With all the talk of “common sense gun control,” I feel it’s very important to remember the reason for the 2nd Amendment. It’s much more than self-defense. First and foremost, it’s about defending ourselves from a tyrannical government.
The government – through the military – uses M4s. The founding fathers, in drafting the Second Amendment, appear to have intended for civilians in society to have the ability to go toe-to-toe with the government if it descended into tyranny. A bolt action rifle with a magazine holding 5-10 rounds just won’t cut it against a semiautomatic rifle with 30 rounds. But an AR-15 is similar to the M4.
To those who want to ban 18-year-olds from buying certain guns, it’s important to note 18-year-olds are considered adults and that many in the military are between the ages of 17 and 21. Heavy media coverage of terrifying events like mass shootings can make it seem like these things occur far more often than they do. FBI data shows us that most gun-related deaths are suicides. Mass shootings, as defined by the FBI, account for less than 1% of all gun deaths. Most gun homicides involve handguns, not rifles. These data points are cold comfort to those mourning the victims in Uvalde, but they ought to inform any public policy response under consideration. Gun control cannot and will not ever be the answer. Instead, the focus should be on properly funded and staffed mental health services and expanded background checks that include juvenile records. This will be the most effective way to curb mentally ill or violent people from legally buying guns. And to stop illegal purchases, we need prosecutors to stop letting criminals right back out onto the streets.
Chad Kernutt, Albany
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