Letter to the Editor: Gun rights vs. gun disarmament; we should certify a US Militia

Imagined militia badge over background of a gun show. Composite image. Undated. | All images courtesy Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — A short while after reading a well-written article by St. George News columnist Kat Dayton, entitled: “Here & there: My unexpected conversation with my kids; what to do in a school shooting,” I randomly came across an interesting short video about “Mass Shootings in the United States.” It mentions the shootings in our recent history that have occurred in Las Vegas; Newtown, Connecticut (Sandy Hook); Aurora, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida; and San Bernardino, California.

The writer James Fallow states that other advanced societies have chosen to deal with this threat, but no advanced society (except this one) keeps having gun massacres.

Fallow adds that no single reform, from better background checks, to limits on ammunition or on weapons designed for soldiers on the battlefield, can prevent every possible attack. But their combined effect, when tried everywhere else on Earth, has had undeniable impact. America adapts to other problems, realities and possibilities – but not this one. This is who we are.

Opinion continues below.

This video made me realize that perhaps, via social media, we are systematically being pushed into taking the drastic measures that will inevitably disarm our citizens and therefore leave us potentially vulnerable to attack by foreign/domestic enemies.

So many have always argued that our Second Amendment gives us the uninfringeable right to keep and bear arms. Yet  that right is preceded by the mention of being part of a well-regulated militia.

So, as a hypothetical compromise to the issue of gun rights versus gun disarmament, I propose that the United States can adapt to this problem by passing legislation to actually form a well-regulated militia.

Our soldiers, law enforcement and commercial security personnel all go through specialized training and certification that allows them to keep and bear their arms. Private citizens could be required to pass a more detailed background check, written exam and training course to receive a similar certification.

Everyone who receives certification could now be sworn in as an official member of a “United States Militia” but only after stating that they solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic and that they will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Anyone who has “a problem” with doing so, would be denied certification and, therefore, be denied the privilege of possessing a firearm. Every USM member would also be certified for concealed carry at that time.

  • Every private individual who is currently in the possession of ANY firearm could be required to become a member of the USM.
  • No gun shows, public or private, could be allowed to sell or purchase a firearm to a private individual who is not a member of the USM.
  • No ammunition could be sold to a private individual who is not a member of the USM.

You need a photo ID to purchase alcohol, tobacco, open a bank account, apply for food stamps, apply for welfare, apply for Medicaid/Social Security, apply for a job, apply for unemployment, rent or buy a house/apply for a mortgage, drive/buy/rent a car, get on an airplane, get married, adopt a pet, adopt a child, rent a hotel room, apply for a hunting/fishing license, pick up a prescription, donate blood – and sometimes even to purchase nail polish or spray paint.

So “why” would it be so bad to need a special photo ID that gives you the right to purchase and possess something that is designed to be a portable, concealable, easy-to-use tool for killing an animal or another person?

Again, this is a hypothetical COMPROMISE. While we cannot infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, we also cannot continue to turn a blind eye toward the threat of gun violence.

Submitted by DAVID RABBITT, Hurricane.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them; they do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News.

Email [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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31 Comments

  • Brian February 23, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful letter, but I disagree 100% with the premise.

    The 2nd Amendment exists for a single reason: to allow US citizens to protect themselves against the US government. All other benefits (national defense, self defense, home defense, hunting, sport shooting) are only appendages to that.

    Having to register your firearms and have a permit from the US government and permission to be part of their militia entirely hollows out that purpose. Then all they have to do is call off or cancel the militia and anyone still resisting the government is no longer part of the militia, will be labeled an enemy combatant and is no longer viewed as having Constitutional rights.

    • eddantes56 February 23, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you for that. Spot on!

  • Brian February 23, 2018 at 8:40 am

    If we want to keep our schools in particular safe the very first step is to not make them “gun free zones” by allowing teachers to concealed carry (Utah already allows this). Step 2 is to encourage teachers to carry by paying for their gun training (real gun training, something like Front Sight where you actually learn proper handling and tactics and fire 500+ rounds in a variety of situations, not the legal bull crap worthless classes for a concealed carry permit) during paid time off, and paying them a $250 a year stipend for actively carrying. They should be randomly spot-checked several times a year and if they’re found not to be carrying they lose the stipend. If they’re found to be reckless in their duties (revealing that they’re carrying, bragging, brandishing, etc) they lose their right to participate in the program (probation or permanent, depending on the severity and frequency).

