View Full Version : [NEWS] Permitting citizens to own firearms will go a long way to curbing crime

27 March 2009, 15:36
Source: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/permitting-citizens-to-own-firearms-will-go-a-long-way-to-curbing-crime-2009-03-27

By: Kelvin Kemm
27th March 2009

Crimes involving firearms are particularly worrying because they frequently end up in death or injury.

One often gets the impression that some nervous, inexperienced crook gets hold of a gun, which then gives him the confidence to hold up some fast-food outlet or petrol station.

Then, when the owner or a passer-by shows some resistance, the nervous crook pulls the trigger, only to later claim that he did not actually realise what he was doing.

In Germany, a youth recently killed a number of children in a school using a gun, and Finland has just enacted stricter gun laws, after a similar incident in that country. This gun problem is international. In South Africa, there has been a clampdown on gun ownership, but what does that actually achieve? Is there any evidence that the crooks now have fewer guns? I do not think so.

So, in effect, the gun laws keep the crooks armed and curtail the ability of law-abiding citizens to fight back. People will contest that comment, I know – it is a view that has more than one vantage point in perspective.

In the US, there has been great debate on the issue. At times it becomes very academic. Author Dr Stephen Halbrook has examined the principle of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in great depth.

The Second Amendment says that people have the right to bear arms, but there are different interpretations of this position.

When the British army occupied Boston, in the US, in 1768, word went around that the local inhabitants would be disarmed and then ruled by the British under martial law. The result was seven years of conflict. Then, in 1775, the British commander, General Thomas Gage, at Lexington and Concord, attempted to seize the arms of the local militia.

The British were repulsed by local people, using their private arms. Gage then offered to impound all American arms – in return, he would allow the people who complied to leave the besieged town in peace.

Gage took the weapons and then broke his promise. He kept the Americans hostage. In 1776, the Americans founded their republic and issued their famous Declaration of Independence. The new country of America then went about building its society.

They were only too aware of their recent history, and Virginia was the first state to adopt a declaration of rights, which included the provision that a well-regulated militia would be formed that had the right to bear arms.

Part of the idea was that, since the citizens of the country were so suspicious of big government, they wanted to retain the right to depose the government by force if it went off the rails. So the concept of bearing arms was introduced to protect the rights of the citizens under the new Constitution.

Then, in the Massachusetts Convention, Samuel Adams proposed that “peaceable citizens” have a right to keep “ their own arms”. This was a subtle change from the militia idea. Finally, the New Hampshire Convention became the first to propose a bill of rights, including the provision that “Congress shall never disarm any citizen” unless in rebellion.

This whole debate has continued to modern-day America, the issue being: Does the Second Amendment mean that the people may bear arms as a militia to protect the country and the Constitution, or does it mean that any citizen has the right to own a personal weapon?

In the 1960s, in the US, the view prevailed that individuals had a right to bear arms only in militia service. But now the thinking has changed, even in canonical textbooks, to state that the bearing of arms is an ‘individual’ right.

A recent US Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia vs Heller upheld the Second Amendment as protecting individuals' right to bear arms.

Such a ruling is good for the law-abiding citizen, who wants to protect his or her person and property. The snag still remains how we can prevent stolen weapons from getting into the hands of the crooks. Some innovative thinking is needed.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

3 April 2009, 23:10
"The snag still remains how we can prevent stolen weapons from getting into the hands of the crooks. Some innovative thinking is needed."

Simple, you can't! As long as there is a will there is a way. Scumbags are not going to change the best you can do is to innact Florida or Texas type laws that don't require a person to back down. This equals more dead bad guys and less people to steal guns. The gene pool really does need to be thinned at times.