The 2nd Amendment and Killing Kids

Exclusive: As Americans reel in shock over the slaughter of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, defenders of “gun rights” insist, in effect, that such deaths are part of the price of “liberty” enshrined by the Framers in the Second Amendment. But this was not what James Madison had in mind, argues Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The American Right is fond of putting itself inside the minds of America’s Founders and intuiting what was their “original intent” in writing the U.S. Constitution and its early additions, like the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” But, surely, James Madison and the others weren’t envisioning people with modern weapons mowing down children in a movie theater or a shopping mall or now a kindergarten.

Indeed, when the Second Amendment was passed in the First Congress as part of the Bill of Rights, firearms were single-shot mechanisms that took time to load and reload. It was also clear that Madison and the others viewed the “right to bear arms” in the context of “a well-regulated militia” to defend communities from massacres, not as a means to enable such massacres.

James Madison, architect of the U.S. Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights.

The Second Amendment 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.” Thus, the point of the Second Amendment is to ensure “security,” not undermine it.

The massacre of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, which followed other gun massacres in towns and cities across the country, represents the opposite of “security.” And it is time that Americans of all political persuasions recognize that protecting this kind of mass killing was not what the Founders had in mind.

However, over the past several decades, self-interested right-wing “scholarship” has sought to reinvent the Framers as free-market, government-hating ideologues, though the key authors of the U.S. Constitution – people like James Madison and George Washington – could best be described as pragmatic nationalists who favored effective governance.

In 1787, led by Madison and Washington, the Constitutional Convention scrapped the Articles of Confederation, which had enshrined the states as “sovereign” and had made the federal government a “league of friendship” with few powers.

What happened behind closed doors in Philadelphia was a reversal of the system that governed the United States from 1777 to 1787. The laws of the federal government were made supreme and its powers were dramatically strengthened, so much so that a movement of Anti-Federalists fought bitterly to block ratification.

In the political maneuvering to assure approval of the new system, Madison and other Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights to ease some of the fears about what Anti-Federalists regarded as the unbridled powers of the central government. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

Madison had considered a Bill of Rights unnecessary because the Constitution, like all constitutions, set limits on the government’s power and it contained no provisions allowing the government to infringe on basic liberties of the people. But he assented to spell out those rights in the first 10 amendments, which were passed by the First Congress and ratified in 1791.

The intent of the Second Amendment was clarified during the Second Congress when the U.S. government enacted the Militia Acts, which mandated that all white males of military age obtain a musket, shot and other equipment for service in militias.

The idea was to enable the young country to resist aggression from European powers, to confront Native American tribes on the frontier and to put down internal rebellions, including slave revolts. There was nothing particularly idealistic in this provision; the goal was the “security” of the young nation.

However, the modern American Right and today’s arms industry have devoted enormous resources to twisting the Framers into extremist ideologues who put “liberties” like individual gun ownership ahead of all practical concerns about “security.”

This propaganda has proved so successful that many politicians who favor common-sense gun control are deemed violators of the Framers’ original intent, as essentially un-American, and face defeat in elections. The current right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court has even overturned longstanding precedents and reinterpreted the Second Amendment as granting rights of individual gun ownership.

But does anyone really believe that Madison and like-minded Framers would have stood by and let deranged killers mow down civilians, including children, by using guns vastly more lethal than any that existed in the Revolutionary era? If someone had wielded a single-shot musket or pistol in 1791, the person might get off one volley but would then have to reload. No one had repeat-firing revolvers, let alone assault rifles with large magazines of bullets.

Any serious scholarship on the Framers would conclude that they were, first and foremost, pragmatists determined to protect the hard-won independence of the United States. When the states’-rights Articles of Confederation wasn’t doing the job, they scrapped it. When compromises were needed – even on the vile practice of slavery – the Framers cut the deals.

While the Framers cared about liberty (at least for white men), they focused in the Constitution on practicality, creating a flexible system that would advance the “general Welfare” of “We the People.”

It is madness to think that the Framers would have mutely accepted the slaughter of kindergarteners and grade-school kids (or the thousands of other American victims of gun violence). Such bloody insecurity was definitely not their “original intent.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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100 comments on “The 2nd Amendment and Killing Kids

  1. THANK YOU! I was just saying yesterday on my Facebook page that discussions on gun control needed to keep in mind the fact that “gun” in the 18th Century meant “single shot musket that takes time to reload”, and that modern firearms would basically be the WMD’s of the era.

    • Simeon Nevel on said:

      What you say is true…

      But in the 18th Century the press meant a hand cranked monstrosity. Should the 1st Amendment not apply to television, radio, telephones, cell phones and the internet just because they didn’t exist in the late 1700s?

      • rachelle on said:

        well, my phone, nor my television, nor the internet or radio has killed a single person, on purpose….. when that happens then yes we should review the 1st ammendment as well

        • Earl Lee sSwagger on said:

          A man in New York killed his wife when he dropped a
          TV on her.

        • Actually, the internet and the press has killed many people. The Youtube video depicting the Prophet in a negative has led to many people dying. . . there goes your defense . . . haha!

        • No gun has ever killed anyone….the person using it did the killing!

          • Archie1954 on said:

            Unfortunately you can’t tell that to the guy who was shot tod eath by his dog stepping on a gun left on the couch or to the dead child who just happened to kick the loaded gun while drinking his formula. You are reciting foolish, discredited ideological propaganda that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

          • Ron1956 on said:

            Archie1954, you are an idiot. People loaded those guns. People left those guns where accidents could happen. No gun, nothing for a dog to step on. No gun, nothing for a child to kick.
            No dog has ever picked up a gun and mowed down school children. No child drinking his formula has ever picked up a gun walked to the nearest school and mowed down children.
            You are the one who needs to join the real world and learn that people with guns kill people, people without guns have a much harder time killing people.

