My gun control platform

by Arn Menconi, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate

Wikimedia Commons

In the 163 days since January 1st 2016, there have been 176 mass shootings in the United States. For the record, I believe that hunters and adults should have the ability to own some types of guns. What I am not blind to is that the National Rifle Association (NRA) wants people to think that the Second Amendment was written to protect their rights.

The Amendment is only 27 words: “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.” While the NRA emphasizes only the last 14 words, the U.S. Supreme Court and appeals courts have focused on “well-regulated militia” and “security of a free State” to rule that Second Amendment rights are reserved to states and their militias — nowadays, the National Guards.

As with all discussions about the Constitution, it is important to understand the historical context. In June of 1788, four states did not want to ratify the Constitution of the United States based on the Second Amendment. Arguing for the Federalists was James Madison; George Mansion and Patrick Henry argued for the anti-Federalists. The founders decided to leave it up to Congress.

The militia was discredited in the Revolutionary War. Washington wanted a professional army. Due to the large number of slaves in the Southern states, there was fear of a revolt. The anti-Federalists raised the point that the Constitution does not give the federal government the right to eliminate slavery, but it did give Congress the exclusive power to arm the militia. The states only get to call up the militia if there is an invasion.

Congress gets to call up the militia for an insurrection.
The Second Amendment has roots in protecting states from losing a militia to protect itself against a revolt of slaves, not individual rights to form a militia to arm themselves against government.

The problem is that modern day interpretation is deciding what is legal. For example, you cannot carry a gun into government, but a terrorist can buy one. You can carry a concealed weapon in some states, but not others. You cannot own a machine gun but, you can own a semi-automatic.

There is no way anyone can claim that the second amendment gave individuals the right to bear arms. The correct interpretation is that those rights were given to states. Until 1990, there had not been a federal Supreme Court case about individual rights to bear arms. It is always based on a collective right, not an individual right.

The truth, which one would hardly know from the mass media, is that since the Supreme Court’s unanimous Miller decision in 1939, all federal appeals courts, whether dominated by liberals or conservatives, have agreed that the Second Amendment does not confer gun rights on individuals. The NRA view, opposed even by such right-wing judges as Robert Bork, is consistently rejected.

I want to see sensible gun laws with seven main points.

One, require background checks on all gun purchasers.

Two, license all firearm owners.

Three, gun owners will register their firearms.

Four, regulate firearms dealers and ammunition sellers.

Five, require that all lost or stolen firearms be reported.

Six, impose a waiting period before the sale of a firearm.

Seven, limit firearm purchases to one per person every 90 days.

Support for background checks spans all partisan and demographic groups, and both households that own guns and those that do not in the United States. Background checks must be required on all prospective firearm purchasers, closing a loophole in federal law that allows private firearm sellers to sell guns without conducting background checks. Firearms dealers should be required to obtain a local permit, conduct employee background checks and obtain liability insurance.

This issue spans beyond gun control, going into money in politics and even access to mental healthcare. The NRA spent more than $3 million on lobbying in both 2013 and 2014, and $984,152 on campaign contributions during the 2014 election cycle. America does not have a gun problem it, has a leadership problem. I will lead the fight for gun control.

Arn Menconi is a Green Party candidate running against current Colorado Senator and Democrat Michael Bennet.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

  • Anonymous

    With a rights platform like this, it’s no surprise the Green Party is a complete, pathetic joke.

  • Gropple

    What is the extent of a gun registration to you? Is this some secret list that can only be checked against, or a list that all police officers have access to, with addresses and types of firearms?

  • Sn8ke_iis

    For someone running for Senate you are very ignorant of the law.

    Per The Militia Act of 1903

    “Be it enacted by the Senate and House ofRepresentatives of the United
    States of America in Congress assembled, That the militia shall consist of every able-bodied male citizen of the respective States, Territories,
    and the District of Columbia, and every able; bodied male of foreign
    birth who has declared his intention to become a citizen, who is more
    than eighteen and less than forty-five years of age, and shall be divided
    into two classes-the organized militia, to be known as the National Guard. Guard of the State, Territory, or District of Columbia, or by such
    other designations as may be given them by the laws of the respective
    States or Territories, and the remainder to be known as the Reserve Militia”

    United Stated Code (USC)

    Section 311. Militia: composition and classes
    (a) The militia of the United States consists
    of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are–
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    Please educate yourself on our laws before running for office. We will not tolerate self serving politicians who seek to infringe our Second Amendment rights. Maybe you’ll figure this out when 100,000’s of voters vote for someone besides you.

  • ernie_oertle

    Yo Humpy! When you & me & what’s her name work our poetry & bongo-jive thang on-stage in our act, we oughta do 2 things. — Incorporate some rhyme from this dude Maxwell, one of the Benghazi security-leakers, furloughed wit prejudice by Hillary. Maxwell see, he be a black dude. Some of his poetry sez = “Dah web o’ lies dey weave / gets tighter and tighter / Dah circle of low-infos finally gittin’ a clue / gets wider and wider ……….. & later he raps ………. “Dah more dey talk, dah mo dey lie, / and dah deeper down dah ho’ dey go / Just wait…/ just wait n’ feed dem dah rope.”

    Good stuff, huh!

    Then, the other part of our act could be about the 2ndAmendment like here. `GunGraberArnie’ is on to something. We could work-up a whole piece about the 2nd, but we just leave the stuff about RKBA & the word `militia’ out, see. We just concentrate on `regulated’, or `well-regulated’, see, & insisted theFounders were all for regulatin’ stuff. It right there in the text – yanno wha I’m sayin’ man? TheFounders were all for flippin’ the meaning of stuff around & were tellin’ us to regulate guns. When you put both parts of the regulatin’ & the flipping of meaning together, it’s easy to understand and it’s brilliant – yanno wha I’m sayin’?

  • Paul

    You can try to contact the police of any european country (where they force to register guns) and ask them how many crimes were solved this registry. In the US there are around 70 million gun owners. 99,9% of them never cause problems with their guns so what´s the point of register their firearms. The guns that cause mosto of the problem are the guns in criminal hands. It would be wonderful if we could register both criminals and their guns. What´s your plan to do this?

  • Paul

    A well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free State and the militia consist of every able-bodied male (and now even female) citizen. The members of the militia may end up using military weapons so they should know how to use and maintain them. If the people have no access to firearms how do you expect they train to use them?