Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gun control and the presidential candidates

Gun control is at times a hot subject in politics, but it is taking a back seat in this Presidential race.  Obama has not taken a direct and strong stand on the issue and Romney has stated that he is a strong supporter of gun rights.  But, the issue has not risen to the top even when we had a couple of big events that have come up in the last few months.

There is no doubt that the Constitution has guaranteed the right for individuals to own and carry guns.  That is true if you believe the document insured that right in a limited way through regulate state militias, or, in the most extreme unlimited way of packing heat anytime, anywhere.  A reading of the Federalist Papers and the documents collected on the debates of the Constitution do not provide any more clarity.  But, one thing is for sure, guns were a part of the frontier life of individuals at the time of the signing of the Constitution.

But, there is another thing for sure.  The Second Amendment, or any of the other amendments for that matter, where not intended to be absolute.  There are reasonable and narrow limits on all the other rights, why should the most volatile of the rights be absolute? 

The Constitution was established for many reasons, but one of the most pressing at the time was that the Articles of Confederation were not working and was not protecting people.  The leadership at the time gathered together in an effort to fix the Articles of Confederation.  But, they found it was best to create a new government.  In the new document that outlined the process of making laws, the Constitution, there were no rights guaranteed.  It was felt that if the government went too far in restricting rights to provide for the safety of the community, the elected officials would be voted out of office and the restrictions would be drawn back.  (This is the reason many at the time believed that voting was more important than all the other rights that could be listed on a piece of paper.) This process created a balance between the freedoms that individuals can practice and the responsibility of the government to protect people.

But, there is a Bill of Rights and all the amendments that have followed over the last two and half centuries.  Also, many rights that are not numerated in the amendments have been carved out to protect an individual’s rights.  These rights, numerated and un-numerated, were added to the Constitution as a base line to guide the legislature, executive and judicial branches not as a proverbial line in the sand. 

There is no argument that can be made, based on the above, that means the ownership, use and possession of guns cannot be limited as long as there is a clear and present danger if action is not taken. 

As stated in the opening, Obama has not taken a direct and strong stand on gun control and Romney made statements in support of gun rights.  Obama having not made a clear statement about his position on gun rights, at the very least, suggests he is in support of reasonable gun control.  Romney, having made his clear statement about the issue, suggests that he is not for reasonable control of guns. 

The Responsible Community supports reasonable gun controls.  The current president, Barack Obama, receives the Responsible Community’s endorsement on this hot issue.

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