      • It is completely simplistic, not to mention that it’s a self-serving distraction, to equate technology and free speech issues with gun restrictions. This kind of “reasoning” is similar to the fear-mongering position that legalizing gay marriage will lead to all kinds of other unions such as bestial or incestuous marriages. Or the oft-repeated notion that any restrictions on guns will inevitably lead to a ban on all guns. None of these ‘worst-case scenarios’ inevitably follow from restricting guns or giving gay marriages legal standing, unless “we the people” decide they should.

        • “This kind of “reasoning” is similar to the fear-mongering position that legalizing gay marriage will lead to all kinds of other unions such as bestial or incestuous marriages.”

          Do you oppose these “other unions”? If so, why?

      • Do tell, please…how many masses of innocent children has your TV, radio, or internet left in bloody puddles lately?

      • Benjamin on said:

        Yea but in the 1700s’, the founding fathers never envisioned the modern technology that could have led to such massive “pro gun propaganda” that could lead people to think guns are good even though they are killing people every day! For the sake of the children, we had better get rid of the right wings ability to use mass media to “propagandize” everyone’s heads and get our nation to believe they need more guns around. BAN THE PRESS! Save the kids, and by the way, spoons make me fat.

    • Well, this guy is truly an idiot. Connecticut has the 4th highest gun control laws in the country. That school and all schools should have an armed guard period. If there were no guns than what would have stopped the guy from making a couple of home made bombs and blowing the place half to bits. I know common sense is something the anti gun crowd cannot grasp and quite frankly fears it but for the love of god, wake the **** up. As for modern firearms vs. what was available back than once again use some common sense. Criminals have access to this advanced weaponry that you speak of so than it clearly makes sense that so should the law abiding citizens. A one shot musket vs. a “CRIMINAL” with an illegal automatic weapon seems pretty stupid don’t ya think. Criminals don’t care about laws remember that.

      • Last I heard, this kid wasn’t a criminal, until he chose to become one, by grabbing his mommy’s guns and blasting away at innocent children. So, do tell, how many children would’ve been killed, had he had access to only single-shot, muzzle-loaded muskets?

    • And so you would prefer a single shot musket to protect your family from criminals with access to fully automatic weapons? Or is that what 911 is for? Instances like hurricane Katrina illustrate how government is not always going to be there for you. Although a comment on some internet site will not change your mind perhaps you will step back and think about the idea that maybe your government is not infallible and that you should trust yourself more than your governement.

      • Instances like Katrina show that, if we allow republiCONs to control the government, the government will not be there for us. It does NOT show that we don’t need severe, draconian, immediate restrictions on firearms in this country, however.

        • Emmitt Speights on said:

          If you can control the nuts and fanatics that pay no attention to any laws guns would not be a problem
          try to keep cars away from the drunks same principal

    • moss2125 on said:

      Here’s a question for you all, what happens if they do ban guns? 1. Yea!! you took guns away from law abiding citizens, now what oh thats right the criminals still have them because most of them have illegally obtained them so no record of them owning guns, crime rate goes up violent and non-violent. Funny thing is you only ever read about the bad things that happen with guns, you never hear about the store that was being held up at gun point and a LAW ABIDING CCW citizen helped to prevent it or stop it all together. The amount of peoples homes burglarized and potential harm to the individuals living there, but the criminal was caught because of a home owner being a gun owner. Now if that criminal wasn’t caught then he/she goes on to rob/harm countless homes/people after that. 2. Take guns away and this country will go up in arms and would more then likely go into a full blown civil war, with a vast majority of service men/women being gun owners you really think they are going to fight for something like that. 3. One of the reasons Japan didn’t invade after Pearl Harbor is because they thought every American Home had a gun in there possession which drastically improves our homeland defenses. Technology has vastly improved but if guns were banned and another country did manage to infiltrate us well there goes about 100 million armed citizens who are no longer able to defend themselves.
      What most narrow minded individuals don’t think about since all they are wanting to do is use events like this to push there agenda which is gun control is that guns are not the only way to kill people, you can find out how to make a bomb out of everyday items just about anywhere, yea you may get flagged but if your intent is to harm people then do you really think that anyone is going to care about getting flagged. Whats next are they going to outlaw fertilizer and the internet. Start looking for a solution to the problem and guns aren’t the problem is uninformed, immature, stupid people who don’t know how to properly control there guns. If you own a gun especially if you have kids or a mentally handicapped person living with you or frequently vistiting you should be required by law to also own a safe of some sort. Keep your guns locked up. The owner of these guns used in these situations should just as much be held responsible. Don’t punish all of us law abiding safety conscious people our right to protect ourselves and enjoy our hobby. Gun control isn’t the answer, if you take a close look at past gun bans in certain cities that gun control caused a decrease in crime rate for a short time and then it shot up higher then ever before previous to the ban.

  2. Ronald G. Crowe on said:

    Although the right-wing Supreme Court has apparently ignored the dependent phrase in the Second Amendment, it inextricably ties a “well-regulated militia…” to the right of people to keep and bear arms. When this is read honestly, the phrase cannot be ignored. If the right to keep and bear arms is tied to the context of a well-regulated militia, the Constitution does not confer an undeniable right to everyone to bear arms. For example, would a mentally disturbed person (like our last three mass murderers)likely be sought for membership in a militia?

    In addition, our one-time militias of the 18th and 19th centuries have been replaced by the National Guard, the Army (Air Force, Navy and Marine) Reserves, plus a huge standing army. So what does the changed situation do to the Second Amendment?

