TED Conversations

Morgan Barnes

Law Enforcement Officer, government agency

This conversation is closed.

Has the time come for the U.S Second Amendment to be repealed or amended?

After yesterdays tragic shooting in Newtown CT and the worst year ever for firearm related deaths and mass killings , has the time for the US Government to tell the Gun Lobby it is over and repeal or amend "the right of the people to bear arms".

Should it be repealed on the grounds that when originally written it was for a smaller population to defend the "State" and meant for Muskets and flintlocks not semi automatics and military hardware, which makes it no longer viable on account of relevance to this day and age.

That Militia should be held to Law Enforcement agencies, Military and government controlled Para military agencies, with a show need, clause for people such as certain Primary producers etc.

Is it time to tell the NRA and the Gun Lobby there will be no more "collateral" damage no matter how much you donate to the "Party"

What would be the best way for the government to enforce such a law???

And please no Guns do not kill people, people kill people debates it was people who invented firearms in the first place.

The time has come to realise it is mainly our children who pay the ultimate price for lack of diligence in monitoring a problem that has been there for far too many years.


Closing Statement from Morgan Barnes

Firstly I would like to say I did not flag or delete anyone's comments I am perfectly capable of speaking for myelf however I did get frustrated and had some comments deleted myself.
As I write this President Obama has signed 23 executive orders inline with Colleen's post from yesterday from New York.

I have to admit I am a little disappointed that we could not of just discussed the issue in a more calm, critical and logical manner and be able to offer solutions as well as recognised the underling causes, as this is a forum for open ideas and thinking, Then again we are dealing with human nature.
To those of you from the International community thank you for your imput and allowing people to see the different views helds in different parts of the world on this subject.
I will not deny that the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights are the backbone of America, but remember it was written by man not given by god and man can take it away or amend it, if he really wants too.
I am a believer that in the 21st Century we should use it to advance humankind to address the problems of the world and improve it for all. It won't be easy but we have to start somewhere or we risk implementing our own destruction.
I hope that this be a positive start and and an even more positive step in which the US can show the way.
Once again I thank you all for your contributions

"In a progressive country change in constant : change is inevitable "Benjamen Disraeli

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 27 2012: After the events of the past decade, and most recently in my neighbor state Connecticut, it shows that fire arms should be banned if not limited. I believe that the only people who should be allowed to bear fire arms are people who have a job of protecting the populous, police, army, etc. People use guns for sport and self-defense, and I applaud those people for using fire arms responsibly, however we have to try to prevent those fire arms from being used irresponsibly. One thing that should be stopped immediately is individuals selling guns privately.
    • Dec 28 2012: I agree with you to an extent. Im not a gun advocate but I think the gun culture in america is too strong for them to be banned. There would be an uproar if it ever happned. I do wish the contitution could be ameneded so that guns could only go to law enforcement. The problem with that is if law enforcement is the only one with guns whats stopping the US from becoming a police state. We would have no way too fight back. As for limiting the availibility or sale of guns that could help. I think the biggest problem with the mass shootings though is the fact that most of these people not all but most were mentally unstable. If we can get to these people or catch signs before this happens and consulte these people then we just might curve alot of this violence. Somteimes people just need someone to talk to or attention and they go about trying to get it in the wrong way.
      • thumb
        Dec 28 2012: Good point Jerome, when only the police have weapons, there is little to stop a police state.

        Not because we are held in check by armed police, but because we try to maintain a balance of power with all government agencies including local law enforcement.
        • thumb
          Dec 28 2012: there are still a number of Police Forces who's general duties or uniformed officers still do not carry firearms United Kingdom being one of them
    • Dec 28 2012: As for the selling of guns I agree too. Except how much would it really curve. Most of the people i know that have guns brought them illegally, burglarized a house or gun shop, or stole it out of people cars. None of them have a license and absolutly none of them obtained them legally unfortunately .
    • thumb
      Dec 28 2012: Dear Thais,
      Are you under the impression that everything can be legislated? do you have no faith that moral persuasion is the most long lasting tool to sustain a civil society?

