair? And why do so many people deflect from the main issue by trying to wrap other issues into the serious question of how to keep guns out of the wrong hands?