    Of course, it needs revisiting, but given the Rights hysteria over gun ownership, I don’t see that happening.

    • sweethome on said:

      Yes we have standing armed forces, which are being downsized every day. If china which has a standing army of over 3 million were to attempt to invade the U.S. Gov’t has approximately 20 million gun owners to call on the majority with military experience.

    • getoveritnow2013 on said:

      If we could institute changes that would return us to the level of gun violence in the 1960′s and allow the same 2nd amendment protections now as you had then, would you? If not, why would you be against this. Oh, I know, they’re out to get you, whomever your “they” is.

      Sorry, I don’t have a “they.” Actually, I do and its extremists in any political clothing.

      It took us 40+ years to get here and it may take us 40+ years to get back but what a great legacy for future generations.

      By the way, I believe in our right to arm ourselves. I would march on Washington if this right was being taken away.But here is a thought – it will NEVER happen so get over it and let’s work together to leave a legacy of caring and compassion, not of cynicism and crassness.

  3. irvingwood on said:

    To any non-American the reading of the 2nd Amendment is quite clear. It starts with the whole point of the amendment, which is the maintenance of a well-regulated militia, and then explains how this will be achieved. Without the ‘well-regulated militia” there is no right to bear arms. That right does not exist on it’s own. It is contingent on and subject to the militia. Now there are no militias. There are National Guards today, which replaced militias, so no right to bear arms is necessary or even desirable. In the UK and Australia, after atrocities like this, the gun laws are tightened. Not in the USA. Gun fetish is a sickness, because it is a covert worship of violence. The strutting American male, with his fragile ego and self-image, feels he needs a gun to make him feel like a man,powerful and in control. So extreme is this neurosis, that they would rather countenance all these innocent deaths rather than start down the long and painful road to complete disarmament. Why is this? The USA is a cold and violent society, where punishments are reached for before compassion is felt.
    I’m sure what we will see if the reign of gun-violence is challenged is what Hunter S.Thompson saw in Richard Nixon… “It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character almost every other country in the world has learned to fear and despise”. (Rolling Stone (June 1994)) What we saw in the act of extra-judicial execution and the vulgar rejoicing that followed, is the American psyche at full pitch of brutality and rage. A seething mob mentality that horrifies civilized minds. The guns, the death penalty, the overwhelming military power, the empire…it is all there, waiting to show it’s ugly face. The arrogance, the boasting, the bullying, the indifference to the rule of law…..will the world survive the US’s superpower status?”

    • Simeon Nevel on said:

      sigh…

      If you insist on tying interpretation of the constitution to how things stood in the late 1700s, please be complete and accurate.

      10 USC CHAPTER 13 – THE MILITIA

      (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
      males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
      313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
      declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
      and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
      National Guard.
      (b) The classes of the militia are –
      (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
      and the Naval Militia; and
      (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
      the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
      Naval Militia.

      Well regulated in those days meant trained and capable of using the weapons competently.

      • sigh…

        If you are going to try and make a point cleary read what you just posted up. It is pretty obvious you did not since you are making assumptions.

    • Barb Daley on said:

      Mr. Parry you’ve missed the point of the 2nd amendment. The intent was an armed society to protect the nation (citizens) from all governments both foreign and domestic. While the US military is the strongest in the world and we have no fear of being attacked by foreign governments, we need arms to protect ourselves against our own US government. You can’t look at our current situation of security in this context because the spirit of the 2nd amendment is contained in a situation we’ve never seen as an American people and hopefully never have to. If you think this is nonsense and could never happen in modern times look at Syria right now where the government has superior arms vs the citizens. Yes only single shot muskets were available at the time of the writing of the 2nd Amendment but that’s not the point. The point is common people need to have some level of arms capability to what is available by current militaries to somewhat be able to defend themselves against any government foreign or domestic. I would guess if you were to go back in time to the 1920′s and ask 6 million Jews living in “modern, safe” Europe if they felt unsafe and needed the right to bear arms they would’ve told you ” you’re crazy”….

      • trainspotter on said:

        I believe it is you who has misinterpreted the second amendment.

      • Ernest Spoon on said:

        Ms Daley,I has though long on the question of German Jews fomenting an uprising against the Hitler regime before 1938. Many Jewish males in that nation and of that time were army veterans and knew the firearms manual. Had Germany’s Jewish population risen up in some sort of armed rebellion before 1938 undoubtedly the Hitler regime would have suppressed it swiftly and brutally to the approval of the non-Jewish majority.

        • @Ernest Spoon: Yes, we Americans know full well what the consequences are for questioning authority -AS IT IS OUR COLLECTIVE RIGHT TO DO PER OUR CONSTITUTION & BILL OF RIGHTS- because WE ALL saw it with the brutal suppression of OWS. It could have gotten more brutal, but those protesters were committed to non-violence. Yet those whom they questioned were committed to violent suppression. You are ALL missing the point.

      • No he hit the nail on the head, you might want to do some research before posting more nonsense.

      • What a moronic statement. You REALLY think your puny, insignificant little multi-shot pop gun is going to effectively stop a columnn of advancing M1s, heavily armed and armored infantry, cruise missle launches, naval artillary bombardment, and air strikes from fighter and bomber jets? What an idiot. Your argument is utterly absurd, by any measure.

    • I do not agree at all ,crazy and evil people will always exist and they will always find sum way to kill others, if one come my way i would be wishing i had a gun to defend myself .

    • Paul Brossett on said:

      Does freedom of speech and religion still mean anything? Or should be those freedoms only be applied to militia?

      • trainspotter on said:

        That is just a silly question. Does the Constitution refer to a militia when addressing freedom of speech or religion? What does the document actually say?