      Are you so quick to turn your attention to guns and for the umpteenth time, let the real social structures that create these pathetic monsters get a pass?

      Why was a student allowed to exist in a state of protracted mental torture, as we now find out, slithering along the walls of the school buildings in plain sight of the teachers and staff, during his tenure there?

      The mother, was, imo, an ignorant slob. How dare she ignore her obviously mentally ill son and allow him access to those weapons? Do you have a law against ignorant slobs? Because, if someone would collect the actuarials on deaths and tragedy caused by the same, and put an end to their activities, you would doubtlessly save many more lives.

      Doubling down on gun regulations on lawful people does nothing to change what lawless people will do with guns or bombs, or cars or sticks or knives, or hot stoves or bathtubs or rat poison.
      • thumb
        Dec 29 2012: Marianne

        Along with laws against ignorant slobs, I think we should push for a law that allows us to ban people from the internet for bad opinions. /sarc Considering that there is such an overlap between the two we would see HuffPo, NY times, CNBC, Fox news, all go away. Hoo-rah!
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: And, not to make light of the horrid death by rape in India news, should we ban rape? I forgot, it has been banned for over 5,000 years in all societies.
      • Dec 29 2012: "Do you have a law against ignorant slobs?"
        Definitely! In most developed countries, she would have been tried for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manslaughter_in_English_law#Manslaughter_by_gross_negligence

        I am saddened that she is not alive to face up to her crimes.

        "Doubling down on gun regulations on lawful people..."
        In this case, I advocate changing the laws to sell weapons only to those who have undergone safety training.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: For the most part, people who have acted feloniously or met the bar for being mentally ill, do lose their rights to own and purchase firearms.
          So, what ignorant slobs let the guy out of prison who admitted killing his grandmother with a hammer, so he could kill 2 fireman the other day?
      • Dec 29 2012: "...for being mentally ill, do lose their rights to own and purchase firearms..."
        Adam was mentally ill, but irrespective of that, when he tried to buy weapons, he was turned down. My point is NOT about Adam buying the weapons. My point is that Nancy should not have been able to buy these weapons without undergoing safety training.

        "So, what ignorant slobs let the guy out of prison who admitted killing his grandmother with a hammer, so he could kill 2 fireman the other day?"

        That's impossible to answer without knowing the situation. Did the murderer act responsibly and sanely while he was incarcerated? If he did, letting him go was not irresponsible -- unless you advocate life-sentences for one murder.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: Thank you John for demonstrating the disconnect between those who think that there are mitigating circumstances, which in some instances, would allow a person who murdered one person with a hammer, to have a second chance to do it again.

          I would advocate putting a man to death who kills his grandmother with a hammer. In no circustance would I ever allow him to be free again. That is a fundamental responsibilty to the innocent people who you put at risk.

          So now we have one more reason to keep ourselves armed. People like yourself advocate letting murderers getting another chance to murder again.

          Can I ask you what the magic number is for murder? How many murders would you say a man can perform before he should be locked up and fed for the rest of his natural days?
      • Dec 29 2012: Thank you, Marianne, for demonstrating how much people can assume based on just snippets of information, and why exactly we need legal proceedings.

        Did you look at the court documents of the murderer's case? Did the grandmother have a history of abuse (mental or physical) of the murderer, right from childhood? On what basis are you so sure that the grandmother was completely blameless? Don't jump to the conclusion now that I am now saying that the murder was forgivable. All I'm saying is that there could be circumstances that make the incident less heinous.

        "I would advocate putting a man to death who kills his grandmother with a hammer."
        I'm not quite so bloodthirsty. I might support death penalties in extremely rare cases. And certainly not for mentally ill people, whom I would keep away from the public in any case. If, during the period of incarceration, I see that the culprit has reformed himself into someone who can be a good-natured, contributing member of society, I see it as a crime against the culprit to keep him incarcerated any longer.

        By the same token, we have one more reason to make sure that firearms are not handled by trigger-happy people who see themselves as judge, jury and executioner.

