The slayings of twenty children and seven adults in Newton, Connecticut proves something is wrong with gun control in America. Congress passed the Brady Law in 1994. The law banned the sale or possession of assault weapons, but Congress let the ban expire ten years later. Likewise, criminal background checks are not always required at gun shows because the Brady Law does not apply to unlicensed gun dealers. Many of the dealers at gun shows are unlicensed. Meanwhile gun owners clamor that their 2nd Amendment rights are infringed upon if there are any restrictions imposed upon gun ownership. The result is a dangerous combination of no columbine,virginia tech,meaningful restrictions on the purchase of assault weapons, inadequate background checks and the elevation of the 2nd Amendment to where it trumps all other rights, including the rights to live and to be safe.
The belief in the unfettered right to bear arms ignores all rights are relational and not absolute. For example, the 1st Amendment does not allow for the ritual sacrifice of human beings under the guise of the free exercise of religion. The 1st Amendment is not an unfettered right, nor is the 2nd Amendment. An individual’s rights extend only so far as the life and liberty of another are not threatened.
Laws that make citizens safer do not infringe upon the rights of others. Even if restrictions on the right to bear arms are imposed, those restrictions are valid if they make citizens safer. An assault weapons ban and more background checks make citizens safer.
In order to help prevent tragedies such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Connecticut, the Brady Law assault weapons ban must be reinstated or another law similar to it must be passed. In addition, background checks must be required whenever and wherever a gun is sold, be in a store, at a gun show or over the internet. These are small concessions to make, and they are not infringements on the right to bear arms. Even if these restrictions were infringements, they would be necessary infringements, as the right to bear arms is not absolute.
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