I have started to take shooting lessons at a local gun range with the idea in mind that I may, eventually, buy a gun.   I am talking about a semi-automatic pistol for home security and not a rifle or anything that would be suitable for hunting.  I am not a hunter and I do not have any interest in going hunting.

I understand and accept that many people feel strongly about the right to own guns and believe that gun ownership is essential to protect their safety from those criminals who are also armed with guns.  There is a strong tradition in this country to guard our personal freedoms and gun ownership is always on the list of many people as one of their most cherished rights.

Having said that, I wish that no one, except military and law enforcement personnel, owned or had access to a gun.  I have a lot of trouble accepting the argument that the Right to Bear Arms as stated in our Constitution has any relevancy to today’s culture in which people feel they can and should own extremely lethal weapons for private use.  Let’s face it, in addition to violent criminals, guns are also owned by nitwits, the irresponsible, and the marginally intelligent.   I believe we would all be better off and a lot safer if no one had a gun instead of everyone having a gun.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution says “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.”   Despite the US Supreme Court decisions in which the Court interpreted this Amendment to go beyond the needs of a Militia and to justify private gun ownership for personal safety*, I submit that the better reasoning would recognize that this right to bear Arms existed solely because of the necessity of having a well regulated Militia.

The Founding Fathers lived in a time when we did not have a large standing army and the average citizen could be called upon to come forward in time of need to defend their country or protect their community and family.  In all of those situations they would need to bring their own weapons.   We now have a large, permanent military complex and extensive National Guard and there is no need for a Militia nor do we have a Militia.

I understand the argument that owning a gun can provide for greater home security, particularly, since many criminals are armed and you cannot always depend on law enforcement to be readily available when you need them.  Yet, I also understand that if it was possible for no private citizen to own a gun, then there would be no risk of having a gun used against you or your family.   The playing field, so to speak, would be level for both the criminal and home owner.

We all recognize that gun violence in this country is rampant compared with the rest of the civilized world where access to guns by private citizens is much more difficult.   I never bought into the catch phrase that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.   I think it is much more accurate to say that “people with guns kill people” and in alarming numbers.

Before anyone goes off the deep end about this, let me be clear that I understand that the Supreme Court has spoken and the general right to own guns is the law of the land irrespective of the fact that Militias no longer exist in this country; however, I don’t like or agree with it and I still wish that we, as a society, did not have any guns in the hands of private citizens other than, perhaps, legitimate hunting rifles.

So, why am I taking shooting lessons and contemplating buying a handgun?   If everyone has a right to own a gun, then I’m going to get one and protect myself from all those other gun toting citizens.

* District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US 570, decided June 26, 2008, and McDonald v. the City of Chicago, 561 US 3025, decided June 28, 2010.

On Wednesday, Joe questions those who feel the need to change the world in “Keep Your Passion To Yourself”.