    • Your assertions are ridiculous. The people are the government and the government should not disarm itself. Racists use the same logic, blaming all people of a certain race for the actions of one of their members. Today we have the gun owner bigots like yourself who hold millions of law abiding decent gun owners responsible.In the meantime, you will climb into your death machine car which kills over 40,000 Americans per year and think you are so good.

    • If you don’t like guns go live someplace else because you are a moron

    • travis medlin on said:

      For those of you who think a militia was the only reason for the second amn, then I advise you to go to the Library of Congress and read some of the writings from our founders. if you did you would see that the intent of the amn was to protect “The People” from a potentially oppressive government, but they also clearly show in other writings which the supreme court will look at, that they understand the only way a people can remain free is to be armed and the only way to protect ones self is to be armed. Thats why its written the way it is. The 2nd amn could have very easily stated that the militia had the right to own and bear arms and they could have left out the people have the right.
      as far as a one shot weapon goes back then if you had one shot, I had one shot. Today if you have 30 shots, maybe iI only have fifteen, but I only need one. Assualt rifles offer no advantage over a semi auto pistol at close range, which this massacre like most others were.

    • This has to be a gay women. Everyone here in Texas owns a gun so we must all feel the need for power huh. This is truly an ignorant comment. Do you know why there isnt any of these crazy gunmen shooting stories opening fire in malls and scools? Its because we all own guns now and take good advantage of our rights. This is what they were put in place for.All these places were strict gunlaws are enforced like Chicago,Dc,Connecticut have problems that we dont have in Texas. Furthermore ,to think that dissarming civillians,the law abiding ones anyway,will solve anything is ridiculous. That would lead to only criminals owning firearms…yea thats where I want to live.

    • Where in the constitution does it say that the National Guard has replaced the militia, if the constitution states something than only an amendment to it can alter that statement.

      That still leaves a debate over what a well regulated militia is, but it’s not the National Guard.

  4. We have to decide, Which is more valuable, military-style weapons or people’s lives?

    • we have to decide what’s more important, temporary security by removing the 2nd amendment, or protecting our liberties in the greater scheme of things. we might as well get rid of the 1st amendment’s protection of speech in radio, tv and internet since those weren’t invented in the 18th century either.

      • Paul Brossett on said:

        We should get rid of the constitution, bill of rights, and everything our founding fathers wrote. Lets let Obama and the media write our new laws. That would be awesome

    • Military-style weapons all the way . . .

    • sweethome on said:

      My life is more valuable than ours because I am willing to defend it against the lawless criminal element that you bleeding heart liberals have encourage in this country with video games, hollywood’s violent movies, removing God from all public life, letting the Gov’t mandated education system instill morally deficient values in your children. You however when confronted with a thief, burgularm rapist, or just a good ole serial killer will calmly dial 911 and hope they get there in time. Good luck, you are going to need it.

  5. Gene Corrigan on said:

    I would like to propose something that may cut across the grain of most peoples sensibilities. Have any of you directly or indirectly committed a crime? Say a vehicular crime.. run a red light (accidentally)? Rolling stops at STOP signs. Parked your car at a convenience store and left with the engine running? Gone over the speed limit!! Well by you measure, you are criminals and deserve your licenses revoked. It is in your best interest to go to your motor vehicle department and turn in your license voluntarily!
    Now on the other hand, if you are what everyone in your little life would consider to be an honest person, decent even, and all would agree that a little bending of the rules is all right because it is harmless for the sake of argument. Why is it that so many slurs coming screaming out when someone wishes to defend themselves? Have the capability, in our crime ridden society, to defend our own lives and those of our families and friends and even the occasional stranger that might be considered the “victim Wildebeest”. Your naivety is an empty vessel with no logic other than the fantasies of an ideal world. Utopia though it sounds nice is clouded with all these … people. Now if you believe the Zeitgeist crackpots, then you should take your self to the ovens instead of motor vehicle, because they wish to kill all but a 1/2 billion.. and I really doubt you will make the muster!

  6. nora king on said:

    The mother provided a Sig, a couple a 9′s and a glock to a disturbed 20 year old. Foolishness on that scale may or may not be preventable. Good law may help in the future, but the guns are here. i have lived through the excesses of theLAPD and 70′s Philly under Rizzo, and currently live under a rural brute squad that calls itself the Sherriffs Dept. I understand why people want guns to protect themselves. Whacked out bullies with badges do little to convince people to give up their weapons. Address police abuse in the same breath with coherent gun policy, maybe someone listens.

    Trying to discuss gun laws where I live is useless. Most folks out here have at least a rifle in case the mountain lions get frisky with the pets and todlers. Nobody wants to hear social policy when venison is running around free for the taking and the California economy has slumped again.

  7. Bob Strawn on said:

    The boy was clearly not in a well regulated militia. Having such militias to regulate would mean a certain level of

    responsibility for the members. Liability from leadership would also tend to reinforce the reliability of those regulated. The term regulated is kind of absent from the NRA’s discussions.

    As far as guns availability then and now, the flint lock pepperbox revolver did exist at the time, and it did allow for multiple shots. This was however a hand made item and obtaining a pair would have meant a considerable expense and a considerable wait. If you compare the modern semi-automatic to a Gatling gun, the difference becomes clear.

    In the 1860′s there was a decisive tool in combat called the Gatling gun. The Gatling gun allowed 4 men to fire 200 rounds per minute. Compare that with a mobile, light semiautomatic that will allow a single gunner to fine 50 rounds in a minute with each shot regulated by a trigger pull. You can get a semi-automatic at Walmart that will work with a 50 round magazine. There is no question at all that a gunner with one of these modern weapons would have been considered a bit more than simply well armed.

