The Madness of Gun Ownership
by: Dave & Nita Anand
We all have heard the expression that time is a great healer. But what we have not heard too often is that it also attenuates the impact of the event as time goes by. The Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech and Columbine horrors have faded and with the passage of time and the memory of Newtown, Conn., massacre – caused by a military-style killing machine -- will also decay for the event to become just one more carnage marker on the highway of mass murders. The tragic episode played out in Sandy Hook Elementary School proved once more that, under the veil of “citizen protection,” guns are killing Americans, including young children, and that big guns kill big time.
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the right to bear arms made sense because the country was very violent and had little or no protection by law enforcement agencies compared to what we have today. It is laughable that we have the over 200 year old law governing the personal safety of Americans in the 21st century, when the citizenry is being protected by the most powerful law enforcement in
the history of civilization.
In the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment to the Constitution reads: “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.”
In Federalist Paper 46, James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, addressed the prevalent concern that a standing federal army might carry out a coup to take over the nation and so he found a way to counter that situation by having militia bear arms. Some federal courts have ruled that the Second Amendment does not apply to individual citizens of the United States but only to members of militias, which, they assert, are now the state National Guard units; few people will have problem with that.
And not in 1,000 years can the United States have a coup the way it is structured politically, militarily and legally these days. Should there be one, even the millions of assault weapons will prove little (or nothing) in front of the might of the military to stop that coup, in which case – the current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta or his second in command General Martin E. Dempsey would take over as President like Pervez Musharraf did in Pakistan back in 2001.
Americans are submerged in guns, when one is too many. Private citizens are estimated to own between 250 million and 300 million guns; roughly 16 million Americans buy firearms every year or 44,000 guns per day. About 40 percent of U.S. households possess one or more weapons that 23.9 percent of the time, are used on the owner, by family members, friends or someone else (as per a study by Dr. Arthur Kellermann in 1993).
Unfortunately, that many guns are not flowers; they are evil in nature as is the mind that goes for them instead of flowers, which exude freshness, love, peace and happiness because that is the essence of flowers. The more we manufacture and acquire these devilish machines, the more wickedness we add to the already cumulative evil from 300 million guns.
Turns out the mother of the Newtown shooter, trying to develop a feeling of safety by owning half a dozen weapons, instead, nurtured an attitude of violence in and around the house, and beyond. Easy access of guns helped in sparking the mayhem at the mother’s house followed by the Sandy Hook Elementary School carnage.
On the other hand, a decision to not own guns helps in promoting an attitude of pacifism and non-violence. The Second Amendment affords marginal value for personal safety today in light of our very strong law enforcement and instead, it is encouraging unimaginable hyper-violence. Safety from not bearing arms is a better way when the need today is for more pacifism and the fruits of non-violence rather than the gun toting of the frontier days.
One only has to look to Mahatma Gandhi for the perfect example of the power of non-violence. His non-violence approach was able to defeat the powerful and lethally armed Great Britain without firing a shot. Britain’s power was helpless against the potency of pacifism.
We don’t own a gun and will not own one, making us an easy target, like those 20 little kids (now angels). We wish we could replace two of them.
What to Do?
We like the idea of Nancy Pelosi, the current minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, who once said: "If I had my way, sporting guns would be strictly regulated, the rest would be confiscated."
Now that gun ownership has become intrinsic to America’s culture, outright banning of all firearms would be an unthinkable law to pass in Congress, even if our powerful law enforcement is quite capable of search and confiscation of all the 300 million guns, should it come to that. However, we can take a slight solace in that the Second Amendment does not vest rights in anyone, including militia,
to build an arsenal of military grade weapons.
Banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips with more than 10 bullets each should be a no brainer. Other worthwhile measures to consider include: limitation on total purchase of bullets and guns (maximum of two guns), gun buybacks with cash incentives, restrictions on gun show and Internet sales, as well as requirements for more reliable background checks with screening of prospective gun buyers for criminal and mental-health records.
The success of Australia’s recent buyback program is worth examining. Their government bought and eliminated 700,000 guns between 1996 and 1998, when in 1996 they created “The National Firearms Agreement,” to ban and compulsorily buyback the outlawed weapons as a result of the senseless killing of 35 Australians at a resort in Tasmania. According to Journal of Law and Economics,
Australia has seen a 59 percent reduction in homicides, 74 percent reduction in suicides since 1996, and there has been no gun massacre since then.
Surely, America can do better by raising the ante. We should establish a $150 billion fund to buyback all of 300 million guns at $500 apiece, at the same time, strictly controlling and curtailing the purchase of new guns. Should our buyback policy succeed, it will be a small price for enhancing the safety of all citizens, including the vulnerable young children.
More importantly, the nation will be re-designed from square one in this respect, as James Madison did in the early 19th century. And we will be “Reset” to see the fruits of pacifism and non-violence that have eluded Americans for too long.
Dave and Nita Anand hail from peace loving India and do not own any guns and nor will they – EVER