        I don't believe in magic numbers, like one, two, three, etc. I prefer due process.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: The man pleaded guilty to hammering his grandmother to death. Have you really been taught to think there are mitigating circumstances in such a case?

          The process allowed him to spend some years behind bars and then get out and kill again. I would suggest that there might be something wrong in a process that allowed this predator to get out on the streets again and kill.

          The reason that I would advocate putting such a predator to death, is to protect the rest of society from him killing again. Apparently, he got another chance, so while you may want to characterize my position as "bloodthristy" I think the actual results show a disregard for reality and a complete disregard for human life.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: oh, wait, we should outlaw hammers! and matches...
      • Dec 29 2012: "Have you really been taught to think there are mitigating circumstances in such a case?"
        Sure! You can teach yourself too:

        "...allowed this predator..."
        "predator"? Again, I don't know enough about the case to justify using such a word.

        "results show a disregard for reality"
        Can you tell me more about the circumstances of his release? You don't have to type it out. Links are fine. I'm not in the US, and I don't know the case you are talking about.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: Here is what is reported as a transcript of a parole hearing
          "Commissioner: "Why did you think you killed her?"
          Spengler: "I still haven't figured that out. I still have no reason or rationale for why."

          Sounds good to me. Maybe he just needed a chance to find himself...and apparently from what he wrote, he did. He liked killing people.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: And John,
          I actually give some of my hard earned dollars to the Innocence Project.
          However, I know to draw the line on the side of innocent victims.
          The application of mitigating circumstances becomes folly when it is not tempered by the reality of the act itself. In Spengler's case, the brutality of beating a human to death with a hammer defines what the person has become. He is a person capable of beating an old woman to death with a hammer.
      • Dec 29 2012: "oh, wait, we should outlaw hammers! and matches..."

        If I had my way, I'd outlaw jumping to conclusions.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: The conclusion was the death of innocent firemen.

          However, the larger carnard being presented on this thread is that making laws against weapons is a step towards a more civil society. In fact, if you have to put all the sharp objects up, and out of the reach of the popuation, like you do a child, it undermines the concept that men are capable of governing themselves in a manner that causes no harm to others. That is the definition of the Primary or Civil Law. The second function of law is called the Penal Law, and that percribes the remedies for those who break the Primary Law.

          In fact, the majority of gun owners are not law breakers so the proposal to inhibit their freedoms is the solution of brutes.
      • Dec 29 2012: Thanks for the info on William Spengler. Now that I know his name, and have read up about the case more, I agree that he should not have been allowed to go free.

        Statements like "The conclusion was the death of innocent firemen" do not help your case. Others in this thread would say something quite like that about Adam Lanza also.

        "the larger carnard being presented on this thread is that making laws against weapons is a step towards a more civil society"
        Not all laws about weapons are laws against weapons. I have made a case (in reply to Faisel) for training before people are allowed to handle or buy weapons. I am of the opinion that if Nancy Lanza had been taught how to keep the weapons safe, none of this would have happened.

        Nancy was not ROBBED of her weapons. The weapons were STOLEN from her. She was shot when she was in bed. That is negligence.

        I did not write against ALL sales of weapons. But I do prefer laws that make sure that weapons are sold only to people who know how to handle them and how to keep them safe.
        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: I realized later that you did not have access to the stories on Spengler.
          However, the conclusion of the actions taken regarding the handling of Spengler and that whoever was in charge allowed him to get out and kill again, are certainly the deaths of innocent men. There's no arguing with success and Mr Spengler was certainly successful against all odds.

          If you are going to make the case that being robbed is significantly different from having something stolen, I can't even address it. That's too esoteric for me. /sarc

          Secondly, you use the word "allow" as if some entity in society possesses the authority to
          allow or disallow another citizen to possess a firearm or keep a firearm. Both the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment disallows either American citizens or the American governments from either infringing upon these rights or executing what amounts to seizures.
      • Dec 29 2012: Nancy apparently taught Adam how to use her firearms. He knew how he could get to them on his own. Nancy was asleep. Negligence.

