The Second Amendment Tom Mazanec Recently, a shooting incident occurred at my Alma Mater, Case Western Reserve University, producing debate about gun control in the local media. I come from a family of hunters (although I do not hunt myself) and took a riflery course in college, so this interests me quite a bit. Today we have guns that make the 18th Century guns look like crossbows in comparison, so this has become a hot issue. First let me say that the Second Amendment is not Holy Writ. However, being part of the constitutional basis of our government, it deserves the respect commensurate with that background. Second, it is my humble opinion that it is one of the worst written laws in American history. "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." If you are "pro-gun", then what is the point of putting in that bit about the "well regulated militia"? Maybe it shows the background of why the Amendment was put into the Constitution, but other Amendments did not have such an explanation. The First Amendment does not start out something like "It being the duty and obligation of every person to seek to obey his Creator and to properly take part in the functioning of his government and society..." This seems to imply that the only reason to have guns is to have an officially constituted militia, so only members of such a militia should possess guns. If you are "anti-gun", then what is the point of saying "the right of the people"? If only the militia should have guns, then this should have been made clear: "the right of the members of said militia..." or "each State shall maintain...". Just saying "people" implies that common citizens have the right to keep and bear Arms, as the population given that right was not restricted in the clause. This is why both sides of the debate can easily cite the Second Amendment as supporting their view. As for myself, I feel that you should have the right to obtain the right to keep and bear Arms. Owning a gun is not like owning a car, much less owning a ham radio. A gun is inherently hazardous to other people when used as intended. A person should have to demonstrate a knowledge of the use and legal implications of using a firearm, and should not have a criminal background. That person should have a license and each weapon purchased should be recorded in a ballistics database so that bullets fired from it can be identified. I am also gratified to see that we will soon have the option of protecting ourselves with nonlethal means. HSV Technologies is developing a paralyzing ray, and other such nonlethal weapons are being developed for the military and the police. Maybe this will give us a way out of this impasse. Or maybe we will have to amend the Second Amendment. (I would also propose an amendment to make electors a mathematical fiction so some "faithless elector" does not precipitate a constitutional crisis worse than the Y2K election fiasco, and one to impose term limits on Supreme Court Justices so nanomedical life extension does not leave them sitting for centuries, and one to...)