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John McCain Just Doesn't Get It - II

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As much as I wanted to spread my "... just doesn't get it" series around, for the first time I'm doing a repeat. After what I just read this morning, I truly believe that John McCain just doesn't get it on so many levels.

The article I read this morning, following the worst massacre in American history, was picked up by The Huffington Post from the AP wire. In this article John McCain reiterates how he supports the Second Amendment and remains against gun control:

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and I believe the Second Amendment ought to be preserved _ which means no gun control," McCain said.
The right-wing of this country have been quoting the Second Amendment verbatim and insisting that there be no infringement on the right to bear arms. After all, that's what the amendment says:
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.



A Conflicted Constitution

Here's the problem. While the Constitution spells out the crux of our laws in so many words, in so many cases there are variances to the interpretations of the law's intent. And, in so many cases there are implicit or explicit conflicts in the laws and precedents. The founders & framers knew this would happen and thus created the Judicial branch of government. Their charge is solely to interpret the laws and resolve these conflicts.

That said, I want to bring your attention to the preamble of the Constitution, which in this case I believe is quite significant:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The key phrases here are "... insure domestic Tranquility..." and "... promote the general Welfare...". In my opinion these two phrases, directly out of the preamble of the Constitution, are a significant conflict to the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".

Clearly we cannot allow ALL of the people in this country to bear arms, and anyone who thinks as much is diluting themselves. Would you truly believe that a 12-year-old gang member from inner-city USA should be entitled (has the right) to purchase any gun he can afford to purchase? Obviously not. So clearly, a line has to be drawn somewhere. And once again, as I've said so many times before, it becomes a matter of "Where do you draw the line?". In my opinion, the only significant difference between gun control OPponents and gun control PROponents is where to draw that line.

Here's my premise

Since I'm not an expert on gun laws or even guns in general, I wouldn't begin to debate the intricacies of said regulations. However, as an American citizen concerned with the sanctity of our domestic tranquility and general welfare, I have my opinions:
  • The right to bear arms MUST be reserved (i.e. regulated) to responsible people, not all the people.
  • Responsible hunters should be able to enjoy their sport. However, although there's a gray-area regarding the dimensions and specifications of the rifles, I think there needs to be some control on these weapons. We have to draw the line somewhere between rifles used for sport, and assault weapons used for high-volume killing of people. Let's face it - you don't need an Uzi to hunt quail.
  • Given that only responsible people should be allowed to bear arms, it follows that said right should entail a license, a background check, and a short waiting period.

So, if you're a responsible adult, without a criminal record, you should be able to apply for a gun license, shop for a gun, and receive it after waiting for 7 days. And, if you're a hunter, you should be able to purchase a rifle appropriate for hunting.... the prey you're trying to hunt, that is. I believe that's a fair compromise between the "right to bear arms" and "insuring domestic Tranquility/promoting the general welfare".

And Senator McCain, stop pandering to the right-wing base and hiding behind the verbatim of the Second Amendment. If you were any kind of serious presidential candidate, you'd be looking out for "the general welfare" of the American people.

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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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