Since the soul-shaking murder of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago, thousands of articles have been written calling for increased federal control over the right of an individual to own a gun. Such proposals are perhaps an expected though ineffectual and unconstitutional reaction to an event so horrific and inexplicable.
Of course, the right to “bear arms” is explicitly protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution and should not be subject to arbitrary and knee-jerk abridgment by those who wrongly believe that limiting access to weapons would effect a proportional decrease in violent crime.
There are many who insist that safety at school, specifically, and at home, generally, would increase were we to impose tighter restrictions on the ability to obtain firearms.
For example, in his statement following the rampage in Newtown, President Obama hinted that such stricter proposals will be forthcoming:
Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.
Many observers are right to worry that those changes will include infringements on the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms. And while gun ownership and the unalienable right thereto is at the core of the Second Amendment, the protection provided before the right to bear arms is equally important to the maintenance of liberty and the safety of the people.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State … shall not be infringed.”
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