Thomas Jefferson and gun control


Thomas Jefferson on July 12, 1816, wrote, “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times … We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

This country’s founders had muskets, not AR-15s. In the amount of time it would have taken them to fire off two shots, a man in Florida just mowed down 17 former classmates and teachers. Last October, a man with two dozen legally purchased, bump-stocked semi-automatic assault rifles fired off more than 1,100 rounds into a crowded music festival in Las Vegas in the span of 10 minutes, killing 58 and injuring over 400 others. How many shots do you figure a minuteman would have been able to get off in that amount of time when the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1791?

The Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to bear arms for hunting, for the protection of ourselves, our families and our property and primarily, so that the federal government could call up “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free state” from foreign invaders in a time when the United States did not have a standing army. The Second Amendment does not protect the right of individuals to own weapons of mass destruction that have the capacity to massacre hundreds within minutes because it is unlikely the framers could have fathomed that kind of technological terror.

Today, to oppose stricter gun control legislation is to sentence more children to death. It will happen. More children will die.

It’s past time for elected officials to do the right thing — stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby, or get out of the way of the rest of us, who are desperate to end this shameful era of “American carnage.”