LETTER OF THE DAY

Armed police in Las Vegas after the shootings

Tragically, yet again we have another mass shooting in the United States with absolutely staggering numbers of victims involved at the hands of one man with access to, and the willingness to use, automatic weapons. At the time of writing this letter there were more than 500 people hospitalised and 59 people dead…incredible.

And still we have the gun lobby arguing it is the absolute right under the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution for the people to bear arms if they so choose.

The argument of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is it takes a good man with a gun to stop a bad man with a gun, therefore they totally miss the obvious in that the best way to stop a bad man with a gun is to prevent him obtaining one in the first place.

We know people in the US are fearful of having their weapons taken away because too many of the bad guys are armed so they feel vulnerable. This I can understand, but the long process of disarmament should begin now to remove guns completely from society, starting with the supply chain and a ban on the manufacture of automatic weapons for sale to civilians.

There should be an immediate ban on the sale of military grade weapons and, crucially, the high velocity ammunition that goes with them, to the general public, coupled with their removal from trade fairs and gun shops.

There is no good reason, or valid argument, as to why weapons that allow one man, or even one woman, to inflict such high numbers of injuries and fatalities should be on sale to the public. They are even available for purchase in US supermarkets for heaven’s sake, a case of don’t forget to pick me up a new AK47 with the milk please honey. Oh, and while you’re at it don’t forget a couple of hundred rounds of ammunition too please. Crazy.

So let’s try and make some sense of the 2nd Amendment, something that has been wilfully misinterpreted by the gun lobby.

The exact wording of the 2nd Amendment reads thus:

‘A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.’

This makes so much more sense and I believe it’s what they intended it to mean when it was written, if you simply add the word ‘because’ at the beginning and replacing the word ‘being’ with the word ‘is’.

Therefore, if and when called upon to form a ‘well-regulated militia’ to defend the free state, it would be preferable if the citizenry actually turned up already armed, right (cheaper too)?

So in order to assemble at short notice an ‘armed’ and well-trained militia, we have the words ‘the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed’.

Clearly it’s badly-worded, but it was 1791 and before the US Army and the National Guard were formed, with the latter being civilian volunteers described in the 2nd Amendment as a ‘well-trained militia’.

So it’s of little doubt that the founding fathers and authors of the United States Constitution simply intended to have in place an armed quick reaction force to defend their budding nation.

Initially this could only be raised by recruiting ordinary people to form a militia, but it’s a dead certainty that if they were around today the founding fathers would amend the constitution because they would quickly realise instead of firing off one musket ball every minute or two, those same people whose right to bear arms shall not be infringed now have access to weapons that can fire off 800-plus shots per minute and their free state doesn’t really need defending against a bunch of children, or a gathering of country music fans.

T Gardiner

Carisbrooke Road

Gosport

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