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'God-given' arms absolutes must go
William Dowling's op-ed: Obtaining a gun is too easy in America.

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Date published: 1/13/2013

SADNESS WILL be displaced once again with rhetoric. Some already suggest that more guns on the scene and not fewer would have somehow prevented bloodshed. I own a gun. Would a few bureaucratic inconveniences have really stood between me and the "God-given right to bear arms" so many of you claim I enjoy?

Of course not. But I only wish that obtaining my firearm had been harder. Although the availability of guns is only part of the problem (mental health awareness/treatment and the culture of violence we foster are other aspects), the fact remains that gun restrictions must be part of the conversation and the solution.

Canada has it right. Standard long arms are readily available. They are considered tools. For the price of a few shells a woodsman in Alberta can feed his family through the winter. A rifle or shotgun is no different than a hammer. Their purpose is not as a weapon except when misused. It is the handguns and assault weapons that Canadians abhor.

Such firearms are anti-personnel by design. They are meant to be used against other persons. Therefore, Canada makes availability of such weapons very difficult. And it has yet to succumb to the governmental tyranny from which I am so frequently told the Second Amendment protects us.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms" What arms, specifically? Would not absolute adherence to this unequivocal right mean that I may construct nuclear, biological, and/or chemical arms? Why can I not build pipe bombs in my basement? For all the breath wasted by gun enthusiasts the facts are quite simple. Restrictions already exist. There is no absolute right to any and all arms. There never has been. We already ban some dangerous weapons. So why not restrict the weapons that consistently plague us?

The First Amendment refers to the "right of the people to peaceably assemble " The word "people" in this clause is a collective noun. Basic grammar tells us that a collective noun is a plural that behaves like a singular noun grammatically. Similar nouns are "team" and "congregation." As a result of this implied collective the Supreme Court has repeatedly interpreted this aspect of the First Amendment to be a right not enjoyed by the individual.

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William Dowling lives in Locust Grove.