The Dark Knight Rises: The Tragedy in Aurora Colorado and our Legitimate Second Amendment Rights

By Jim Donahue

Immediately following the tragic events in Aurora, Colorado, the decades long ongoing debate about gun control, the NRA, and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America has been brought to the fore once again. As it should be.

When something of this nature happens, i.e. mass killings, or any other pertinent issue as well, all peoples want to re-examine and postulate on the who, what, where’s, and why for’s of the situation. Again, as it should be.

Open dialogue and discussion are hallmarks of our great country. And gun control advocates always call for more regulation on gun purchases. And the NRA and it’s advocates reply with their stock in trade answer: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Or if you prefer, “You can have my gun when you pry it out of my cold dead hand.” Both very old arguments and some say, tired as well.

So let us re-examine the Second Amendment a bit. There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, and here are the choices as published by Wikipedia:

As passed by the Congress: 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.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State: 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.

The only difference that I see are punctuation marks, and capital letters. When this amendment was drafted, the Founding Fathers were trying to prevent our new country from becoming like England, where the rights of the state came before the rights of the people, at all times.

However, this amendments language has morphed, and has been paraphrased by many to say only, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The complete statement obviously has been taken out of context just a little bit, but supporters would say, the end justifies the means.

Let us discuss for a minute concealed carry permits and armed citizens with legal handguns. Several times in recent history a person with a legal handgun has thwarted a would-be mass murderer by using his weapon, and gun control opponents would say, exercising his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And here are some examples.

At the 2002 Appalachian Law school shooting, two students retrieved guns from their cars and got the shooter to drop his gun, although it is not known whether he had planned to shoot anyone else.

In 1997 at the Pearl Mississippi shooting, the vice principal retrieved his gun from his car and detained the shooter who had planned to drive to a middle school and start shooting people there.

In Edinboro, Pennsylvania, a armed man stopped a 14 year old shooter who had stopped to reload, after shooting 4 people at a school dance.

At the Trolley Square shootings, an off duty cop pinned the shooter down, until a SWAT team arrived and shot him.

At a Santa Clara shooting range, a gunman was shot by an armed customer after he had taken three employees hostage and said he was going to kill them.

If you haven’t heard about these instances of civilian heroics, it’s probably because the local and state governments involved don’t want all manners of people going out and getting a concealed carry permit, as to prevent a potential re-enactment of Buffalo Bills Wild West Show over a perceived lack of respect, or some other foolish reasoning.

The Trayvon Martin case comes to mind. If Trayvon Martin had had a weapon on his person on that fateful day, the outcome would have been quite different.

If the weapon was carried out in the open, as is perfectly legal here in Nevada, without a concealed carry permit, George Zimmerman may not have confronted Trayvon Martin, perhaps only monitoring him until the police arrived, as he was told to do by a police dispatcher. And no one would be dead.

If Travon Martin had a concealed carry permit, and was confronted by George Zimmerman, George Zimmerman might now be the deceased one, and Trayvon Martin might be charged with manslaughter or worse.

Or maybe they both would have drawn their respective weapons, created a standoff, and no one would have been shot and killed. Or maybe both would be dead. Hindsight is 20/20.

None of this detracts from gun control opponents or proponents arguments, and actually strengthens both sides views.

There have been no politicians in the last 50 years or so, in an election year, who would dare to speak out against the NRA and advocate for gun control, unless they held what you might call a “safe” congressional seat and had no fear of being voted out of office for a statement against the NRA.

So don’t expect anything to change anytime soon, but do expect lots and lots of dialogue on the subject, until something else happens and pushes this event off of the front page. A war with Syria comes to mind.

The only thing for certain is the free exchange of opposing ideas, and the ability to agree to disagree without hate.

This is but one of the things that makes America great.

God bless America.

To read my article on the healing process, click this link.

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