    • “The boy was clearly not in a well regulated militia.”

      I think we can assume that his mother wasn’t either.

    • Ok so you are saying we should all be allowed to carry single shot or multi shot flint locks…well guess what the criminals out there are not going to follow these laws and they are armed with full and semi auto rifles along with a vast variety of other weapons. You people trying to make this argument should think before you post.

  8. robinea on said:

    The second amendment and mental illness are not the issue for me anymore.
    The police model in this situation continues to be ‘force protection’ and ‘securing the perimeter’. This explains why 26 out of the 27 individuals died after having been shot at the school. Getting emergency medical care to stabilize the wounded within those first critical minutes while the wounded victims are in the process of bleeding to death is essential – as any trauma physician or nurse knows. Small children are especially resilient in situations of trauma if treated in time and may fully recover.
    Unfortunately this has been militarized: rapid response means how rapidly ‘homeland security and the swat teams’ can cover-up their inability to save lives and their adherence to a failed ‘security model’ with teary speeches, flowers and teddy bears. Why did it take well over an hour to get the only surviving victim to hospital? The shooter had taken his own-life within minutes of his maniacal rampage at the school – as lone shooters usually do in these cases. Such cases have virtually never been about ‘hostages’ or ‘multiple terrorists’ – the usual excuse given by the authorities for not going to the wounded in a timely manner. The same thing happened in Binghamton, New York in 2006 with devastating results. But where emergency medical teams go right in – a significant proportion of the victims survive.
    This killer lived in a wealthy neighborhood full of physicians – perhaps one of them might request an explanation from their governor and local security forces as to why the police/swat squads insist on this disastrous model in such shooting incidents. Perhaps the pathologists examining the 20 children and 6 adult victims could compare their findings with reputable trauma specialists and determine how many might have survived with timely emergency medical intervention. Getting the proper personnel to attend to the wounded victims should be more important than ‘force protection’ and ‘perimeter security’. A system-wide review of how these ‘incidents’ are handled is long overdue.
    When a police officer dies on the job – the state-wide and regional police organizations convoke public marches of hundreds of police with solemn bag-pipe bands and patriotic displays to ‘honor the fallen hero/warrior’. The deaths of school teachers are, however, treated as a local tragedy – mourned by family and friends – and not treated as an outrage to their entire profession.
    Only when the teachers unions and powerful organizations finally decide to form nation-wide demonstrations in solidarity with their dead and grieving colleagues in Connecticut, stage walkouts from their classrooms and speak up as a powerful organized group, will the authorities be forced to take action and implement better systems to save lives. Absent any review of this failed model and overhaul of the entire militarized security approach – individual teacher should demand the same body armor used by our SWAT squads and have emergency medical personnel in the schools.
    The NRA is not the issue – our security-state model is a mess.

    • trainspotter on said:

      The victims were each shot multiple times. You have absolutely no evidence that storming the building would have saved anyone. To imply otherwise is simply reckless.

      • It is clear that getting to trauma victims as quickly as possible is essential to save lives. The military knows this – and has made incredible advances in saving the lives of wounded soldiers.
        The current police model is a disaster. Leaving grievously wounded children and adults to bleed for over an hour while the force protection/securing the perimeter protocol is implemented guarantees a high proportion will die.

    • travis medlin on said:

      Well said.

  9. Anti-gun control is a very powerful lobby. Israel lobby group ADL is one of the major supporters of the pro-gun lobby. Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had equated gun control with Holocaust.

    America held top position in 2010 in death (11,321) as result of robbery, fight over girlfriends, school shooting, family fueds, etc. Americ is also the largest jail-house in the world – holding 2.1% of its population in jails. America is also the worst human rights abuser when it comes to minors. According to the Family Research Council: “Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that’s just “over there.” These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2011/04/17/americas-child-sex-slaves/

  10. Terry Washington on said:

    As an outsider (UK citizen)it may be argued that I have no right to comment on US gun laws, but when the NRA tries to foist its ludicrous arguments on the rest of the world(pace its opposition to the UN Small Arms Treaty or the “UN gun grab”- despite the fact that it deals only with illegally trafficked weapons and has NOTHING to do with legally held guns in private ownership), I must surely say enough is enough!

  11. Alchemist on said:

    The kind of weapons ARE a valid argument. Okay, so we all agree there are “crazies” out there who, if they decide to slaughter a large group of defenseless people, will find a way. Why then do we make it so facile for these “crazies” to purchase or have available to them the kinds of weapons this young man and the fellow in Aurora used? Seriously. Semi- and automatic weapons and their ammo should not be easy to obtain. Period. This kid used a military-style rifle that should ONLY be in the hands of the military and maybe SWAT teams. Yep, we know there are rogue cops that “go off” but none has been fingered in the mass shooting of unarmed civilians to my knowledge. Use some balance in your discusion please.

    • nora king on said:

      The year we got the Fed to intervene in Philly followed a year in which 13 unarmed black males under 18 were killed by cops. Years later the Feds took over Ramparts station in LA on the same pleas over dead and maimed young. In LA….I got my teeth knocked out in my own doorway for comparing Ramparts station to thugs under Pinochet. USNews and World Report searched for any credible human rights activist who was brutalized as a child as well as witnessing it as an adult who was not afraid to go on the record. I agreed to be interviewed, but people who loved me told me not to. They all predicted I would be beaten or shot……

      Fear of the police is the number one reason for many citizens to own weapons. This differs greatly from the NRA arsenal mentality, but makes for another piece of the coalition of gun supporters.

    • travis medlin on said:

      Wrong Alchemist. Because the military has them is exactly why i should have one. I dont think however I should be allowed to carry an assault rifle into a school or mall although those kind of laws will not prevent a criminal from doing so, my M&P 40 will is more than capable of defense in those places. As far as military being the only ones who should own one, the 2nd amndisagrees with you because its meant to protect from the government aka “military”.

