Letter: Gun ownership principle sticks

The response by students to the Florida shooting shows they’ve swallowed the wrong ideas about gun control.

The amendment about “bearing arms” says people can’t be prevented from owning a gun: the founders didn’t know, of course, that the modern equivalent of the flintlock would be a tank or aircraft carrier. A flintlock may be, in a sense, a toy now but at that time it was the most dangerous weapon known to humanity. Of course, aircraft carriers and tanks didn’t exist yet, but the founders intention was to endure the risk of putting dangerous weapons in the hands of everyone, depending on people to use them responsibly. At the time, the most dangerous weapon around was a flintlock. Now it’s a hydrogen bomb. But the principle hasn’t changed.

The solution was not to eliminate weapons, but to encourage people to be responsible.They knew that the potential evil of letting (even encouraging) gun ownership allowed us to prevail against the British.

We’re seeing an evil now of irresponsible people using guns for bad purposes. It’s an evil the founders probably knew might happen, but they took the risk anyway. They might have foreseen that eliminating guns is impossible, just as eliminating any other dangerous thing that can be used as a weapon is impossible, and the more tractable problem, (although still a big one) is teaching people to be responsible.

These high school students are using their brief moment in the spotlight to recommend a solution that won’t work. Yes, their sincerity might be genuine. But marching “against” gun violence is about as effective as signing a petition against gravity. It would be more useful to address the reasons certain folks become violent in the first place.

Gavin McKinley


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