We all know that despite President Obama's wishful thinking, compromise over changes to gun possession legislation in America is not going to come easily. To that end, I would like to make the following proposal, one that will meet the desires of both sides of the spectrum; the liberals end up with some of their much coveted restrictions on firearms and the conservatives end up with firearms.
First, a bit of background information for my non-American readers. The key part of the U.S. Constitution that the pro-gun side of the argument uses as a basis for their case is found in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was adopted on December 15th, 1791 and is part of the United States Bill of Rights.
The Second Amendment states the following:
"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."
Congress passed a version with a capital "S" on the word State and the States ratified a version with a lower case "s" in the same word and a couple of commas missing.
As we now know, the language of this Amendment has created considerable debate about its intended scope. One theory states that this Amendment created an individual constitutional right for all citizens of the United States to bear arms; this is known as the "individual right theory". Other scholars claim that the key phrase "A well regulated Militia" suggests that the Framers of the Amendment intended to restrict Congress from legislating away a state's right to self-defence; this is known as the "collective rights theory". The collective rights theory asserts that individual citizens do not necessarily have the right to possess guns and that various levels of government have the authority to regulate firearms. Interestingly, James Madison's initial proposal in June 1789 was worded as follows:
That would appear to be a much clearer version of the Second Amendment, however, it was not adopted without adding confusion to the issue.
Now, let's look at a couple of YouTube videos. The first video shows the process of loading a flintlock pistol, a weapon that was common in the late 18th century, around the time that the Second Amendment was drafted and adopted:
Admittedly, the gentleman in the video is loading the ball rather slowly as he is talking, however, in the best of conditions, I cannot imagine it taking much less than 20 seconds. According to my research on various websites, soldiers in the early 19th century were capable of between two and three shots per minute on a good day.
In case you were wondering, here is a video showing the loading of a flintlock long rifle:
Here is a link to a very interesting webpage that shows, in great detail, how a flintlock mechanism works.
Now, let's step several light years ahead and look at two additional videos. The first video shows how rapidly a Bushmaster Model .223 AR-15 semi-automatic rifle can be fired:
Here is a video showing a gentleman rapid firing a Sig Sauer 9 mm pistol:
The Bushmaster Assault Rifle has a 30 round magazine and is priced at between $700 and $1100. The Bushmaster is capable of firing 45 rounds per minute in semiautomatic mode. The Sig Sauer 9mm comes in several models and retails for just over $1100, depending on the dealer. It has a magazine with a capacity of 20 rounds and can fire up to 300 rounds per minute.
Now for my win-win proposal. Since the horseback-riding Framers of the Second Amendment clearly did not have the foresight that allowed them to envision a firearm that could fire 10 rounds a minute let alone tens or hundreds, perhaps we should return to their vision of "arms". Every American would be allowed to purchase a given number of flintlock pistols and rifles and an unlimited supply of lead balls, sticking to the letter of the Second Amendment individual rights theory. While this clearly would not solve all gun-related crimes, at the very least, this proposal would solve the problem of mass shootings; unless a shooter entered his target area of choice with several loaded flintlock firearms, it would be very easy for a crowd of people to overwhelm the shooter while he was taking the time to reload his cumbersome and generally inaccurate at long distances weapon and deliver a bit of "country justice".
Hey, it's only a suggestion! Is this proposal any worse than what our elected leaders will come up with?