  12. Dominic Malini on said:

    Two points:

    1. If guns are banned, who will have them? Let’s see: The government,the police, the military, and criminals. Hmmmm

    2. You cannot totally eliminate guns. You would have to destroy ALL evidence of them from memory. Gun schematics,gun books,ammo,gun building technology,etc, and the guns themselves. This is not possible,and the Genii is out of the bottle.

  13. I find it interesting that according to this article if you support gun rights, that you are somehow in favor of school shootings! I support gun rights and yet I think that this was horrible. But I don’t blame the gun, I blame the individual!

    • Paul Brossett on said:

      @lon. Nicely said. I am gun owner and a father. I could only think of my son when this happened. The founding fathers knew what they were doing when giving us the 2nd amendment.

  14. Bill Jones on said:

    Yet oddly enough, since the UK passed some of the most restrictive gun control laws on the planet in the late 1990′s, there’s been an explosion of violent gun crime.

    • You are poorly informed. They average about 35 gun deaths a year. Quite the explosion of gun violence.

  15. Bob Maginnis on said:

    Gun Control & Genocide

    Down through history, governments have disarmed their citizens only to tyrannize those citizens once they were disarmed.

    The following chart documents just a few examples from recent history where “gun control” laws were enacted and then tyranny by the government proceeded.

    *Click on a country in the chart in order to learn about what occurred in that country.

    http://www.mercyseat.net/gun_genocide.html

  16. francesco ferraro on said:

    I agree with Robert Parry on the interpretation of the second amendment. While it would be impossible to reduce to zero the numbers of Americans killed every year by guns it would certainly help if 1) we reinstate the ban on assault arms since those arms belong to the Army not private citizens. 2) prevent mentally disturbed people to buy any gun. 3) prevent convicted criminals and terrorists to buy guns. 4) close all gun shows since they strive on the certainty of no background check. 5) No guns in public parks or campuses. 6) Immediately reporting all stolen guns.
    These are some immediate steps, the SCOTUS is hopeless.

    • Terrorists do not tell the dealer they are a terrorist . . . so how do you suppose we weed out the terrorists? Or do you mean nobody who look Middle-Eastern should have a gun. Remember Tim McViegh was a terrorist, as was Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski and they do not look Middle-Eastern to me. How do we do it?

    • these steps are already in place. Will not work!

    • sweethome on said:

      Robert Perry said “The American Right is fond of putting itself inside the minds of America’s Founders and intuiting what was their “original intent” in writing the U.S. Constitution and its early additions, like the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” But, surely, James Madison and the others weren’t envisioning people with modern weapons mowing down children in a movie theater or a shopping mall or now a kindergarten.” No the Founding Fathers intent was that if not for restrictive gun laws every teacher in that school would have been armed and thus able to stop the crazy before he could either kill anyone or discouraged him from attacking at all. All but one of the mass shootings in the past several years have occured in a mandated by law “Gun free zone.”

    • “1) we reinstate the ban on assault arms since those arms belong to the Army not private citizens.” There is already a ban on assault weapons.

      “2) prevent mentally disturbed people to buy any gun.” How? And what is the criteria for determining “mental illness” being mentally “disturbed”?

      “3) prevent convicted criminals and terrorists to buy guns.” Good grief. They are already prevented from doing so.

      “4) close all gun shows since they strive on the certainty of no background check.” Not true; you’re ignorant of the laws.. You can’t buy a gun at any gun show without a police check. Checks are already being done. Furthermore, you cannot buy a gun from an online dealer (who must ship it to a licensed dealer were you will pick it up) without first paying a fee for a police check. Again, this is already being done.

      “5) No guns in public parks or campuses.” Why not? Because crimes don’t happen in parks or on college campuses campus?

      6) Immediately reporting all stolen guns. Most people who experience a theft from their homes are already doing that, especially when it concerns guns.

  17. My past time is not only full of remorse for those families who are caught in this tradegy but for the folks like me who remain silent knowing we must / should act to remove arms for warfare off of our streets and offer the severely ill more than the penal system as a means to receive treatment. No fence is high enough for an angry ill person to climb.

  18. jpvoodoo on said:

    “The American Right is fond of putting itself inside the minds of America’s Founders and intuiting what was their “original intent” in writing the U.S. Constitution and its early additions, like the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.”

    “But, surely, James Madison and the others weren’t envisioning people with modern weapons”

    Aren’t you yourself guilty of putting yourself inside the minds of America’s founders and intuiting their original intent when you speculate about what weapons they were or were not envisioning?

    • travis medlin on said:

      jpvoodo Madison, Jefferson and many others leaders of that time wrote extensively on many issues and they can be read online at the Library of Congress. These documents work regardless of the era and you can commit mass murder with tools other than guns. Someone bent on killing will find a way to kill and the only way to stop them them is to meet force with force.
      We need fewer gun restrictions not more. Restrictions only work on law abiding citizens not criminals or those ready to become criminals.
      Personel responsibility is whats needed. We as citizens need to be asking what can we do if we are ever in a situation like this, not what can the government do for me, and oh yea, with a gun theres not much a law abiding citizen can do in asituation like that if their unarmed.

