Sanctity Of Life And The Second Amendment

Gun Rights

Current gun laws are ineffective in an America where people are murdered every day.

Our lives are filled with shades of gray, and oftentimes degrees of uncertainty. We go through our daily activities knowing that things are subject to unpredictable changes, therefore we must be flexible and adapt to the circumstances.

Yet, through all of these compromises and adjustments, somehow, we get by. However, there are groups of people who are inflexible with regard to change.

The Second Amendment, pro-gun advocates do not see things in gray tones but instead in precise terms of black and white, right or wrong, good or bad, true or false. They are incapable, or refuse to accept change in spite of proven remedies to reduce gun violence.

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There are no in-betweens, even in light of deaths in mass shootings, domestic violence cases, accidental deaths, and other preventable related incidents.

Pro-gun advocates believe it’s their right to “bear arms” which shall not be infringed upon at all cost — therefore, there is no acceptable middle ground.

So, what do we do, and exactly what does the sanctity of life mean in a modern civilized society where nothing changes, and murderous deaths continue unabated?

In a 2018 Community Voice, “The Second Amendment Is A Blight On Modern US Civilization,” reasons were explored and explained why, the significance of, and need to repeal the Second Amendment as expeditiously as possible.

Flowers and balloons have been placed near the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Va. A Walmart manager opened fire on fellow employees in the break room of the Virginia store, killing several people in the country’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days, police and witnesses said Wednesday.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Flowers and balloons placed near the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon/2022)

Since then, there have been 3,363 additional mass shootings resulting in the deaths of 3,569 men, women, children, and the elderly. Not included in these numbers were 13,628 individuals who sustained serious life-threatening injuries.

Experts define “mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people … are shot in one location at roughly the same time.”

Statistics don’t do justice to the pain and suffering of these victims, and their loved ones. These are not just sanitized data points that can be counted nonchalantly, then set aside. These are not inanimate objects like your home, your car, or money in your bank account.

These were human lives that were snatched from us with a pull of the trigger; who were unable to protect themselves, who would not fulfill their purpose and destiny; who left behind loved ones who grieve and mourn their losses.

Among the victims were numerous children who were not given a chance to live, and their children, who would not be given a chance to be born. No Disneyland, no birthdays, no words of affection will ever flow from their lips, no gazes from doe full eyes and hugs of love will ever be felt.

These murders, these senseless and preventable atrocities must stop. But it can’t be stopped because we, as a nation refuse to stand-up and do what is necessary and right. We are incapable of saying, “enough is enough” and put a stop to this carnage.

What ‘Right’ To Bear Arms?

Pro-gun advocates continue to argue it is their right to possess firearms because the Second Amendment to our Constitution says so: “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.”

Throughout modern history, courts have wrongly interpreted those words and concluded that individuals have the right to bear arms.

Let’s be clear: Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it explicitly state that individuals have the right to bear arms. As a matter of fact, the framers of our Constitution wanted just the opposite because they understood the frailties and the darkest aspects of human nature.

It was a militia they wanted — a group of people authorized through proper vetting to bear firearms and organized in such a manner — like our National Guard — to protect this nation from tyranny; from insurrectionists.

The Second Amendment was never meant for individuals to be armed, much less allowed to open carry a handgun or AR-15 like automatic rifles with high capacity magazines.

As a result of this misinterpretation by our courts, hundreds of thousands of individuals have been murdered and injured needlessly.

Today, there are more guns in this country than men, women, and children put together.

Throughout the years, states have unsuccessfully attempted to have gun control written into their laws.  However, it is nearly impossible to argue against the Second Amendment because of our U.S. Supreme Court’s misinterpretation.

And while there has been some success with gun control such as in the state of Michigan and 21 other states that have implemented stricter domestic violence protective order statutes, also known as “red flag laws.” This law varies from state to state, but all jurisdictions authorize judges and law enforcement to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals deemed to be a risk to themselves and others.

But this is only a Band-Aid applied to a much deeper open wound. This is not the answer.

As an example, recently, and sadly, even though a temporary restraining order was effectuated, in the latter part of December 2023 Theresa Cachuela was murdered by her estranged husband, Jason Cachuela, at Pearlridge Shopping Center with the use of a firearm. He then took his own life.

Some guns were taken away from Jason, but law enforcement did not get all of them which led to this tragedy. Their child is now orphaned.

These type of common-sense laws are well intended but they don’t go far enough and are currently being challenged by the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun advocates.

