|Notes on Gun Control|
Issue #10 (June 1982)
A great outcry of opposition is heard whenever some politician who believes in the perfectability of mankind through legislation attempts to pass a gun control bill. The opposition seems to base its case on a constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:
"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."
[quoteright]That seems pretty clear.
We have a well regulated militia in the United States. It's called the National Guard. Which leads to a thought. Why not legislation that reads as follows?
"A Well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the purchase or possession of a firearm shall constitute immediate enlistment in the National Guard."
The legislation might also specify that felons and aliens would not be accepted in the National Guard. In the case of a felon, purchase or possession of a firearm would be cause for immediate incarceration in a Federal penitentiary or military stockade. In the case of an alien, it would be cause for immediate confiscation of U.S. property and expulsion to the country of origin.
Regulations to support this law might include a provision that all members of the National Guard who enlist in this manner shall provide their own weapons, ammunition, uniforms, and other equipment. Those who enlist in this manner might or might not be paid at the basic minimum rate of a new recruit, and should be specifically denied any fringe benefits such as retirement, free medical care, education, etc. that accrue to other members of the National Guard. Members of the Guard, I believe, serve 12 weekends a year plus 15 days of active duty. This is in addition to Basic Training for new recruits, which may last 3-11 months.
New recruits would promptly go into basic training, where they would learn the proper and safe use of their firearms in a well regulated environment, that of the Militia. Regulations not necessarily part of the enabling legislation would probably provide that certain privately owned weapons (the UZI machine gun, for example) must be stored in the National Guard Armory where they would be comparatively safe from theft by unauthorized persons yet readily available to their owners. At any time a person had a firearm in his possession, he would automatically be on active duty and subject to military as well as civilian law; this is essential to the maintenance of a well regulated Militia. None of this strikes me as infringing the right of the people (citizens) to keep and bear arms.Could this type of legislation be passed on a local level? Perhaps, by clearly defining the Sheriff's Posse as Militia, and deputizing all those who purchase or possess firearms in the county. Since Sheriff's Posses today are largely honorary, such a shift in emphasis probably would be beyond the ability of most Sheriffs to regulate effectively. National Guard would probably object, moreover.
This must be idle musing. The proponent of such legislation would find himself under greater pressure than the one who would suggest that Southern California build their proposed aqueduct from the Great Lakes before, rather than after, draining Northern California dry. But that's something to go into my notes for an essay on water transfers across natural geographical barriers.