        "allow": You are "allowed" to drive a car, aren't you? Most factories would not exist without access to toxic substances. Yet, people who handle toxic substance for their factories are "allowed" to do so after they have met some regulatory requirements that ensure that they are aware of risks to the public, and of how to prevent accidents. There is no right to endanger the lives of innocent bystanders. Why is access to weapons any more sacred (or "fundamental") than access to cars, sodium cyanide, uranium, etc.?
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2012: Arms are set apart in our Constitution as something that the people have a right to possess.
          It's the law of the land.

          The people are allowed to own and keep firearms to be used for their own protection against whoever threatens them. That threat could come from criminals or a state turned criminal.

          Cars are licensed only when they are driven on public roads. It is access to public roads that gives the state the mandate to regulate who can drive on them. If you want to buy a car and drive it all over your own private land, you do not need a license or insurance.
      • Dec 30 2012: Reference to the constitution is circular reasoning. The circularity of the "it's the law" argument can be broken by changing the law. Even your right to possess firearms was an amendment to the constitution.

        Sure, firearms have their use. So does sodium cyanide, and that's why it is made in tonnes. You seem to be under the impression that I want to deny its proper use. If you look elsewhere on this thread, you'll see that I have made the same statement as you about the use of firearms. Here's what I'm adding to the argument: negligence with some things will cause a great deal of harm.

        Irrespective of the wishes of private airlines, the TSA disarms you before you board flights. Do you see that as an affront to your rights?

        Would you accept the same argument you made for cars, made for firearms? How do you feel about a law that says "you may do what you wish with your firearms on your property; if you want to get it out, you need a license and insurance"?
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2012: You see, John. that is what the founding fathers tried to forestall in this country, the day when men would prefer a government of men over a government of laws.

          According to your reasoning, we could make a law that says if you have too many children, the community can kill one. "Ah" you say "but there is a law against murder"..but then I say "well, we can change that".
      • Dec 30 2012: "According to your reasoning, we could make a law that says if you have too many children, the community can kill one."

        Exactly! Except that it isn't my reasoning, this is what *you* used. And exactly for that reason, saying "it's the law" is a poor argument to justify the moral rightness or wrongness of something. Laws only justify legal rightness and wrongness. And hopefully, legal rightness and wrongness are based on moral rightness and wrongness. Not the other way around.

        "prefer a government of men over a government of laws" sounds like rhetoric to me. It does not sound an argument.
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2012: Have you ever read John Locke? In particular, I recommend his essays on the social contract.
          You and I, we almost speak different languages on the subject of law. But I am tenacious and am going to give this one more try.
          Law has two functions, the first being the Primary Law, those laws that men are obligated to govern themselves by in order to cause no harm to others.
          The second function is called the Penal Code, which are remedies for those who break the Primary Laws.
          In a perfect world, all men would govern themselves according to the Primary Law and there would be no need for the Penal Code.
          Which function of law does the prohibition of private firearms come under?
      • Dec 30 2012: I have not read John Locke. I have tried, now and then, but I generally find the arguments of these old-timers not rigorous enough for my liking. I come across a few things I don't like, and then I give up. It's not their fault, they were pioneers for their age, but I prefer the rigor of modern philosophers.

        Coming to Locke: I did a brief search, but I came across no references to Primary Law and Secondary Law that would suit our context. I did come across Natural Law ("a system of law that is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal") and, to contrast, Positive Law. I did read up a bit more about his views on each.
        These are what I scanned: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/ and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/.

        I'm afraid I found his views too arbitrary. Yes, even his natural laws.

        I cannot give you references to my own views on the matter of gun control. I have typed out quite a bit on this thread already. And I have already provided links to facts that my reasoning is based on. If people find my reasoning deficient, I'll address it.

