- Posted January 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Senators Murray & Cantwell,
Like the majority of Americans, I am heartsick and saddened of the tragic events of December. The shooting at the Clackamas Town Center Mall near Portland, Oregon and at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut were senseless acts that should never have been allowed to take place. These events, and the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado highlight a growing trend in our society; the trend of violence towards innocent people committed by those who are mentally disturbed. I am not talking about gun violence alone as the gun is just the tool used. I am talking about violence in as a whole.
Our society has a violence problem, not a gun problem. I will not say that there is any one thing that is to blame for violent outburst; that would be naive. There are many contributing factors that can contribute to violent tendencies. Not least of which could be the mental health of an individual, however this is an area that many are afraid to explore. I bring this up as all of the last three murderers are believed to be mentally disturbed, though they were never formally diagnosed. This is where the real problem lies, not in the availability of firearms to the people.
Another concerning trend that I am observing is the push for further gun control measures. Restrictions are being proposed that would severely limit the law-abiding citizen’s ability to defend themselves. Everything from restricting the size of the magazine that specific firearms can accept to outright banning all semi-automatic firearms has been mentioned. These measures will solve nothing.
While I can fully understand the knee-jerk reaction that people will have whenever a tragedy such as Sandy Hook occurs, further restricting firearms will do nothing to curb the violence problem that our nation faces. More laws do not mean a safer environment for the people. Criminals do not follow laws have been enacted. Chicago is a prime example as they have some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books, yet their crime rate is the highest in the country (specifically firearms related murders). England and Australia both have higher crime rates than the U.S. and the population there is unarmed.
Gun control does not address the core issue of violence; it just addresses one symptom of it. We must look beyond the tool of the violence and look at the root cause and at the mental health of the offender. Looking at the easy solution to placate those who are afraid is not a remedy but a band-aid that will eventually fall short of the desired outcome.
The President, Senator Feinstein and Senator Reid are all looking to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens because they are only looking at the apparent easy solution. These same people are also looking to railroad their solution through without allowing the legislative process to work. Any legislation should be carefully examined and thoroughly debated with objective facts in hand as it is outlined in the Constitution.
I will agree that fully automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and shoulder-fired rockets should not be available to the general public. I also agree that anyone wishing to purchase a firearm should have a background check completed, which is done through dealers in all 50 states. But I do not agree with banning a common firearm because of its appearance or its semi-automatic (one shot for each pull of the trigger) or magazine capabilities. This would be an infringement on the Second Amendment and therefore unlawful (see Merriam-Webster definition of infringement). Nor do I agree with gun owner registration, as this would be tantamount to treating lawful citizens as criminals by simply owning a firearm. This is to me an infringement on our right to privacy and a further exertion of governmental control.
History has many examples of what happens when governments restrict the rights of the people. In Nazi, Germany the citizen’s rights were first restricted and then outright taken away. People were forced surrender their firearms and these people were then imprisoned and killed. The former Soviet Union was extremely oppressive and the government controlled all aspects of a person’s life. A soviet citizen was not a free person. A more recent example is modern day Venezuela where the citizens under Chavez are losing their ability to be human beings as their freedoms are increasingly limited. I fear that our own country is going down this same path at a very fast pace.
Like you, I have taken an oath to “… protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” six times in my military career. Like you, my duty is the protection of the rights of all American citizens. I am furthermore held to the standard to follow all lawful and moral orders as may be given to me under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I am also obligated to question and refuse to comply with orders that are unlawful and/or immoral. Any legislation that restricts specific rights of the American citizen is by its nature unconstitutional, unlawful and is in direct violation of the oath you have sworn.
Don’t enact new laws; enforce what we have. Don’t ignore the larger issue of mental health and violence but deal with them. Don’t let emotion rule your thoughts, but examine the facts objectively. Do your duty and protect the rights of those that you serve; don’t take them away even more.