  19. travis medlin on said:

    This article is ridiculus… Every capable state citizen was expected to put up the plow and pick up their gun as part of a militia when needed. Thats why the 2nd amn states the “PEOPLE” not “the militia” have the right to own and BEAR arms. It is written that way because our founders understood that responsible citizens owning, bearing aka “carrying” firearms was necessary to protect themselves their families and their lively hood.
    The recent shootings are a tragedy and I hope their is a special place in hell waiting to greet these monsters.
    The reality is though that like drugs if firearms are made illegal anyone willing to break a law like murder will with ease purchase an illegal firearm and the good people in our society will be defenseless.
    The only way to meet that kind of force is with that kind of force. More responsible people should be carrying firearms and they should be allowed to carry them anywhere. If a couple of those office staffers had been armed we would very likely be reading about the countless children saved by a responsible gun owner.

  20. Well stated and I concur! Thank you! Now we need to get busy legislating change so these atrocities can not happen again. Guns are designed for one thing, killing! They should not be viewed in the same way one views owning a baseball bat or a pair of mittens. They are not toys to be handled playfully. They are lethal tools for killing. Not all people should be allowed to own/use them. They must be controlled at the highest levels. We, as grown adults, need to be responsible in our estimation of how and why a person should be granted the privilege of owning such a dangerous machine. We as a society have failed in this regard. We have lost our objective view. We need to act like adults and open our eyes and our minds to reality. Living in a fantasy world where everyone owns a gun and we turn a blind eye to the ridiculous situation in which we find ourselves must come to an end. No more deflecting or redirecting the focus away from guns! No more catch phrases. These will not stop the atrocities. It’s time to stand up and take action!

    • They aren’t designed for hunting? Tell that to the people who not only in the South and Midwest as with most of North America who rely on hunting as either the only means of putting food on the table or supplementing their food. . . and then you will turn around and criticize these people for having to turn to food stamps because they can no longer hunt.

  21. After the terrible shooting on Friday. The gun control people are not going to let a good opportunity go to waste to further there agenda. Everyone on the news is talking about more gun control. I am not some loony tune about guns. I know that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, no matter what type of arms they would be. I am afraid that if the Federal Government try’s to further gun control and do away with the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States these events could spark another civil war and further discontent among the American people. It is possible that some states would call there State Senate and Congress to hold a vote of succession from these United States of America. It is tragic that the Government will use the deaths of these children to further there cause since Fast and Furious did not work. Today as I went outside in the yard I thought I heard the faint war drums carried by the wind of another Civil War or American Revolution. I hope I am wrong, only time will till.

  22. Perhaps our nation is looking for a quick fix and a quick blame with regards to gun-control rather than looking at what our society is doing to encourage individuals to take these actions.

  23. William Brad Hoffmann on said:

    Why isn’t ANYONE addressing this societies legal prescription drug problem ???

    The american people are becoming MSM (main stream media) pharma zombies !!!

    Does any one know if these last few killer’s were under doctor’s care ?

    Does anyone know who diagnosed this latest kids dis-order ?

    Has he been being medicated !!!! For how long ??

    GUNS DO NOT KILL PEOPLE !!! WTF !

  24. While we endlessly debate the Second Amendment, over more 30,000 Americans are shot to death every year. This is the equivalent of 1 death every 18 minutes! It’s also almost twice numer of deaths in Canada, over three times the death rate in New Zealand, thirty-six times the firearms death rate in the United Kingdom. (Wikipedia).

    These numbers point to a much deeper problem than the intent Second Amendment that’s filling American coffins. The question is will we, as a nation, “man up” and admit something’s terribly wrong here at home?

    • sweethome on said:

      How many of those deaths were police officers on criminals and self protection? Over 40,000 killed by automobiles. I am not going to give up my car either!

  25. I think the rest of the world thinks America is nuts concerning guns. Why not allow licenced sporting rifles and ban the weapons beyond that. You never know who might turn into a killer, someone with a brain tumor, a young 20 year old developing schizophrenia (thats the age it often appears), some other mental disorder. If you feel you need weapons to repel your own government or others, you’re crazy. What’s the army, airforce, navy, the police forces, National Guard for. Such primitive backward thinking stuns non-Americans.

    • sweethome on said:

      Does it stun the Syrians who are being murdered by their own Gov’t? Does it stun the Kurd’s who were gassed by their Gov’t? Does it stun the Jews whose families dies in the camps? Does it stun the millions who died by Stalin’s twisted mind?

  26. At the time of the amendment, people could own the same level of weapons used by the military. So even though it was single shot muskets, that was all the military had. The equivalent today would be automatic assault rifles and bazookas. More importantly, where in the constitution doesn’t grant to congress the authority to regulate firearms? The second amendment, like the first 10 were viewed by some at the time as unnecessary, feeling that article I section 8 didn’t grant authority in those areas anyway so it didn’t matter. But maybe they saw people like you and decided to would be a good idea. This is typical progressive thinking. We feel unsafe, so let’s take away the rights of good people. The last time we did that, we got the disaster of the Patriot Act. Other instances of this kind of crap are drug prohibition (that came after alcohol prohibition, but at least they recognized the need to amended the constitution to prohibit alcohol) and same sex marriage bans. I think it is hubris to believe that acts like these will cease by removing firearms from the legal market and relegating them to a black market where disputes are not handled in a courtroom but with violence.

  27. Man YunSoo on said:

    As you said, the well regulated militia was the entirety of able-bodied males. Militias obviously need the types of armaments necessary to repel and invading armed force, correct? That would mean that every person of age is in their state’s respective militias (minus conscientious objectors) and is meant to be armed with today’s weapons of war – assault rifles, semi-automatics, and grenades. Court decisions back up this view, stating that sawed-off shotguns can be banned because they don’t serve a military purpose (untrue, but no evidence was presented to contradict that finding in that case).