    When an angry student knows that many of the teachers are carrying weapons and they’ll likely die before being able to get their revenge or their fame they’ll be MUCH less likely to attack a school. The same goes for a Beslan-style terrorist attack on a school. When you have 15 teachers carrying and one of them chokes the other 14 can step in. When you have 1 security guard and he chokes (like happened in Florida) you have a massacre.

    • comments February 23, 2018 at 11:24 am

      It might come to that, Bri. But I still think it’s a lot to ask of a school teacher; having them train to take on the skills of a policeman. Cops are always going thru firearm training to keep their skills fresh. It adds a very demanding and complex layer to the already demanding job of teaching… Unless it happened to be where I went to HS and jr high– Those were the laziest POS teachers in the world I think, and it was in this state. Total garbage. Could never call their job demanding b/c they hardly worked.

      • comments February 23, 2018 at 11:27 am

        They prob would’ve loved to trot around on campus w/ a loaded gun and ‘play SWAT commando’, since they didn’t care at all for teaching. It’s probably a bad idea……

  • comments February 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

    ridiculous. The whole intended point of a militia would be for it to be separate from the US gov’t(and likely state gov’t), not be part of it. The person has a poor grasp on what the constitution intended for things like this.

    • comments February 23, 2018 at 11:44 am

      actually i don’t know what the constitution intended for ‘militias’

      but it’s like brian said above:

      “The 2nd Amendment exists for a single reason: to allow US citizens to protect themselves against the US government. All other benefits (national defense, self defense, home defense, hunting, sport shooting) are only appendages to that.”

      • Striker4 February 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        The thing about people carrying concealed weapons is that someone like the Prophet Bob ( comment ) could be walking around your neighborhood with a loaded gun
        you see all the hate filled delusional garbage that he posts here….and the thought of someone like that owning a gun should frighten you !

  • PatriotLiberal February 23, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Good opinion Dave. Mass shootings like the ones you mentioned are happening on a almost weekly basis now. In my opinion i’s because we allow every Tom Dick and Harriet to purchase every type of gun and other weapon imaginable without even the most basic of background checks. It’s harder to rent an apartment in Utah then it is to get a gun and that’s wrong.

    • CADET321 February 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Have you ever gone through the process of purchasing a firearm?

  • hiker75 February 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    It seems that the assault weapons are the problem. So many shots fired in such a short time… If people need guns, limit them to hand guns and single shot rifles. The NRA should support this or change their name to NAWA. National Assualt Weapons Association.

  • desertgirl February 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    1927 Bath, Michigan. Andrew Kehoe was responsible for the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history; 45 dead, 38 were children. How did he kill all these people? With a bomb, and not all of them that Kehoe set went off.

    • No Filter February 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      What story are you reading, we are talking about guns, not bombs. Stay on point here.

  • eddantes56 February 23, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    How about all of the hypocrites stop the Happy talk.

    Maybe a national conversation re our culture is in order. Weapons are merely a tool and 50 or 100 years ago, we had plenty of guns mass shooting were a rarity. Normal, Law-abiding citizens and NRA members (also normal and law-abiding) are not committing this evil.

    What is the common denominator of the while young males that have committed the majority of these atrocities?

    Maybe we should look at an ever degenerative culture which does not respect or revere its past beyond a few standard tropes. Our culture continues to define deviancy down with the promotion of casual sex, anything goes as long as I’m a bit tipsy and devouring movies like 50 Shades of Grey, the proliferation of access to porn by anyone.

    Throw in a growing disrespect for our country’s founding values and those pioneers and settlers that founded and built the country. Throw in the TV narrative that men are buffoons, that masculinity is toxic. Throw in that our boys are being raised by women in the schools and single mothers in the home due to children born out of wedlock. (70%+ black children, 50%+ Hispanic and 30%+ White)

    And to top it off, we hear from the news media and the academic institutions that men are not required to raised children. We really are stupid.

    Funny, how all the “gun-confiscators” want to come after a constitutionally protected right when there are myriads of studies that demonstrate that pornography is addictive, reorders brain development and emotional responses. Oh, I forgot, having access to porn by anyone with the simple click of a button in a Google search is a right that definitely

    The majority if not all were on SRIs or psychotropic drugs due to their parents and/or school teachers diagnosing them as hyper active.

    How is that experiment of Mom and Dad working in their cubicles all day, dropping little Johnny off at daycare or school and then experiencing that latch-key afternoon til the parents get home? Are we starting to see the fruits of loneliness, dysfunction and lack of confidence because so many of these boys were raised by someone other than their parents?

    As a country, we have chosen to go down the path of moral nihilism and the results are not pretty. Human beings need more stability than a roof over their heads, an iphone and being treated from an early age like they really know something and should be “running the show”

    So concerned disarming the public while since Roe vs. Wade, we have killed circa 50 million babies (distinct individuals in the womb of their mother, with separate DNA) because it was inconvenient for the mother.