        "Which function of law does the prohibition of private firearms come under?"
        Is that a trick question? 1. I never advocated the prohibition of private firearms. 2. In view of the risk to other people through accidental misuse, I advocated mandatory training for people who acquire them.
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2012: I wasn't directly referring to Locke when I outlined the functions of law, I was actually paraphrasing Lesson 1 in my very first course on secular law. It parallels exactly what I was taught as the structure of law found in Torah. This was also the structure of the Common Law.

          When we study Torah, we are given two definitions of the word, the first being instruction and then law. I always thought that it was two sides of the same coin, to those that embrace the teachings, and model their lives that way, it is an instruction..to those that do not, it becomes a curse, a sheriff with a warrant.

          I don't find your reasoning deficient. I am curious as to what your heritage is, culturally. It is obvious that I am coming at this subject with a decidedly Western Civilization standard application, what culture do you hail from?
      • Dec 30 2012: I'm in Europe, so Civil Law, instead of Common Law. I don't have a cultural heritage. Personally, I call myself mostly-libertarian. "Mostly" because I disagree with the "no laws" approach to gun control, and other things now and then. I like the Swiss way of doing that.
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2012: Well, now we agree. If people must have guns, and it seems they must, I concur that the Swiss model should be the model.
    • Dec 28 2012: The events in Sandy Hook clearly sparked all of this debate with gun control, and there are a few of us who are acutely aware that gun control isn't the underlying issue. Mental health is, and, as a mental health professional I strive towards one day having the American people think and act appropriately with all aspects of health, science and reality. After the Columbine school shooting, an investigation was convened by the Secret Service to investigate the causes of the event. The results are actually available to the public, and they included 37 prior school shootings. It is rather enlightening: http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf
      • thumb
        Dec 29 2012: Good lord what a BS report. All the explanations are, we don't really know, will not speculate, but we will give you the statistics you asked for.

        There is no mention of prescription pharma use, or the types of anti depressants or anti-psychotics these people were on or with drawing from.
    • thumb
      Dec 28 2012: Dear Morgan,
      I am aware of the history of the police in the UK, beginning with the Peelers and the rule they used. I have advocated for similar police attitudes to be adopted in the US. My take is that they prefer the Reservoir Dog model.
      Another good reason not to disarm.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Dec 29 2012: You know Mette,
          I agree with you, but to the opposing side, the idea that arms are the culprit or that prohibition is a step forward, is exactly that, ludicrous.
          My initial posts challenged those who were really concerned with the circumstances who led up to the recent shootings in Newtown, to address the issues that they continually fail to address and also challenged them to reflect upon the difference between social changes that occur by moral persuasion and social changes that occur by making layer after layer of law aka micro-managing. However, those concepts fell on deaf ears and elicited zero response.
          Instead we have a steady one note drum beat and to tell you the truth, I was disappointed a the level of the posts on the prohibition side.
    • Dec 28 2012: Thais: I am not American so I should have no say in this but I am going to point out that sport hunting is very important to ecosystems and conservation of species since it reduces the species population to that which can be safely sustained within the ecosystem (or tries too). That being said, hunters are often the biggest advocates for the preservation of land and water ways, by punishing these people you are punishing law abiding citizens, the environment, and even potentially increasing the danger of driving.

      Instead of pushing for the repealment of the second amendment may I suggest you push for an adjustment to it, that says pending training and psych evaluation, somewhere in there. This would make much more sense, you wouldn't be punishing the law abiding, and could help to create a watchlist of people who have potential for incidents like this.
      • thumb
        Dec 28 2012: Personally, I would like psych evals on lots of people, but we should do it evenhandedly and start at the top, say the President first. That sounds like I am joking, but I am not. This president, and others, who imagine that they can legislate anything that resembles moral upgrades, they themselves can not negotiate the world without using wars and are constantly upgrading their arsenal that they imagine they will have to use against their own people.
        When someone comes on the scene who can actually speak the language of peace, and who is not part of their fear mongering, they can't even understand what he is saying.
        So there is a difficulty in the mechanics of using psych evals: you would have to empower the part of our society, the bureaucrats and government, which constantly demonstrates the most retrograde thinking, to do the testing.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.