Don't Forget Parkland

February 15, 2019

Exactly a year after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, we must not forget the urgent need for gun control legislation.

 

Not every tragedy can be prevented, but we as a people must admit that there is a gun violence problem that exists on a national scale, and has only gotten worse since the Columbine shooting in 1999.  Something has to be done.  Laws must be changed.

 

At its simplest, guns should be allowed for hunting and for self-defense.  I believe that the right to self-defense is essentially what is recognized by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  But beyond that limited, albeit important, purpose, gun ownership and possession can and should be legislated and controlled by the government.

 

Guns did not exist for all of human history.  In this sense, the right to specifically carry a gun is not, and should not, be a natural right, on par with the universal and inalienable rights inherent to all human beings.  On this point, I'm sure that there are places in the world -- neighborhoods, towns, even very large areas -- in which there are no guns at all.  Yet, it is not as if the people in those places are being deprived of a right to which they are entitled simply by virtue of being human.

 

That being said, the conditions in some parts of the U.S. may not match the conditions in those places mentioned above, so a person's natural right to self-defense must therefore realistically include the right to own and possess a gun.  That is to say that the right to self-defense is the primordial right, to which a subsidiary right to own and possess a gun may attach.

 

Back to the point above that 'the right to specifically carry a gun is not, and should not, be a natural right.'  This, in itself, means that gun ownership and possession may be regulated by the government.  And now, due to present historical conditions, as evidenced by Columbine through to Parkland, the government must change existing laws to more effectively regulate gun ownership and possession to address this reality.  People's lives will depend on it, and in that, the right to life must certainly outweigh what isn't even a natural right.

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F. TIGHE BURNS, ESQ.

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