    Collectively, as a nation, we are a bunch of hypocrites and we demonstrated that we really aren’t as smart as our university degrees make us look. Past is prologue and great civilization have reached their zenith (Greece and Rome as only the two most stark examples) and because lazy, decadent, and tired and they were overrun by stronger cultures.

    And we wonder why these boys are messed up? They chose to do evil and that is on them. I politely submit that while no man or woman can avoid responsibility for their own actions, we really need to “smell ourselves” from a cultural standpoint and the stink is very strong.

    • eddantes56 February 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Sorry for the length of the rant. forgot to add that we have abandoned our Christian heritage and moral nihilism has not, does not and will never provide the moral compass to allow a nation to flourish.

    • comments February 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      I agree mostly. There is a huge lack of morality plaguing this country. I can recognize it plain as day, and I’m an “atheist” or at least an unbeliever. This ‘anything goes’ sort of mentality is a social disease of modern times. It seems millennials have an extreme poor sense of moral direction and most of what they do have comes from the ultra-egalitarian feminized leftist school systems and degenerate pop culture.

      • No Filter February 23, 2018 at 5:22 pm

        I blame the Kardashians. And Justin Beiber, I hate that guy.

    • bikeandfish February 24, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Your notion of a moral nation being a religious, ie Christian nation, is unsubstantiated.

      Masculinity isn’t inherently toxic but toxic masculinity is. These shooters are actually prime example of toxic masculinity.

      These shooters are outliers as most people have to moral compass to not take human life in an offensive manner. Therefore indicting an entire society’s morality is irrational and not to scale. A viable question would be what specifically triggers these reactions in such young men and what is a nuanced, directed solution (s). Broad accusations about culture are not a viable starting point to the issue and are superficial attempts at moral/religious supremacy.

      You don’t “need” a man to raise children even if their are benefits. That is also a simplistic jab at single mothers and a barely veiled insult to non-heteronormative couples, many of which have been emperically analyzed to show that their kids generally turn out just fine if not better than opposite sex couples.

      Claiming women in general get abortion for convenience is ridiculous. And fetuses are aborted, its relatively rare for legal abortion of babies in the final trimester, ie the oft maligned partial birth abortion. I assume you support science-based sex education content, ie not abstinence-only, if you are so distraught about abortion as that’s one of the most effective tools to reduce the # of abortions in this country.

      Don’t expect informed caring citizens to blindly accept your ill-informed caricatures. If you are worried about mental health than vote for candidates that won’t keep dismantling the programs to help, ie what the RNC has done for the last 3-4 decades. Rx for mental health is sadly the only option available to many if not most families because of how our society has devalued and stigmatized mental health issues in this country. If you care about helping these young men before they massacre innocent civilians than stop blindly passing on the latest conservative trope and educate yourself about the complexity of factors that have allowed them to fall through the cracks and fester into violent, vindictive individuals. Addressing social factors is important but that’s not what you just did nor is it a viable short-to-medium term solution.

      • comments February 24, 2018 at 3:41 pm

        What’s the solution, bike? Do we round up all rapid fire rifles that can use hi-cap mags? Do we start by regulating them tightly?

        There should be a balance somewhere that keeps the psychos and criminals from having easy access to mass killing weapons like AR-15 (THAT’S AN ASSAULT RIFLE FOR JOHN THE IDIOT DOWN THERE), but that still protects the 2nd amendment rights. Maybe we should ban anything but bolt action rifles and the like. Would be nice if we could get the cops to demilitarize at the same time…

        don’t see it happening

  • Lastdays February 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    If it’s proposed that a “special” license be given to exercise our 2nd Amendment right, maybe it should be proposed we apply for a “special” license or permission to exercise the 5 rights listed in the 1st Amendment also.
    Those who want to practice free speech, enjoy a free press, practice religion, peaceably assemble or redress the government of our grievances should get a license to do so. That way we know they have been trained to practice these rights and will also be logged into a special Data Base.
    We don’t want just any Knucklehead out there speaking their mind or attending rallies if their not licensed to do so. I’m serious, think about it.
    Ridiculous idea for a special 2nd Amendment license. Sheeesh

    • No Filter February 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Well people in America have regressed and to protect the masses, we must limit this “right”. There are too many idiots in our country with access to high powered weapons. The loss of a child’s life is not worth your stupid need to own an AR-15. Besides if the government really wanted to take over our country a state militia is not going to stop them, not a chance in hell.

