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'God-given' arms absolutes must go page 2
William Dowling's op-ed: Obtaining a gun is too easy in America.

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Date published: 1/13/2013


In order to "peaceably assemble" individuals are constrained by the law. Permits must be sought, sanitation and security accounted for, and the well-being of others must be considered. It is not permitted to discourage the message of a rally through such requirements. But the community body reserves the right to restrict and even disallow some protests based on the impact to the community. To be concise, this right in the First Amendment is routinely regulated.


The same language was used in the Second Amendment. Yet somehow the Supreme Court has interpreted the "right of the people" here to mean the opposite of what it means in the First Amendment. Somehow it is a sacrosanct individual right in the Second Amendment but not in the First. Apparently our Founding Fathers are not to be trusted to be consistent in their use of language. Thank goodness the gun lobby has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and managed to convince our judges that the same language in the first two amendments means two very different things in each.

But, some will say, if we restrict such weapons, only criminals will have them. Such a position is willfully shortsighted. I agree that a ban today will not affect weapons on the street tomorrow. Yet if this were the discerning criteria for any law then no law would succeed. DWI laws had little effect when first passed. But over the last 30 years the societal benefit of such laws has been extraordinary. This too would be the long-term effect of gun restrictions.

As more and more weapons are removed from the criminal cycle and not readily replaced, our society would grow safer. But, as some will say, restrictions did not prevent the slayings in Columbine or Norway. Ergo restrictions don't work, right? Wrong. Anecdotal evidence that some violence will continue to be unpreventable does not mean that we shouldn't prevent what violence we can. Gun violence in Norway remains extremely rare. And as a result of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, innocent gun deaths in America went down over time. Since these restrictions were dismantled, overall innocent victimhood has risen.


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William Dowling lives in Locust Grove.