Idea: To limit guns, make a well-regulated militia

by Alan Cohen

2nd amendment

There you have it. The bizarrely punctuated second amendment to the US Constitution that has become the basis of the bizarre gun-rights movement in the US, people that make bizarre statements like “I wish to God [the Newtown principal] had an M-4 in her office locked up — so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands.”

Living in Canada (or almost anywhere else in the world), one looks on in bewilderment at the awful tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and at the utterly incomprehensible refusal to have sensible gun regulations in the US. President Obama has promised action, and the NRA has fallen silent, but in two weeks the heat will have died down and the gun enthusiasts will start to speak up again.

So, in the spirit of responding in kind to gun enthusiasts’ absurd interpretations of this muddled text, here is a tongue-in-cheek idea for how to adhere faithfully to the 2nd amendment:

Let’s make a well-regulated militia! We will give arms to the people – via their militias – and we will regulate the bejesus out of them. Here is a list of sample regulations:

1) Each municipality shall establish a militia compound to house firearms and facilitate practice therewith.

2) No firearm shall, under any circumstances, be allowed outside this compound, except in the case of a declaration of war.

3) All firearms shall be equipped with GPS tracking systems to enable authorities to locate them, should they ever be removed from the compound.

4) All firearms shall be equipped with a mechanism to disable firing should they fail to receive a GPS signal indicating that they are within the compound. This mechanism could be disabled centrally in the case of war.

5) Militia membership shall be open to the public. Membership requirements include, but are not limited to: being at least 18 years of age, an absence of a criminal record, an annual psychological evaluation by a registered psychiatrist, an annual physical evaluation, and participation in regular training exercises.

6) All firearms at the militia compound shall belong to the people. No individual shall have any particular rights to any particular weapon. All militia members are free to train with any weapon in the compound.

7) All firearms purchased must be justified in terms of their utility to the militia in defending the security of a free state.

Of course, having fulfilled the requirements of the second amendment, we are now free to impose whatever regulations we wish on other firearms, such as banning them completely…

Just to be clear, I am not really advocating this militia system. I am using it to illustrate the absurdity of taking the second amendment too seriously in the modern world. Let’s move beyond it and have a rational discussion about what place guns have in the lives of citizens and how we can reduce crime effectively.

Thoughts? Additional regulations for our militia? Put them in the comments section, I’d love to hear….