      • comments February 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm

        “Besides if the government really wanted to take over our country”

        kind of an absurd thing to say…

        lol

        • No Filter February 23, 2018 at 5:21 pm

          lol good point, I should proof read better, but I think they know what I meant.

  • commonsense February 24, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Eddantes made a strong argument in beautiful prose. I blame our cultural decay on liberals who want power more that truth, diversity more than conformity, labeling more than conflict resolution.
    Our young men are messed up. They feel entitled to act out their fantasies at any cost with no regard to consequence. Liberal educators feel undervalued so they pass their poison onto their students.

    No amount of gun laws will solve America’s decline. Trump with all his faults is trying to right the ship but pushback is overwhelming. Liberals are unknowingly creating anarchy. The most liberal pockets are full of debt, crime and deviance but the tentacles are far reaching. The internet allows spread of distorted expectations to vulnerable millennials who reinforce each other against proven norms.

    I will keep my guns because I believe there is danger of social chaos when the young entitled realize accountability is reality.

  • mmsandie February 24, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Until a student or relative of trump or high politician official is killed in a massacre, nothing will be done about gun control.if teachers are not use to shooting or aiming even when in a crisis , can do more harm than good..the fbi should have investigated the warning.. in Utah this week, when a pic or warning of someone with a gun in the Internet.. it was immediately addressed. Gun taken, student arrested.
    Parents have to keep guns locked up too.

  • John February 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    There are plenty of examples of security being used at our airports than can be adapted for use at our schools, the actual occurrences of school shootings is quite a bit lower than people throwing tantrums on aircraft. The liberal knee jerk panic is unwarranted and totally off base. Most of those screaming for assault weapons / rifles bans do not have the slightest clue about firearms.

  • John February 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    The U.S. Army defines assault rifles as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.
    Semi-automatic-only rifles like the Colt AR-15 are not assault rifles; they do not have select-fire capabilities.

  • commonsense February 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Mmsandie, you just don’t get it. What exactly will gun control laws accomplish? Young men like Cruz will find ways to act out their psychotic evil. Even if gun ownership was reduced by 90%, there would still be availability to those who are willing to steal guns. You can’t legislate away millions of guns in America. It’s not going to happen even if our president is killed by a gun. JFK was killed by a gun but no president ,even Obama, proposed any gun legislation and it’s because it doesn’t work. Think it through. And, if guns were abolished completely, mass murder can be accomplished by homemade bombs, poisons, vehicles, germs, gas, arson, etc.

    The problem is a declining culture spawned by liberal ideology. There are and will be many guys like Cruz, we have created them. We make excuses for them when we blame guns.

    • bikeandfish February 24, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      There is a flaw in your logic, ie that banning/criminalizing/implementing “x” won’t stop “y” were “y” is any extreme event conducted by just one radicalized person.

      Let’s apply it to just 1 post-9/11 measure: reinforcing cockpit doors and entrance to them. The benefit to this in your logic should be if prevented any and all terrorism. The answer is clearly it did not. But it did eliminate an option for using an airplane as a weapon and access to terrorist. That seems like a fair outcome. Same goes for blocking entrances to prevent vehicle access, having security that uses imaging and only allows ticketed passengers to proceed, checking shoes for explosives, not allowing most sharp items on board, etc.

      Will banning AR-15s and assault weapons stop each and every potential murderer? No. But it will reduce access to the most effecient and effective tools for mass shootings. Remember, most of these school shooters are using legal means and processes and they are not criminal master minds. If we eliminate certain tools from their arsenal they will likely not suddenly resort to illegal arms deals that they don’t likely even have access to.

      There are two major problems, likely fatal flaws, to any attempt at assault weapons bans. First, more than two million are already in circulation, according to NRA, and no legislation that bans existing gun ownership will make it through current legal systems; the US is not Australia. And, more importantly, any assault weapons ban will likely fail due to the legal precedent of Heller and Miller, ie “in common use” for “legal purposes”. That happened after the last ban expired and I think its an insurmountable hurdle.

  • BEN February 26, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful article, David. But may I remind you that we DO have a well-regulated militia in the form of our state national guards. The National Guard is an institution that predates the revolution of 1776, and predates the national military establishment, although the Guards are now nationalized to a certain extent. The actual term “National Guard”, applied to state militias, appears to date from about 1824 (Wikipedia) some time after the Constitution was written. For a good review of the context of the Second Amendment, see also the article: “Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved”.
    theconversation.com/five-types-of-gun-laws-the-founding-fathers-loved-85364

    I don’t think we need any more militias; one is enough, don’t you think?

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