For some time now, I have been thinking about the need for the Second Amendment, which reads: “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.” This was added to the Constitution in 1791, when our country was young and relatively weak, from a military perspective. In 2018, is the need to maintain a militia still necessary?

Worldwide, three countries provide a right to own and bear guns, the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. Mexico and Guatemala include restrictions on gun types and/or the amount and type of ammunition. The U.S. Congress has only initiated weak gun and ammunition ownership restrictions.

Does the Second Amendment impede thoughtful conversations leading to reasonable gun control legislation? Perhaps it is time to examine the need for the Second Amendment. Does the U.S. with its strong military need a “well regulated militia”? Would it be better to look at gun ownership as we do with other activities, such as driving a car, fishing, hunting, etc. These activities are considered privileges, not rights. There are well-thought-out regulations about how one qualifies for a license for these activities with provisions that limit the privilege associated with these activities. As a privileged activity, changing the regulations, based on changing times and needs, is easier than changing a constitutional amendment. In these activities, law-abiding people have restrictions imposed upon them in order to decrease the destruction of personal property, natural resources and human lives, but the activities themselves are not banned, just as gun ownership should not be banned.

I am no Pollyanna and fully understand that the Second Amendment will likely not be repealed or amended in my lifetime. However, perhaps a meaningful discussion about such a possibility could lead to common-sense change in gun control regulations.

Bob Ellis


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