In a recent Gallup Poll, 56% of Americans wanted stricter laws while 31% wanted more enforcement of current gun laws. Either way, it is obvious that 87% of all Americans are in favor of some form of gun control.

Still, many of our legislators sit on their hands while people continue to die. The majority of politicians are afraid to challenge pro gun organizations; and as such the status quo remains in place.

We Have Too Many Guns

Is more training for security personnel and law enforcement the answer? Is hardening our schools, churches, shopping centers, offices, and outdoor events the answer? When people gather in large numbers, they automatically become potential targets and subsequent victims.

The only reasonable answer to the questions above, is the unavailability of firearms.

But, even if we were to halt the production of guns going forward, it is estimated that there are already 494 million guns in the U.S., not counting ghost guns and illegal firearms. So the total count could be well over 500 million.

The United States has a population of approximately 335 million. Today, there are more guns in this country than men, women, and children put together, and there is no end in sight.

MSNBC recently reported that, in the first week of January 2024, there had been over 4,000 gun-related deaths.

The unavailability of guns is not a pie in the sky idea.  Consider Japan, where gun control laws are one of the strictest in the world. In 2018, Japan, a country of 125 million people, reported nine deaths from firearms. Compare that with 39,740 firearm deaths during the same period in the United States.

A recent study by the Office of the Maine Attorney General found that easy access to weapons, untreated mental health problems, and drug and alcohol use were substantial factors in many deadly shootings.

Case in point is the adjudication Jennifer Crumbley, who was found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to her son’s, Ethan Crumbley, school shooting at Michigan’s Oxford High School in November 2021. She didn’t pull the trigger but was negligent in not seeing the violent signs in her son that would cause a reasonable person to act — to get him mental health help.

Ethan Crumbley pleaded for help from his parents because of his constant thoughts of committing violent acts. He was ignored. Instead of getting him help in dealing with his mental-health issues, both parents decided they would buy him a gun. The same gun he used to kill four classmates: Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14.

The jury found gross negligence, reckless disregard for her son’s behavior (they purchased the gun and ignored mental health symptoms of illness), and a lax culture of gun ownership.

Still, if we use all the recommendations with regard to gun safety, will all of these measures make America safe from gun violence? The simple answer is no.

How To Repeal An Amendment

Keeping Americans safe from gun violence is a complex issue, but we must start somewhere, and that somewhere is a movement to repeal the Second Amendment.

Only once in the short history of the United States has an amendment been repealed, and that was on Dec. 5, 1933, which established prohibition of alcohol. The 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment, which now allows you to buy your beer for the Super Bowl.

Why was it repealed? Because of ineffective enforcement, crimes related to illegal trafficking of liquor, but basically it was defiance and indifference of the law. People could have cared less about compliance.

The current situation relating to the Second Amendment is not much different. Our current laws are ineffective to regulate gun control, there are illegal gun traffickers including the makers of ghost guns, and there is an utter defiance of the laws in domestic violence cases, increasing mass shootings, and gun violence overall.

So, exactly how is an amendment repealed? It’s not an easy process. It’s hard and arduous, and will take a concerted effort.

There are two ways to repeal an amendment. First is a proposed amendment to be passed by the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate with two-thirds majority votes. Then, the proposed amendment would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The second method is through a Constitutional Convention.”

It appears that a can of beer takes precedence over a human life, because Americans are not willing to even attempt to make changes, but even worse than that, we are unwilling to make everyones’ life safer with stronger gun control laws.

But there is hope, even if these steps are small.

In a recent ruling on Feb. 8 our Hawaii Supreme Court stated that “a person can be prosecuted for carrying a gun in public without a permit.”

The carnage continues until we finally take a stand to stop this madness.

Associate Justice Todd Eddins had it exactly right when he said, “The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities; that the culture from the founding of the country shouldn’t dictate contemporary life.”

Eddins also explained that under the Hawaii Constitution, “there is no individual right to carry a firearm in public.”

Still, the Hawaii Public Defender’s Office said they are “taking stock of our options, including seeking review from the U.S. Supreme Court; [t]he ruling reflects a culture in Hawaii that’s very resistant to change.”

Oral arguments are scheduled for April in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

While I support and agree wholeheartedly with Justice Eddins, I’m afraid this decision will be reversed on appeal because of continued misinterpretations by our federal courts.

And so, the carnage continues until we finally take a stand to stop this madness. And if you want to hear what dead victims of mass shootings have to say about gun violence, go to theshotline.org.

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