Further on gun deaths: the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is often cited as the legal basis for Americans owning guns. I have written before in this blog that I believe we are misinterpreting the intent of the framers of our Constitution when we conclude that the Second Amendment allows complete freedom for our citizens to own guns. Here are the actual words of the Amendment:
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.
The justification for freedom to own firearms, in other words, is so that people can form militias. The definition of “militia,” according to Oxford languages, is “a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.” An unstated implication is that the militia might oppose the nation’s armed forces. The citizens, in other words, are free to arm themselves in opposition to the government if that government becomes autocratic.
My sense is that interpretation of the Second Amendment to mean that we permit unlimited gun ownership by citizens is erroneous. That we interpret the Amendment that way makes us a pariah nation—the only modern democracy that permits unfettered gun ownership that results in nearly 50,000 deaths per year.
It’s time to reinterpret the Second Amendment or, better yet, to repeal it. Then the U.S. can join the civilized world that limits gun deaths.