  28. Charles Prothro on said:

    This tragedy can not be understated. It was absolutely horrible and I pray for the families and victims. I do need to say though that you are talking about a symptom and not the disease. John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Is it not true that morals, ethics and virtues have taken a back seat in our education system. At Harvard they just instituted a kinky sex club. I believe I would stop paying tuition if I found out my kid was a part of this club. These are the morals that are being taught to young people now by our culture. No wonder these types of things are happening. The sanctity of life needs to be respected at all levels. Human life needs to be protected from conception and held up as precious by all elements of society then and only then will we begin to see a decrease in these and all types of violence. A proverb in the Bible says if you shed the blood of the innocent then the innocent blood of your tribe will be shed. Even if you do not believe the inherent logic of as a culture viewing human life as something more precious than we have in the days that preceded this one, then violence will recede.

  29. Sorry, Bob, have to get off the boat on this one. I am convinced that the right to bear arms was always intended to be an individual right. Since most people did have guns, there is no way the Founders would have tried to take them away, or condition the continued possession of arms on membership in a government sanctioned militia. The Milita Acts are just an example of Congress doing something stupid, not evidence of the Founders intent. But, no, the Founders would not have stood by and done nothing. They would have amended the constitution so as to allow regulation of certain types of weapons. The constitution may need to be amended to reflect modern weapons, but that does not support or excuse amendment by interpretation in light of changed circumstances. That just feeds the anti-government, and anti-court, propaganda of the radical right. It may be hard, but do gun control right, but amending the constitution.

  30. http://www.lawnix.com/cases/dc-heller.html

    A “well regulated militia” means jack at this point in time.
    The Supreme Court ruled on this back in 2008. Just before they
    ruled on Citizens Untied.

  31. It is sos sad that things like this happen. I just want to let people know that if the adults at the school were carrying guns so many children would not have died. For example Switzerland has the highest amount of people with guns in the world and the lowest crime rate in the world.

  32. I find it quite ironic that our government wants to help arm the Syrian people with arms from a tyrannical government, but now in the face of a tragedy, they want to take them away from our own people
    This is the same government that supports 3700 killings a day in support of abortion, innocent lives taken without any debate
    This is the same government that allows tobacco to kill thousands, and gives the industry millions to do so
    People are killed by automobiles every day, shall we ban them too??

  33. Like it or not the 2nd Amendment was added because the new American Republic did not want an autocratic monarchy like(Great Britain)to usurp the power of the duly elected government against the will of the people. The founders thought that giving the citizens the right to arm themselves against this threat of a rogue government or individual group. Unfortunately, one assault weapon per individual cannot stop a modern technological military juggernaut. We now face this dilemma head on.

    Perhaps realistically, sensible gun control that specifically targets military type weapons, uniform licensing by all the states,closing gun show loopholes for purchasing firearms, and greater awareness by the public of individuals who have mental, developmental, or cognitive disorders who will alert health professionals more readily when they encounter troubled folks in everyday life.

    In addition, common sense by gun owners like not having weapons in a household that has a family member I’ve described. We cannot stop every incident, however even if one life is saved by some of what I’ve described, it’s on the right track.

  34. HISTORICVS on said:

    It really amazes me that folks imagine the founders’ government – or any government – would make provision for its own overthrow by disgruntled citizens. Look at what happened in the Whiskey Rebellion, for example, to see how the American government responds to even a slight challenge to its absolute authority. The purpose of government is to regulate citizens’ behavior for something defined as “the common good”, though historically that “good” has generally been what its most agressive and unprincipled members find most useful to maintain their power and privilege.

    • It really amazes me you think that. The purpose of the US GOVERNMENT IS NOT to “regulate it’s citizens” FFS. It is to provide for the security of the country against outside takeovers. Power was ALWAYS granted to the STATEs. And our rights come from a GOD not from a corrupt fascist politician. And yes, the founders certainly DID provide for citizens’ ability to control it’s own government. You can’t possibly be American and if you are, you haven’t studied a single thing. Why do you think there are three branches of government to slow changes down? Why do you think the amendments exist? As POWER AGAINST a tyrannical government, that’s why.

  35. The author is advocating for a police state and tyranny.

  36. C. Donald Stevenson on said:

    Yes, the Second Amendment armed citizens and gave them the right to bear arms as their protection from an opressive government…that was in the 18th century not in the 21st century. For you proponents of the right to bear arms in the 21st first century as a means to protect your self and others from an opressive government, exactly how long to think you would last agains the United States miliary force?

    Today, we have the National Rifle Association and the Republican electorate and the United States Supreme Court to thank for the carnage at Sandy Hook. Following George W. Bush’s debackle to allow the ban on assault rifles to expire in 2004, it is little wonder the nomenclature of the assault weapon used at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a Bushmaster.

    We also have to thank the American social planners who pat the mentally deranged on the head by keeping secret mental health profiles as “confidential information” without restraining such deranged individuals from walking America’s streets and visiting their schools…What is the difference between a sexual preditor and a mental health preditor? We as a civilized people can do better than this!

    Nost Sincerely, a grandparent

  37. If you don’t know what “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” you shouldn’t be writing a blog. It didn’t equivocate “arms as long as the government’s arms are more powerful”.

  38. Benjamin on said:

    LEFT WING ARTICLE FAIL: “However, the modern American Right and today’s arms industry have devoted enormous resources to twisting the Framers into extremist ideologues who put “liberties” like individual gun ownership ahead of all practical concerns about “security.”

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WIN: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  39. I was just at a place where kids go to pay there must have been 50 five and six year olds there. As I sat there I thought what had to happen to turn that man into the monster he was to kill innocent children twenty of them the medical examiner said he shot each child twice. It makes me wonder what really happened at sandy nook CT We may never know. But I do know one thing when the government is the only one with guns who will become the sheep for the slaughter. History repeats itself all you have to do is look